Schweddy balls: NPR’s advice on ‘how to buy the safest meat and make the juiciest steaks’

U.S. National Public Radio is a continual target of satire and for good reason.

barfblog.Stick It In“Free range’ can be a bit of a misnomer,” Bridget Lancaster, executive food editor of the Test Kitchen, tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “When you see ‘free range’ or even ‘pasture raised,’ that doesn’t necessarily mean that the hens and chickens are out roaming free and having a party outside. … Unless you visit the chicken farm, you almost don’t know how the chickens are being raised.”

And eating their own crap.

She and Jack Bishop, editorial director of America’s Test Kitchen, edited a cookbook, and suggest consumers look for the organic label.

Why? Saying the farming practices are better is like saying medical treatment was better with leeches. But natural.

On why you shouldn’t pack your burgers too tight:

Lancaster: Every time you touch, grind, move, look at ground meat, it starts to release a protein that’s really, really sticky called myosin. … Basically, when you grind beef, you’re damaging the meat fibers — so the more you damage it or touch it or pack it, the more of that sticky protein is going to be formed. And the sticky protein sometimes might not be a bad thing — for instance, [for] something like meatloaf, where you want a bit more cohesion. But for a burger, where you’re going to bite into it, you want it to almost just hang together. …

We kind of bundle the meat into mounds and then very gently pack the meat into patties. By “pack,” I really mean it’s … hands-off — it’s like you’re cradling a newborn baby, almost. You have to be very, very gentle with it. The best part of that is the surface of the burger itself is not completely smooth — it’s got all these crags and crevices in it. So when you go to cook it, you’re going to have a really nice crust that forms on the sides of the beef.

Sounds groovy, but use a thermometer and stick it in, so the burger is safe and not overcooked.

Too scientific for NPR.