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Undercooking Hamburger
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101
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23 11 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting forum here, I do butcher most all of our meat, and will say that most of the processing plants that I have seen are doing so under a lot better conditions then I have to use, 1st none of the meat I have cut up has never been inspected by anyone, 2nd I do not have a cooler so ageing the meat can be tricky at best, just do so in winter to work with mother nature. All of my family want there beef rare to medium rare, also most eat (tiger meat, raw hambuger, spices, and crackers ) and never had a problem. I will say that I only buy meat from someone that trust, and that means restaurants and butcher shops. I know there is BAD stuff out there, but I think it gets there from improper handling, and that can be at home also! 101
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ckone
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23 11 6:06 am    Post subject: Re: Undercooking Hamburger Reply with quote

PitMattster wrote:
I also love how every restaurant that I've ever visited down there has the blanket statement on the menu about how undercooking meat can make you ill, releasing them from any liability.


the raunts don't put that to release themselves from liability, they do it cause the governing bodies require it. Or at least that is the case here.

I'm staying out of the rest of the debate Wink Wink
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23 11 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

well I take out the middleman and grind my own delicious elk / beef chuck burger. I know how clean the grinder is, and how clean the meat going into it is. Just made some 1/2 pound cheeseburgers with sauteed onions and jalepenos the other night and cooked til 140 internal (I am actually kind of guessing here, but educated guess from experience). Nice and pink in through the middle, thick and juicy. Honestly, one of the best burgers I have had in a long, long time.


But, I cook store bought burger the same way. I buy the fresh burger ground onsite and have never had a problem. I think a lot of the concerns with ground beef stem from days gone by with people taking shortcuts, imporper cleaning and sanitization techniques, and using low quality cuts and cuts that were on the verge of going bad. With todays control measures in place, I think we are safe.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23 11 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I gather, the main source of e. coli contamination comes from contamination from fecal matter, either external or internal. Now e. coli isn't the only bacteria we have to be concerned with, but it's one of the most likely to be found in commercially ground beef (that's the stuff in the chubs and at the big box stores). It's much less common with meat ground on site in the butcher department.

Go watch Food, Inc. if you want to learn more about it.
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Soybomb
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23 11 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Interesting, just found this on a Canucklehead site:

Food Temperature
Beef, veal and lamb (pieces and whole cuts) - medium-rare 63C (145F)
Beef, veal and lamb (pieces and whole cuts) - medium 71C (160F)
Beef, veal and lamb (pieces and whole cuts) - well done 77C (170F
Pork (pieces and whole cuts) 71C (160F)
Poultry (e.g. chicken, turkey, duck) - pieces 74C (165F)
Poultry - whole 85C (185F)
Ground meat and meat mixtures (e.g. burgers, sausages, meatballs, meatloaf, casseroles) - beef, veal, lamb and pork 71C (160F)
Ground meat and meat mixtures - poultry 74C (165F)
Egg dishes 74C (165F)
Others (hot dogs, stuffing and leftovers)

I don't agree with this. 145 is at least medium on my meat and my thermopen. With trich. gone from commercial pork today 160 is overcooked and dried out. Even the fattiest piece of turkey is safe after being held at 160 26.8 seconds, 165 and its instantaneously safe. (Much like pork butt, safe and done may be different.)

I think the important part though is stressing that most people who get sick from their food do so from poor handling. For us bbq'ers cooking several large chunks of meat we have to remember how cool it is to break it down into small amounts and cool it quickly, or to remember to use a chafing dish to keep our big spread of pulled pork hot at the party.

Personally I'm a relatively young guy with what I think is an OK immune system. I take some risks. I'll eat runny eggs or put raw egg whites in some cocktails. If I grind my own burger and know that the equipment was cleaned and up to my standards, I'll eat medium rare burgers. If I'm at a nicer restaurant that I trust to serve me a tartare I'll go for that. If I'm at an iffy place that might be feeding me a burger from a random chub or preformed patties I'll usually go well done.

if you've got time to burn, http://www.fsis.usda.gov/ is a great place to browse. Remember that its (what I would call) overly cautious, but it will tell you about the bacterial concerns for different meats. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Color_of_Cooked_Ground_Beef/index.asp might be especially interesting reading
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PitMattster
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23 11 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow this has turned into a really great discussion full of great information and I just wanted to thank everyone for not taking offense to the original post, and for posting so many great comments.

