Making a Safer Rare Hamburger

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
One way to enjoy a less risky rare hamburger is to grind the meat yourself after a quick treatment that will kill surface bacteria. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, immerse the pieces of meat in the water for 30–60 seconds, then remove, drain and pat dry, and grind in a scrupulously clean meat grinder. The blanching kills surface bacteria while overcooking only the outer 1–2 millimeters, which grinding then disperses invisibly throughout the rest of the meat.
Now that we understand the basic nature of heat and how it moves into and through meat, let’s survey the common methods of cooking meat and how to make the best of them.