I got a lot of pushback from my opinions on pink burgers very briefly outlined in my Asado review and including an anonymous commenter who seemed to think I was giving Bristol burger restaurants a kick in the head for having a preference.
Honestly, I had no idea people were so passionate about the pinkness of their burgers and, at least as far as I’m aware, the pink burger trend has only been around for a few years so assumed people didn’t have that much of an opinion but, as it’s the internet, I should have known better.
I feel this is a good place to outline my issue with the pink burger thing. I am not a health professional and bar and my pop up doesn’t serve meat, but luckily a friend of mine was and she is someone who is also wary of burgers cooked pink, regardless of where it is. If someone’s job used to be understanding the health implications of eating undercooked meat, I am going to listen.
Pink burgers at Bleeker, London.
It isn’t the quality of meat that is the issue as a lot of people assume, it’s down to the processing of the carcass. There are harmful bacteria on the surface of the steak or mince when it leaves the processing plant. This bacteria will multiply until it hits the restaurant.
If the restaurant minces its own steaks the bacteria on the surface of that steak will be transferred throughout the mince. Whilst there are strict guidelines from the field to fork to ensure the risk is as low as possible, the thorough heating of the meat is the only way of killing the bacteria. If it isn’t cooked properly you’ve created a bit of a gastroenteritis time bomb.
This is explained far better here if my wittering on doesn’t make much sense
“But I eat burgers rare/pink all the time and I’m fine!” well yes, if you are an otherwise healthy person chances are you will be, but if you are young, elderly, pregnant or immunosuppressed the risk of eating that mince is is a high one and could kill you. There are around 500,000 reported cases of food poisoning a year. I have IBS, no one knows what causes it but I can tell you when I get an attack its agony, if I can avoid food poisoning which is a 72 hour IBS attack with vomiting thrown in, I will thanks.
HOWEVER you can safely eat a pink burger if it holds a temperature of 75c for 30 seconds whilst cooking. I trust some kitchens to adhere to this (Asado say they do and I trust they do) and I don’t trust others. Maybe that is me being harsh but if I enjoy the burger cooked through, who cares? And no, I will not list where I do and not trust.
Lastly, I want to add that I don’t even like the taste or texture of pink burgers and it is perfectly achievable to sear a burger and leave it juicy and delicious if you give a crap about the beef and technique, no squishing the patty or packing it with crappy binding ingredients.
Like anything, eating pink is a risk, as is eating raw oysters (I don’t), eating dodgy chicken or not washing salads before eating. I have decided that I don’t like pink burgers enough to warrant the risk, I know a lot of you do and that’s cool.
Scientific research above
To the “anonymous” commenter – buddy, implying you know me and will “see me soon” is creepy AF and you need a word with yourself.
Back to lighthearted food reviews and pithy observations on pizza dips tomorrow