Okay so you want that perfect hamburger. The one that makes your mouth water when you think about eating it. The one that has the texture you love. As everyone in the world would agree (Since nobody can agree what the right temperature for a hamburger is) Taste is subjective. Some people love their burger or steak almost mooing, while others want it dead and gone till there's nothing left of the meat save a few burnt coals. The problem isn't that people can't agree on what the perfect burger or steak is... It's that they don't understand the doneness of beef.
The great thing about beef is that it can be eaten at almost any temperature. From Steak Tartar which is raw to a crunchy burnt hockey puck (And believe me in 17 years of cooking I've had to serve BOTH many times) What trips people up is when they order. There's been many a hamburger sent back to me because the person wanted Medium Well and ordered it Medium. So the chart provided will help educate so YOU get what you want and the cook can make sure he's made you happy (Because frankly that's all I really want to do is make my guests happy)
Blue Rare: This level the burger is almost still raw. It's highly recommended that you don't order a burger like this. Why? Well there are some nasty pathogens that can be mixed into the meat on a steak Blue Rare is fine because those pesky varmints are only on the outside and the flames kill it. I include it here because you SHOULD treat a good burger like a good steak (They are made from the same cuts of meat after all)
Rare. Still pretty red throughout the ground beef. At this point the juices in the meat are flowing and the blood is coming out of the meat. While some say this is the perfect temp for a steak, for a hamburger once again I'd say eat at your own risk, still might not be cooked through enough to get anything mixed in with the beef.
Medium Rare. Now here we're getting to where MOST cooks believe you have the perfect burger. Still some red in the center, still some blood coming out. The risk of anything tainting the burger is a lot lower and it has a nice mouth feel. This is what I myself order when I order a burger.
Medium Just past where I consider a burger perfect, but still enjoyable. The meat is pink and still a small about of blood coming out.
Medium Well: This is about as far as I'd want to see a burger go. The meat has a thin stripe of pink about the thickness of a quarter in it. The juices run clear, but it's still nice a juicy.
Well: Unless you're cooking with a nice 80/20 or 77/23 mix of beef there's no reason to cook a burger this far. Usually it's dry and the meat is brown, just killed and the only flavor you're going to get out of it is any spices you've mixed in or any condiments you put on. This is the safest burger to eat though as it has gone past 165 degrees and there's no possible way for anything bad to be left alive in there. Unfortuantely there's nothing GOOD left alive in it either, might as well take it down to the rink and shoot some goals with it at this point.
So now you know how to order you burger. Remember my descriptions offer up my opinions on how a burger should be eaten based on my taste. Experiment with the donenesses and see what you like. Some people don't like the mushy feel of undercooked meat as they chew, others love it. Remember to treat your ground beef with respect. It is of course the same cuts that make good steaks so cook it as such.
Get it up to room temp before cooking
Season it sparingly with salt, and pepper (at the minimum) to enhance the beef flavors
Serve it on good bread or rolls (Remember the very first burger from Louis' Lunch was served on toasted white bread with onion and tomato.
Add the condiments that you enjoy. I recommend just mayonaise and mustard. Some people eat their burger dry, others like ketchup.
A good burger isn't just sustenance, it's a food experience that will leave a lasting impression. Food isn't just food for the body, it is also food for the soul. Eat well, be well, and Till next time.
.josh. on July 29, 2011:
Excellent hub - having worked in the industry in the past, I'm all too aware of how common it is for a customer to not understand the true 'doneness' of the beef. This is definitely a hub many could benefit from reading.
Useful and voted up, well done.
Darkeklaw (author) from Tobyhanna, Pennsylvaina on July 26, 2011:
@Sdairsoft, Thanks I fixed the problem.
SDairsoft from San Diego, California on July 26, 2011:
This really clarified a lot for me about choosing the right type of steak or hamburger.
I don't know how big or small the original picture was, but for the picture you might want to check the box that says "view full size on click". It would make the different levels of steak easier to see. But really good job on the article.
Phil Plasma from Montreal, Quebec on July 26, 2011:
Medium Rare for me, thanks. I don't get it how some people can eat the well done. I have less trouble seeing how people can eat the blue, but I don't like it that way. Great hub earning you a vote-up, useful and interesting.
Reynold Jay from Saginaw, Michigan on July 26, 2011:
I like medium , please
I enjoyed this very much. You have this laid out beautifully and it is easy to understand. Keep up the great HUBS. I must give this an “Up ONE and Useful.” I'm now your fan! RJ
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