Sunday, March 3, 2013

How to Cook Ground Beef Safely

Whether you grind your own beef at home or buy your ground beef at the grocery store, it's important to cook ground beef thoroughly. This is because undercooked ground beef can harbor dangerous bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella.

Foods become contaminated with bacteria in any number of ways. In the case of meat, it can happen anywhere along the supply chain, from the farm where the beef are raised to the grocery store or butcher shop where you buy it. You might even contaminate it yourself at home via your utensils or a cutting board, by not washing your hands or whatever.

For the most part, though, these bacteria die when you cook them. Temperatures of 165°F or higher are sufficient to wipe out foodborne bacteria, and that's the magic temperature that we shoot for.

Ground Beef Should be Cooked Well Done

When it comes to cooking ground beef, 165°F means well-done. That means that you should never see any pink in the middle of your burger. That's right; the days when it was safe to eat a medium-rare hamburger are sadly behind us.

The way to achieve well-done burgers is by cooking them for three to four minutes per side, depending on how thick they are and how hot your grill or pan is. You can use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature to make sure. But once you've cooked your burgers this way a few times you'll get the hang of it.

The way you get confident is by cooking your ground beef to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F. That way, you can be certain to kill the bacteria on the surface as well as any inside the burger.

Cooking ground beef to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F will help you avoid a case of food poisoning from your burgers.

Happy Cooking
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