As usual this site and it's members has certainly taught me alot. I certainly think I can conclude that if you have a good trustworthy butcher, quality meat, and proper prep then internal temp is more a matter of personal choice.

Wicked!
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23 11 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Canadian Bacon wrote:
Steak Tartare anyone?



Hook me up with about 10 of those Brother!! I dont do well at places that sell "cuisine" - not cuz of the flavors - love em - it the quantity I have issues with!!!
Last place I went to with those cute little servings, I new enogh to eat beforehand! Someone else was buying or I wouldnt have wasted the money - though I would have "stolen" the recipe's!!! Laughing Very Happy Exclamation
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Soapm
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23 11 9:21 am    Post subject: Re: Undercooking Hamburger Reply with quote

day_trippr wrote:
Because a medium-rare burger tastes so much better than an over-done one, and the fact that after nearly 60 years of eating medium-rare burgers I'm still mostly vertical Wink



Now you know your problem, had you'd been cooking your burgers longer you'd be completely vertical...


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23 11 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Canadian Bacon wrote:
Steak Tartare anyone?



You sure you're in Canada? I hear in Canada no one would think of serving raw meat???
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ggarner
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23 11 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If i get the ground meat packs from the store I pretty much always cook it to well.

If its from the butcher dept i am more likely to go on the medium side.

I favorite ground beef of choice as of late is ground brisket. The butcher always looks at me a little funny, but it makes the best tasting hamburgers I have ever had. When I go the ground brisket route they are cooked to medium and they are so moist its amazing! I would suggest trying it some time for anyone who is so inclined.

I originally got the idea from a show that I saw on the food network and have loved it ever since.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23 11 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ggarner, I hear ya on the brisket. Good stuff.
When St. Pattie's day rolls around and they have corned points on sale, try those. Last year I bought all they had left for $.69 a pound and ground them all up.
Soak about 24 hours before grinding. Adds some twist to your burger.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24 11 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why do you have to cook your meat to a certain temp?

As you go through recipes and inspections from the Health Department you will see many temperature listed as safe cooking temperatures for certain types of meat. If you have been doing this for a while then you might have even noticed that some of the "Safe" temps have even changed throughout the years. So without regard to exactly what temp is what for each type of meat, lets discuss the "why". Today's cook is more informed as to the hazards of improperly cook food than any other cook in history. This does not mean that they are better than their mentors but rather that they have a better understanding of what could happen should time and temp rules be violated.

To get a better understanding of what should and shouldn't be done you need to first consider the source and type of meat you are preparing. Unlike the days of old where you cooked what you shot and or raised on the farm, many of the meats we serve today have been inspected and packed at a large processing plant. In the past, hazards coming from contaminated wild animals, parasites, and improper refrigeration led to many families coming down with sometimes fatal diseases. Notice that I limited the problem to families. In the days of "you ate what you killed" the problems associated with improper preparation of meat normally only affected the immediate family of the violator. Today, with the distribution of food to multiple states from one processing plant; when things go wrong at the plant, they go wrong big time. This is why processing plants are so well inspected Wink or should be. Once the meat leaves the plant the problems only get harder to control. As a former state inspector, I have investigated problems with broken-down refrigeration trucks and even had one major food distributor drop off 80 cases of partially thawed chicken on the blacktop parking lot of a Miami restaurant in 90 degree weather. Not only did it continue to thaw, but it sat unprotected for more than two hours. When the restaurant owner showed up, I promptly identified myself and informed them that I had been there when it was delivered and made sure that it was not used for public consumption. The question arises as to what the restaurateur would have done if I had not been there to document the incident?

