Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Debunking Fully Cooked “Hockey Puck” Burgers

Debunking Fully Cooked “Hockey Puck” Burgers

So, by now (unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere) we all know that ground beef should be fully cooked to 160˚F before consuming to ensure safety. Cooking to an internal temp of 160˚F ensures that any nasties that may be present will be destroyed. We call this a “lethality step”. I recommend you use it regardless of what type of ground beef you are preparing.

I hear grumbles already! I’ve heard it time and time again...charred, overcooked, hard as a rock, hockey puck, you name it.

Not so, I say! You’ve just been using the WRONG burger! See, I’ve been eating fully cooked burgers for eons and they are always juicy and delicious.

I was doing some quality checks at the meat shop on some ground beef that we had just processed. I always test a sample, cook it, taste it, and evaluate it. Yeah, I know. It’s a terrible job! Basically, if I won’t eat it then I’m not selling it to you. Hmmm, I thought to myself. Hey! This would be the perfect time to show the juicilicousness of a fully cooked burger… IF you use the right meat from the get go!

This particular ground beef was from cattle that were entirely pasture, forage, silage finished. These are raised without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones. We also single source our ground meat, never jumbled up w/a gadzillion different sources. I ran a fat analysis on my burger and came to a conclusion of 85/15 lean to fat ratio. This was perfect for me because this is exactly how I like it! Anything leaner and well, yeah you might end up with a hockey puck.

AND, the burger did NOT disappoint!

C’mon into my test kitchen. Well, not really. It’s technically our break room but it serves the purpose and test kitchen sounds swanky!

I pre-heated my handy dandy electric skillet to about 375˚F give or take.

Here’s my patty.

Just about ready to flip! Remember not to keep flip flopping your patties. Just one flip will do!

After turning.

Just look at that beautiful browning. Seriously YUM!!

Okay, time to take your temperature Mr. Juicilicous Goodness. Now I couldn’t tell you how long I cooked it. Honestly, I wasn’t paying attention. I’ve done it so many times that I just know when to stick the thermometer in. Sorry! :)

OK, so I’m not a food photographer! I can’t be Ms. Wonderful at everything. Gimme a break already!
At least you can see that the internal temp of my luscious burger is beyond 160˚F. It’s perfectly safe and I can feel confident serving this to my very own children. Also, take note of how clean the plate is.

Now for the real test! I hope you can see this. It was hard to show just how juicy it was. I took my spatula and mushed it for you. I hope you can see the juices running out.

Check out the plate now! Yes, all of those juices came from my FULLY COOKED to an internal temperature of 160˚F burger.

I mean really! Can you stand it! That’s one scrumptious FULLY COOKED grass finished burger! Voila!

P.S. You can pick yours up at our meat shop today! But hurry.


  1. Loved your photos.

    I'm jealous as mine were done at night, so couldn't get good "juicey" photos!


  2. Thanks Jenny!

    It's hard to get pics of "juicy" clear juices, huh.

    Hey, can you post a link to your fully cooked burger? That'd be great!

  3. Is it weird that I enjoy eating very well cooked and charred ground beef patties by themselves? I'm not exactly sure why. Sometimes they can taste a bit too much like coal ash, and to be clear, I'm talking about stove top pan fried patties.


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