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Cook Your Hamburgers Rare! Grind Your Own Meat and Forget About Dry, Tasteless Burgers. Safe and Easy!

Updated on November 24, 2008

How about a better burger?

If you knew that a 20$ kitchen tool could transform you into a burger-master, would you plunk down?

Are you tired of dry and tasteless burgers, cooked to a safe and dry 160 degrees?


Here's the secret. Grind your own meat. WAIT, WAIT – don't stop reading…grinding meat is easy and the equipment needed is cheap and although grinding your own chuck for burgers WILL impress your friends and family, there's really nothing to it!

The Food Safety and E-Coli Problem

OK, so as you know, the difficulty with ground beef is that there is so much surface area of meat on which bacteria may grow prior to cooking. The reason you can cook a steak to medium rare without worry is that you will still have cooked all of the exposed surface areas quite thoroughly, and thus neutralized any potential bacteria that had been lurking.

A burger is a different beast. With every speck of ground meat hiding potential bacteria, you really need to heat all of it to temperatures near 160 degrees, hot enough to render the meat safe - Safe, but dry and boring.

The Safe Burger Solution

Since bacteria only grows on the surface, and since the interior of a chunk of meat is safe and bacteria free – if you sterilize that surface area free of bacteria, and then grind immediately prior to cooking your burger – you will have a very safe burger patty that can be cooked as bloody as you would like it to be.

What you do is take your intact piece of chuck or sirloin beef, and plop it into a big pot of boiling water for 1 minute. This boiling period will kill all surface bacteria, but will only just barely cook the very exterior of the meat.

You then pass that meat through a (boiling water cleaned) meat grinder right away, and then use that ground meat immediately for burgers.

Although the very exterior of the meat will have been cooked, this will blend in with the ground meat unnoticeably.

Note that while the ground meat is perfectly safe and bacteria free at the moment of grinding, if you leave the meat for any length of time, even refrigerated, prior to grilling, you allow for bacteria growth within the ground meat, and nullify the safety benefits of grinding meat at home. Grind as you need it and cook right away, and you will be fine.

That's it. It's easy. Surprise your friends and family with a round of burgers cooked juicy and flavorful and nicely pink throughout.

They will thank you for it.


The food safety instructions for grilling a safe rare burger can be found in Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking".

Grinding Meat Video - From Bon Appetit



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