Jeffrey Steingarten and Vogue magazine is offering up tips to make the perfect tasting burger. Some of the advice sounds helpful, but I question if all of it is safe.
Here are a few excerpts:
“Grind or Else: Steingarten concludes you must either grind your own meat or have a trusted butcher grind it for you, for reasons of taste and safety (or, perish the thought, be sentenced to a life of consuming well-done burgers).”
While fresh ground beef may have taste benefits, I am not too sure what beef straight from the butcher has to do with safety. In fact, a local butcher in Wales was recently jailed for selling beef contaminated with E. coli. Local does not equate to safe; food can only be as safe as the people that handle and produce it.
“He explains in painstaking detail all of the ways supermarket ground beef can be contaminated. His solution, if you have any questions about the chopped meat you’ve just bought: "Drop the meat into a pot of boiling water for a minute, fish it out, and pat it dry….”
Again, I am not sure how this makes your meat safer. If you drop a clump of ground beef into boiling water, it may kill of any microorganisms on the surface, but no such luck for anything lurking inside. Meat is not done when temperatures around the meat are above 160 degrees Fahrenheit; it is done when the meat itself is 160 degrees.
“…if you flip a burger or a steak every fifteen to 30 seconds, the outside surface will get nicely browned while the inside stays relatively cool.”
It is a good idea to frequently flip to avoid a crispy burger, but what is the purpose of keeping the inside ‘relatively cool’? Studies have shown ground beef is fully cooked only when the center of the patty is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping the inside ‘relatively cool’ (assuming Mr. Steingarten means less than 160) is only increasing the risk of food borne illness. In fact, temperature is not mentioned anywhere in the article.
Here is my recipe for a perfect tasting burger:
1. Mix in some Chipotle Tabasco sauce with the meat.
2. Use a sprinkle of seasoning salt right before cooking the burger.
3. Flip the burger regularly.
4. Top with Pepper Jack cheese.
5. Cook burgers to 160 degrees, and use a tip sensitive meat thermometer.
Once step five is complete, then you have a mouthwatering burger.