What about your local grocery store; surely they pay attention to food safety, don't they? Well I am sure that the majority of them are very concerned about the quality of the meat they sell. Ask yourself if you have ever seen grocery carts of meat packed up because the cold shelve unit has broken down. Or what about the meat that is on sale packed so high on the shelves that it is overflowing. The point is that you only have control of what happens to the meat once you have possession of it. You have no idea what went on in the backroom or truck before it got to you. So you must do you best to limit your exposure.

Fortunately most meat is processed in refrigerated rooms and wrapped or vacuumed sealed to limit the exposure to contaminants. Many super chain stores may even inject carbon monoxide or nitrogen into the shrink wrap to make the meat "look" more appealing. It is when you get it home that most of the real problems start to manifest. Improper thawing or cooling after cooking causes more problems than any other source. Add to that possible cross contamination and constant cook, cool, reheat, cool, reheat, (you get the picture) many times we are our worst enemy.
To get a better picture of what is going on the surface of a piece of meat you have to have a understanding of pathogens and how they work. Now I am not going to give you a lesson in microbiology but I am going to outline some basic parameters in which they work. Basically, most (but not all) bacteria will die at around 145 degrees Fahrenheit if that temperature can be sustained for at least 15 seconds. This is one reason for NOT cooking frozen turkey. It may be cooked on the outside but it is still frozen on the inside. So it appears that all you have to do is cook or reheat your meat to 145 and everything will be safe! Well it is not really not that simple. Unfortunately there are bacteria that are somewhat heat resistant and some bacteria leave toxins behind when they die that are extremely heat resistant. each time you cook, cool, reheat, you run the risk of acquiring food borne illness.

So why is it that different types of meat require different levels of cooking? Well a short an fast answer can be found in the different types of pathogens that can be NORMALLY found in certain types of meat, where they are NORMALLY found and what NORMALLY will kill them. Some pathogens are surface dwellers, some can be found in the marrow. Ground-up meat compounds the problem by mixing those surface dwellers well within the dish (thus making them harder to kill.) Other elements such as time, Ph, and moisture also play a role in the spread (or lack) of contamination.

To make matters worse, you then need to consider histamine poisoning and the effect of food allergies on consumers. When I would do investigations for possible food borne illness, one of the first questions all inspectors are required to ask is "how long ago did you eat"? The reason is because most pathogens grow at a measurable rate. It takes around four hours for colonies of "the normal pathogens" to become large enough to harm "regular" humans. I use the word "regular" to describe most people that are NOT (infants, elderly, sick, or have a thyroid or liver problem.) If you get sick in less than four hours you either have something really, really, bad or you have histamine poisoning (food allergies.) Food allergies include being allergic to foods, spices, and or processes. As we grow older we move in and out of food sensitivities.

So how do you determine if you have a food allergy or sensitivity? Well to put it bluntly, if you swell up and can't breathe or itch, that may be a sign. Also, if before the end of the meal you have to run to the bathroom, you may have a food allergy. Have you ever visited a convenience store on a trip and picked up your favorite 44oz. fountain drink only to have to pull over quickly and go to the restroom ten miles down the road. You may have an allergy to mold or algae. Next time you go to get that fountain drink stop and look up into the nozzle; you may be surprised what you find!

So to wrap this up, cook your food to the minimum temperature for safety and then to the level of doneness you like. Be aware that other factors influence the type or severity of contamination and just because you feel sick it does not mean you have food borne illness.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24 11 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was a great read Alien,thanks for posting it.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24 11 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes Alien, great info thanks for the post. Again fantastic info all!!
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24 11 2:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

smokin'gal wrote:
Cat797 wrote:
I thought that part of the reason for the ground beef scare was that some places will use the bits that are close to the spinal column which is where the mad-cow disease lives, and since that can get mixed in to the middle through grinding, we now need to cook burger to 160.

Didn't this just come about after mad-cow scare???

Correct me if I'm wrong.


The ground beef scare was a direct result of the E. Coli H7:157 outbreaks that occurred in the mid 90's. .


Smokin Gal got it.
It is due to a very nasty strain of E-Coli, they scientist found it combined with shigella to creat H7:157.

