According to Chefs, The #1 Thing You Should Never Serve in a Burger Joint – Eat This Not That

Just like a steak, doneness is something that can make or break a burger. Operating on a scale similar to steaks, from rare to undercooked burgers, burgers can be cooked to different temperatures, with each degree affecting the final product in different ways.

Unlike most types of fast food burgers, which involve thinner patties cooked to uniform temperatures, burgers at full-service restaurants are often asked how they would like a burger to be cooked—and the answer is sure to make a huge difference.

Regardless of the caliber of the burger joint, whether it is a chain or a chef-driven concept using the highest quality ingredients available, the temperature at which the burger is cooked will surely make the final impression.

RelatedThe #1 Thing You Should Never Serve in a Steakhouse, According to Chefs


The truth is that it doesn’t matter whether or not a restaurant is sourcing the finest grass-fed beef from the Boogie Ranch in Idaho; If the finest produce is cooked incorrectly – or for too long – it will inevitably spoil it. This is why undercooked burgers, cooked for longer (often for too long), are risky and best avoided. Unless you enjoy the taste of chewing on a briquette.

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Regardless of opinions about temperature and pink, its basic science boils down to the fact that the more heat that is applied to a burger patty, the greater the difference in texture and taste — and not in a good way. To be sure, we asked some seasoned pros who know a thing or two about undercooked burgers and why they aren’t turned down in restaurants.

“A well-cooked burger is usually very dry, so it loses all the flavor and texture of the beef – like eating a hockey puck” Daryl Harmon, Chef Clinton Hall, a popular beer hall and restaurant in five locations in New York City. Oh, he was Food Network’s Burger Bash Festival winner, so he knows ground beef.

According to Harmon, ordering rare or medium rare products is simply the best. “The meat is moist, and you get that greasy, melt-in-your-mouth texture that I love. And as much as the flavor, you can actually taste the quality of the beef or meat you use.”

At Clinton Hall, Harmon chooses a good-fashioned smash burger (“I love the smash burger because you get a nice crust on the outside and you still get that delicious flavor in the middle that you can only get from medium rare/medium temp”), and loves An 80/20 ratio of meat to fat, as the fat adds flavour. And burgers that are above average risk diminishing that flavor, the cook said.

Mike DeCamp, which includes Parlor restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Paul followers of Parlor Burgers, agrees. “When you order a thick, well-cooked burger, it will be charred on the outside and dry and crumbly on the inside and it feels like there’s no burger I want to eat,” he says. Once the inside is cooked to 165 degrees, you’ve cooked up all the joy of what was once an enjoyable eating experience. Don’t be afraid of quality beef, and once you find a place that makes a great thick burger, do yourself a favor, live a little, and get it average rarity.”

“Customers think the meat is undercooked, because when the meat is ground, it can be more colored, and the idea of ​​seeing blood scares them,” Harmon says of some customers’ instinctive aversion to anything cooked below average. . “It’s usually used on the meat being a firm texture, which is not the case for most burgers.”

according to Gary Hickey, Chef From Flores Concepts’ Charro Steak & Del Rey in Tucson, foodborne illness is a common reason why people aren’t interested in rare burgers, but that’s only a concern if you get your burgers from a non-reputable source.

“There has been a long-standing stigma by the Department of Health that undercooked proteins are not safe, but in all honesty, the only way undercooked proteins are if they are handled poorly.” That’s not a concern for Flores, who grinds beef for burgers at home from hand-grown, herb-grown steaks. “When you cook a well-cooked burger, you lose the amazing taste of warm bread with a touch of a perfectly grilled crispy patty with a soft, juicy middle.”

At A&B Restaurants in Boston, which includes the owner of A&B Burgers and A&B Kitchen Tom Holland echoes those feelings. Restaurants are known for their award-winning burgers, and while Holland notes that good ordering is perfectly acceptable (“we’re here for our guests’ wishes, not ours”), the recommendation is still rare.

“Because at this temperature, the beef will retain its natural juices as well as the fat to add flavor and keep the burger firm,” he says. “When we test our burgers, they are always cooked to medium rare, and that’s how we create balance with the extra ingredients.”

The bottom line is that cooking burgers thoroughly alters the fat content, natural juices, texture, and flavor. “To cook a burger well, most of the juices will be cooked through and the fat will melt and run out of the burger leaving a dry, crumbly patty.”

As Holland repeats – and any chef or owner would hesitate – at the end of the day, the cooking temperature is entirely up to the customer, and they are more than happy to make a well-cooked pancake however they like. Just be mindful of the quality, texture, and flavor you’re sacrificing by doing so.