The Doneness of a Burger

November 11th, 2009 by Richard Chudy

As written before, food is a very personal thing. Everyone has preferences, no matter how bizarre, and some people can never break away from their food biases. I’m biased towards a medium-rare cooked burger because I think that tastes the best. I think most people would agree that a medium-rare burger is the juiciest and most delicious way to enjoy a burger, some like it cooked rare (too raw for me) and some like it medium-well to well (too dry for me).

For me, medium-rare is the perfect balance of crust on the exterior, and a perfect pinkish hue on the inside yielding maximum flavor. I’ve never been able to fully understand anyone who wants beef cooked beyond that. Maybe it’s a texture thing, as meat cooked too rare can become squishy, so I can sort of understand that. While I’m not dismissing E. Coli, we still have cases of it every now and then, is that really the fear? This isn’t the 1950’s, we have proper refrigeration, there are many organic and grass-fed options out there to lesson concerns, but even still, what’s the worry? Are we worried about about getting sick from a pink burger? Like many of our food prejudices, this one is no less silly, it’s time to grow up. Okay, your mom cooked broccoli poorly and now you hate it. Dry meatloaf was the norm, and green beans were mushy and limp. It doesn’t have to be that way, just because you had a bad experience with fill-in-blank- food as a kid, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it as an adult. Conversely, just because you “enjoyed” dry meatloaf as a kid or a well-done, dry as a bone burger, doesn’t make it acceptable today.

Anyone who orders a medium-well or well done burger today has no clue about what tastes good and doesn’t deserve to order it, especially if we’re talking steak. I will concede that a flatter patty, or a West-Coast Style burger are rarely cooked to order and almost always come well-done, and I am fine with that as long as it is juicy and flavorful. Furthermore, any burger cooked beyond a medium-rare that is juicy and flavorful is fine with me, I’ve just had very few experiences that have followed through.

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