Meathead: This is how you cook meat (it involves a thermometer)

If you have a question—any question—about grilling, smoking, or outdoor cooking, chances are extremely high your search will end at

MeatheadWith more than one million monthly visitors, Amazing Ribs is the go-to guide for everything barbecue. There’s good reason: The site takes a scientific approach to the art of outdoor cooking, carefully explaining the correct way to smoke the perfect turkey, barbecue a beautiful rack of baby backs, and just about everything else related to the grill. 

Don’t let the science angle throw you. The content—recipes, techniques, and gadget reviews—is anything but boring. It’s all spelled out by the humorous, down-to-earth hand of Meathead Goldwyn, the site’s founder and burning coal.

“It’s all about authenticity,” Goldwyn told Yahoo Food, when asked about the secret to his site’s success. “We don’t accept the common wisdom as fact. We do a lot of testing and myth-busting. A lot of information has been around for centuries that science proves false.” 

Goldwyn’s worked as a journalist for most of his life, which explains his deep-rooted cynicism. He developed a love of science early on, taught at top schools, and has judged dozens of high-profile food and drink competitions. He’s also married to a leading food safety scientist at the FDA. 

barfblog.Stick It InWe recently caught up with Goldwyn (he actually prefers to be called Meathead, a nickname his father bestowed in tribute to the son-in-law on All In the Family; only his mother calls him by his birth name, Craig) to grill him on his best tips and tricks. 

INVEST IN A THERMOMETER. Don’t even attempt to grill before you buy both a high-quality digital thermometer to measure the heat inside the grill and an instant-read digital meat thermometer. The thermometers that come with grills, Goldwyn warned, are useless. “Spray paint it black and ignore it,” he said. “It’s often off by 50 degrees. Worse, it’s in the dome of the grill, six inches away from the meat. You’re cooking the meat, not the dome.” 

Burger King serves undercooked meat? reports improper cooking techniques have resulted in ‘dangerously undercooked’ hamburger patties being served at Burger King restaurants across Washington State, and health officials are concerned the problem could be happening in franchises nationwide.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department first reported the problem on July 29 after a routine health inspection resulted in a ‘potentially hazardous’ violation at a Burger King in Puyallup. The inspector expressed concern to her supervisors that the undercooked meat was due to a glitch with equipment, and the incident might not be isolated.

"So we went ahead and proactively inspected all 13 of their outlets in Pierce County," said Dr. Anthony Chen, Director of Health for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. The inspector was right; roughly half of Pierce County locations were serving undercooked meat.

"We spoke to the Department of Health and turned it over to them," Chen said.
After discovering similar violations across at least 10 counties statewide, the State Health Department sent Burger King a letter on September 1, with their findings.

Among the potential dangers detailed in the letter was a concern with the "Duke Flamebroiler," the piece of equipment that is meant to give Burger King hamburgers their signature flame broil. Products coming off the broiler were sometimes undercooked as "broken ceramic tiles" inside the units reduced the cook temperatures and allowed insulation to fall onto the food.

There were also several concerns with employee error. For instance, employees "did not know how to take final cook temperatures of burgers." Some workers "did not know that undercooked patties should be discarded," and believed a brief microwave step would "remedy" any issues with undercooking.

What the story doesn’t say is how to properly temp a burger and whether thermometers were even present?

Denise Wilson, Global Communications Manager for Burger King, wrote in an email to KIRO Radio that, "Burger King Corp. has recently been made aware of the findings from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and is investigating the matter to determine if all proper cooking protocols were followed. Additionally, BKC has been in contact with the local franchisees and they are taking immediate corrective measures to ensure that their restaurants are meeting the company’s stringent food safety standards."

The State will be following up.

Gonzalo Erdozain: food porn may give John and Jane Doe the wrong impression about food safety

I learned to cook watching my mom – and cooking shows.

But watching Bobby Flay’s show on grilling was a cross-contamination nightmare.

He touched cooked, ready-to-eat steak right after handling raw dough. After tasting the steak, he went back to the dough. He later prepared some sort of grilled chicken breasts, which would have been fine, except he touched the grapes and everything else that made up his salad without washing his hands after handling the raw chicken.

These shows are recorded in different shots and might take proper safety procedures in-between takes, but unless the viewer is told, who would know?

All raw food has the potential to be contaminated, so be the bug. And stick it in with a tip-sensitive digital thermometer.

Gratuitous food porn shot of the day grilled brie on a cedar plank with raspberries, almonds, thyme and stuff

When I was in Australia a couple of years ago with Amy, I got a bottle of Lindeman’s red wine and it had this spice pack and recipe attached to the bottle. I rediscovered the stowaways yesterday, so after successfully preparing baguettes again with Sorenne this morning, we went for this food porn dinner:

A wheel of brie, sitting on a cedar plank, with some of the Lindeman spice on it, and then topped with a mixture of raspberries, thyme, red wine, almonds (I also added pine nuts) and more of the spice. Grill for 18 minutes.

The BBQ ran out of gas after three minutes.

So into the oven at 350 F for 12 minutes, served on baguette slices and fresh veggies to preserve our arteries.

It was yummy, but reminded me of fondue.