As a meat lover, you must have longed to try medium rare burgers, but have you asked if they are safe?
Medium rare burgers are not safe to eat because they are not cooked up to the recommended cooking temperature, and pathogens may still be present.
There are pathogens found on the surfaces of the meat. But when the meat is not adequately cooked, these pathogens spread when grinding throughout the meat.
The USDA recommends cooking your ground meat burger to a safe internal temperature of 160 degrees. This is to make sure that all the pathogens present dies before the meat is ground.
In this article, I will discuss medium rare burgers, if they are safe to eat, the risks asserted to them, and proper steps to take to make them safe for eating.
What is a medium rare burger?
A medium rare burger is a burger that has been perfectly seared on the outside but still slightly undercooked on the inside. They are usually cooked to an internal cooking temperature of between 120 – 140 degrees.
Are medium rare burgers safe?
No, they are not. While they are a delicious delicacy, you must question their safety, and the side effects asserted to eating this delicacy. The most common side effect of eating burgers medium rare is food poisoning.
According to the USDA, meat should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees and above. So, it is advisable to go for a medium well burger instead.
It is also ideal to try making your own homemade burgers, as most commercially made burgers may not be cooked to the required temperature.
The ideal temperature for burgers patties
The USDA recommends cooking patties to the following temperature for each level of doneness.
- For medium rare: 140 degree
- For medium: 145 – 150 degrees
- For medium well: 160 degrees
- For well done: Above 160 degrees
Note that it is not advisable to eat burgers cooked below 120 degrees as they are considered raw and highly unsafe for eating. Anything above 140 is safe, but for maximum health benefit, you should go for 160 degrees and above.
What are the risks of eating a medium rare burger
While there are only a few, it is ideal to be aware of these risks, they include;
1. Food poisoning
This happens as a result of the pathogens getting mixed up during the grinding process. Usually, when meat is cooked to the required cooking temperature, these pathogens are killed.
But when they are not properly cooked, these pathogens spread all over the meat during the grinding process. This may lead to food poisoning and may cause nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and constipation.
2. E. Coil
Escherichia coli or E. coil is a bacteria that lives mainly in the intestine of animals. Most ground meats used in burgers feature the intestine and other edible organ meats.
If contaminated with E. coil and the meat is not cooked correctly, it may cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, and most times, respiratory infections. However, most E. coil bacteria are usually harmless.
How to make a healthy medium rare burger?
If you must eat the medium rare burger, it is better to do it the right way. Making homemade healthy medium rare burgers is not a complex task, however, what matters is having the right timing and cooking temperature.
The following are simple steps in making a healthy medium rare burger.
You can use the meat grinder to grind the meat, and you should go for tenderloin or brisket beef as they are easier to work with.
2. Sous Vide the meat
Although this is optional, it ensures that your medium rare burger comes out juicy. Put the patties in an air-tight bag and place them in the sous vide machine for roughly two hours. This process is called pasteurizing.
3. Cooking the patty
After pasteurizing, you can proceed to cook your patties, and that can be done in two ways. They include;
To get the burger medium rare, heat a cast iron skillet for 3 minutes over medium heat. After mixing your patties thoroughly with your preferred spices, place them on the skillet and cook for 4 minutes on both sides.
Grease the baking sheet with butter and oil while preheating the electric oven at 330 degrees. Thoroughly mix the patties with your preferred seasoning.
Cook in the electric oven for twelve minutes. To be on the safer side, use a meat thermometer, this ensures that the meat reaches the recommended cooking temperature for a medium rare burger which is 140 degrees.
Meats you should avoid for medium rare burgers
It is normal to try experiments when cooking, but when it affects your health, you should draw the line at some point. Some of these meats include;
Ground lamb has been known to contain destructive bacteria even after cooking at a high temperature. It is best to abstain from using them for burgers because they may have adverse effects on your health.
Although they tend to be very tasty, they are required to be cooked up to 170 degrees before the bacteria in them die fully. This makes them an unhealthy choice for medium rare burgers.
Pork burgers are cooked with pork shoulder or, most times, pork loin. These cuts tend to be too fatty when they are used for burgers, in cases where the fats are trimmed of, the taste of the burger suffers.
Using chicken for burgers may lead to food poisoning. This is because the antibodies used in chickens during the grinding process make them full of salmonella. If they are not properly cooked, these bacteria will remain.
Can you eat a venison burger medium rare?
No, you can’t. Medium rare venison is full of pathogens that need to be cooked for long before they die completely.
Which is the healthiest meat for a medium rare burger?
It is advisable to go for the beef variety because they are more tender and cook quicker. Precisely the tenderloin and the brisket are some of the best cuts to use.
Can you eat a medium rare burger?
Yes, you can. But remember they are not entirely safe, you will benefit more from eating well-done burgers instead.
Conclusion: Are medium rare burgers safe?
Even if it is not illegal to eat undercooked or medium rare burgers, they are not safe for you. But if you must engage in them, you should follow the tip listed above to make it as healthy as possible for you.
I strongly recommend avoiding medium rare burgers, especially for nursing mothers, pregnant women, and children. This is because their immune system is not strong enough to fight these bacteria.
I hope you enjoyed this article, if you did, you should also see if it is safe to eat lamb medium rare.
Thank you for reading this article.