I didn’t know we had burger enforcement officers

Heather Hancock, Chair of the FSA Board said: “When you’re at a barbecue, remember that most types of meat should be cooked thoroughly to prevent food poisoning. A beef burger, for example, isn’t like a steak – it has bacteria present throughout.

“To make it safe to eat when prepared at home, it must be cooked through. Some restaurants are able to offer their customers burgers less than thoroughly cooked, but only because they have strict controls in place that are regulated and checked by enforcement officers.”

We must have solved all the big problems then.

27 comments on “I didn’t know we had burger enforcement officers

  1. I always pre-cook chicken or pork with a bone in it before finishing off on the BBQ. I didn’t need the FSA to point it out to me.

  2. Here in sunny Queensland we BBQ most weekends, last weekend we had a BBQ Friday and Sunday, and a lamb potjie on Saturday. I’ve never pre-cooked any meat and have never had any complaints about the food. You can bet if I’m cooking lamb or steak on the BBQ there will be pink meat inside.

  3. Oh no, a burger isn’t like steak.

    Steak tartare and burger – completely different. One is minced up raw beef and the other is-

    Oh, wait…

  4. At our local Michelin starred restaurant the chef’s usual method of cooking chateaubriand is to wave a recently blown out Swan Vesta under it.

  5. A beef burger, for example, isn’t like a steak – it has bacteria present throughout.

    That cackling sound you can hear is the French laughing at us.

  6. Inasmuch as the French use less soap than any other people in Europe they are likely as well acquainted with bacteria as they are with body odour.

  7. Yeah, a frozen ratburger should be cooked through. A burger made from pure beef or horse that hasn’t gone orf…err… doesn’t.

  8. I’ve always been amused by the idea of horse burgers. When ground horse meat oxidises very quickly. So, you might well get horse meat in pies and stuff, but very rarely in ground “beef”

  9. First 4 contributors: you missed the point. The bacteria is on the outside (mainly) unless the meat is rotten. Hence cooking the outside is all that is necessary. The inside of a burger or anything minced is mainly ‘outsides’. Hence the advice.

    If you minced the meat immediately before making the burger, (assuming the mincer is clean) then you get away with it.

  10. @TimW – I’ve had horse burgers as both burgers and as steak haché, and they seemed to have been ground very few minutes before cooking.

    Although it’s possible that the steak haché is oxidised, since they tend to be thinner and cooked through.

  11. We barbecue loads of stuff mostly pig and chicken, never precook, but I like to keep the stuff on there around 35-40 mins if necessary – if the coals (or sometime olive wood) is at the right temp the result is perfection – tender, moist and cooked through to the bone. Takes a little patience but I love it.

    Sausages, italian ones so made of pork, we split down the middle and open out flat they brown quickly enough, and the great thing about italian sausages is that they are very good raw and don’t come with elfinsafety prodnoses attached.

    And of course are delicious.

    To my mind the barbecue is the highest culinary art.

    And best served with chips.

  12. I must say that when I moved into an apartment so had to BBQ on the balcony under the (wooden) roof, I went over to gas and have not looked back.

    Yes, it’s not as good as wood or charcoal, but it’s so much easier so we grill far more often.

  13. ‘but only because they have strict controls in place that are regulated and checked by enforcement officers’

    You don’t have government at home, so you are fvcked.

  14. It will be a good chance to work the burger squad over with those meat tenderizers with the little pyramids on the front.

    Always thought those would be quite handy in a fight.

  15. Punctuation matters

    When ground horse meat oxidises very quickly.

    So:

    When ground, horse meat oxidises very quickly.

    with a comma, or:

    When ground ‘horse meat’ oxidises very quickly.

    with quotes.r.?

    Even:

    When ground horse-meat oxidises very quickly.

    Though really the sentence is so short that both are needless, Tim isn’t writing a cookery manual.

    And I’m convinced the apostrophe/single-quotation-mark key is broken on his keyboard anyway, or that it flares up a peculiarly specific R.S.I(njury).

    Tim’s nature of writing as if he’s talking does result in this site doubling up as a great test of inferring mood from text though. I’m surprised teachers of conversational English don’t pay him a fee. (That’s not uncomplimentary, but some of the blog posts are best not read when one is tired inattentive.)

  16. I eat bloody steaks but if I’m eating steak tartare I need to see it minced and prepared in front of me. And other than those produced by myself, a burger needs to be cooked to within an inch of its life.

    Am gradually being won over by horse meat.

  17. On the subject of burgers. Lunched in a Spanish (for the Spanish) restaurant & out of sheer stupidity forgot & ordered hamburgesa. Christ they’re f**king vile. The one bite got spat on the plate & had to settle for eating the fritas. For some unaccountable Dago reason, they use veal or something. Probably something. So they’ve produced something doesn’t taste even remotely like a hamburger.
    And I’d passed a McD’s on the carretera a couple kliks back.
    So be warned.

  18. I get very good Angus patties from my local supermarket. They’re 250g each, about 15mm thick and 12cm diameter. A good amount of fat and dense enough to hold together. One of them is more than enough (with cheese, bacon, caramelised onions, Dijon and pickles on a Kaiser roll, natch). They make the sort of burger that a decent restaurant would charge you $20 for.

    If you’re making your own, a burger press is a very good idea, and don’t get lean mince.

  19. On the subject of tartare de boeuf, there has been sacrilege spoken above. The meat should be finely chopped, not minced (shudder). Mincing bruises the meat & quite ruins the flavour. Capers are optional, unless in Normandy.

  20. Without wanting to wish my life away I’ll be glad when the summer holidays are over and these sorts of stories are confined to the inner pages and only given a nod, at best.

  21. A good burger is well cooked and oozing fat. If bbq’d then should be burnt. Thus endeth todays lesson.

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