If you are grinding your own beef, or your beef is ground locally by a competent butcher you have very little to be concerned with.
E-Coli comes from fecal matter contamination, this get s mixed in with the trim at a large volume processor with unskilled workers who do not care about quality and you get deadly bacteria.

Now here's the kicker, feed lots are responsible for this deadly strain of E-Coli, the bacteria is not present in the digestive tract of grass fed animals. they have also found that by removing grain (corn) from a cows diet for as little as 3 weeks, the E-Coli is out of their system.
So look for grass-fed beef, or beef finished on grass for at least 21 days and there is basically no e-coli to be found in their intestines.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24 11 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Soybomb wrote:
With trich. gone from commercial pork today...


That information is false.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24 11 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry Nutczak wrote:
Now here's the kicker, feed lots are responsible for this deadly strain of E-Coli, the bacteria is not present in the digestive tract of grass fed animals. they have also found that by removing grain (corn) from a cows diet for as little as 3 weeks, the E-Coli is out of their system.
So look for grass-fed beef, or beef finished on grass for at least 21 days and there is basically no e-coli to be found in their intestines.


This information is also incorrect. This assumption was borne out of a weak study from Cornell using a grand total of three cows. It has been widely claimed. It has also been widely criticized for making such claims on this study that hasn't as of to date been able to be reproduced. I do know of a study (see link) that has shown it to be incorrect though.

It is not the 'evil' feedlot, but manure contamination in processing that puts the bug in your burger. One also has to realize e-coli is a naturally occurring organism in cattle, most of the ones that makes us sick are modern mutants.

Here is a study from WSU that shows these mutants also show up in forage fed cattle. The summary reads...

"In summary, while one cannot rule out a role of cattle diet on affecting exposure and infectivity of E. coli O157:H7 to humans, the data available at present demonstrate that cattle on a wide variety of diets (including 100% forage diets) are regularly and similarly colonized with this pathogen. Furthermore the balance of evidence regarding the grain vs. hay feeding hypothesis (Diez-Gonzalez et al, 1998) seems to weigh in favor of rejection. Therefore, statements suggesting that all or most of human disease associated with E. coli O157:H7 can be attributed to feeding cattle grain instead of hay (as in the aforementioned NY Times editorial) is not supported by the existing scientific literature.

http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/dairy/nutrient-management/data/publications/E%20coli%20O157%20in%20hay-%20or%20grain-fed%20cattle%20Hancock%20and%20Besser%2011%2006.pdf

I think the FDA's numbers simply represent the admission they can't keep the crap out of your meat, inspected or not (but that's a different discussion), so cook it until it can't hurt you anymore.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25 11 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not have any links to support this but I think Pit Boss is correct also, I was on a tour of a large processing plant years ago and we were told that Trichinosis ( Trichinae is a worm if I remember correctly ) can still be around and is found in pork that has been fed garbage and or raw meats, also if pork is raised on a grain diet that it should be trich free ?? Also I think Roper is correct also, E-coli is in the digestive tract all the time, it helps the cattle digest their feed both forage and grain, when E-Coli becomes to high in the system, usually because of stress, cold weather, a change of diet, or diease, it can destroy the animals intestines to the point of death if not treated ! 101
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Chef
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25 11 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heck been eating Parisa on crackers for years. If that has not got me sick I reckon a medium rare burger cant hurt at all.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25 11 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

101 wrote:
I do not have any links to support this but I think Pit Boss is correct also, I was on a tour of a large processing plant years ago and we were told that Trichinosis ( Trichinae is a worm if I remember correctly ) can still be around and is found in pork that has been fed garbage and or raw meats, also if pork is raised on a grain diet that it should be trich free ?? Also I think Roper is correct also, E-coli is in the digestive tract all the time, it helps the cattle digest their feed both forage and grain, when E-Coli becomes to high in the system, usually because of stress, cold weather, a change of diet, or diease, it can destroy the animals intestines to the point of death if not treated ! 101


The 'potential' for trichinosis is still present, thus the precautions. But modern feeding regulations for market hogs has made it a very unlikely danger.

Most modern cases are the result of bear and cougar that is made into jerky.
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