Don’t kill your neighbor with undercooked hamburger

It seems everyone in the media is bent on cross-contaminating and undercooking their food this summer. On Monday night’s “Great American Road Trip” (a poor replacement for the Amazing Race), the first challenge was for the men to cook hamburgers on a charcoal grill in 30 minutes for all the families to judge. The challenge took place in Sedan, Kansas at the Red Buffalo Ranch.

First, host Reno Collier made a cooking demonstration. No handwashing stations are present anywhere in sight (see right). After Collier explained how he likes to talk to his meat as he formed a raw patty, he threw it on the grill and wiped his hands on a towel. The condiment station was well stocked, but there were no meat thermometers and no safety instructions. The DiSalvatore dad said he’d never cooked anything in his life. Silvio quickly asked for tips from his wife Amy who said, “Just don’t overcook it.”


Silvio: “How do I know when it’s cooked?”

Amy: “A little bit of pink inside. Good luck.”


The father of the Rico family made the decision to cook his entire 5 lbs of meat and he commented, “I really misjudged how long it would take to cook those things.” Ricardo’s giant burgers were far from being done when it was time to serve. Host Collier yelled out, “Feel free to check these things out before you go sticking them in your mouth.” [Katie, that was for you.] One of the kids commented, “I was more nervous about barfing than about winning the challenge.”


It’s mindboggling how much cross-contamination took place in this highly edited clip (see approximately minutes 11 to 20). I think I threw up a little bit in my mouth while watching. In the end, the Ricos went home, but surprisingly they did not receive the lowest score for their burger.


Raw burger is not safe to eat. Hamburger is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 160F as measured by a tip sensitive meat thermometer. (See Doug’s videos on youtube.) Color is an unsafe indicator of doneness. Wash your hands after touching raw meat and before touching ready to eat products like buns. I personally find it challenging to grill and avoid cross-contamination … so why does everyone keep saying how simple it is to make a burger?


If you want to risk your own stomach or life, that’s your business; but please do not try to kill your neighbors or your children with undercooked meat or cross-contaminated condiments.