medium-rare burger

Making a Perfect Medium-Rare Burger: Ultimate Guide

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    Welcome to our simple and clear guide to making a medium-rare burger. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned grill master, you’ll learn everything you need to know about crafting the perfect medium-rare burger, from ideal temperatures to essential cooking techniques.

    What is the best temperature for a medium-rare burger?

    When aiming for a medium rare burger, it’s important to know the right temperature for grilling. Medium rare burgers are popular for their juicy and tender meat.

    The perfect medium rare burger temp is between 130 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the ground beef will have a pinkish-red center, while the outside of the patty will be golden brown with minimal charring.

    To reliably achieve a medium rare burger, using a meat thermometer is essential. This tool helps you precisely gauge the meat’s internal temperature, ensuring you get the desired grilling outcome.

    Are medium-rare burgers safe to eat?

    The USDA advises against eating medium-rare burgers.

    They state that raw or undercooked meat can contain harmful bacteria. The USDA’s recommendation is to cook meatloaves, meatballs, and hamburgers to a safe minimum internal temperature of 160 °F (71.1 °C) to ensure all bacteria are destroyed. They suggest using a food thermometer to check this temperature.

    I personally prefer to cook my burgers until there’s almost no pink left, to be safe.

    Still, I know many people who enjoy medium-rare burgers regularly.

    It’s common for individuals to cook burgers aiming for 160 °F, only to cut into them and find some pink. This is where a good meat thermometer becomes essential, allowing you to accurately check the temperature before cutting into the meat and stopping the cooking.

    If you’re keen on a safer medium-rare burger, consider grinding the meat yourself. Grocery stores and butcher shops are more susceptible to bacterial contamination in their work areas.

    By grinding whole muscle cuts in your kitchen, you can maintain a cleaner environment for your ground beef.

    Ultimately, it’s a personal choice, based on each individual’s level of risk tolerance, whether to eat medium-rare burgers or not.

    medium-rare burger

    How to cook a medium rare burger?

    If you’re aiming for a medium-rare burger, here’s a step-by-step guide for the best results:

    • Bring ground beef to room temperature: Allow your meat to sit out on the counter for 20-30 minutes. This helps the meat reach an even temperature, promoting uniform cooking.
    • Shape your patty: If your ground beef isn’t already formed into patties, roll it into a ball and then flatten it to create a patty shape. You can do this with your hand, ensuring there are no crevices in the meat.
    • Season the patty: Add salt, pepper, and any other favorite spices to both sides of your patty.
    • Preheat your grill or stove: Heat your pan or grill to medium-high, around 450°F. It’s best to do this before preparing your patty to save time.
    • Use butter or oil: If cooking in a pan, add butter, olive oil, or beef tallow as it heats. Beef tallow is my preferred choice for flavor.
    • Cook the patty: Once the pan is hot, place your patty in it. For medium-rare, cook each side for about 3 minutes.
    • Flip the patty: Turn the patty over and cook for another 3 minutes on the other side.
    • Check the temperature: Use a meat thermometer to check if the internal temperature is between 130-135˚F (54.4-57.2˚C). If it’s not there yet, continue cooking.
    • Rest and serve: After reaching an internal temperature of 130˚F, let the patty rest for 5 minutes. The burger will continue cooking to reach about 135˚F. Turn off the heat, assemble your burger, and enjoy your medium-rare delight.

    How long to cook a medium rare burger?

    Grill burgers for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes per side. Look for 130-135 degrees F on the thermometer reading.

    How to tell if your burger is medium-rare

    1. Use a meat thermometer: This is the most reliable and safe way to check your burger’s internal temperature. A quality meat thermometer will give you an accurate reading.
    2. Visual check by cutting: Cut into the burger and observe the color in the middle. If it’s bright red, it’s likely too rare. If there’s no red or pink, it’s closer to well-done. However, this method isn’t ideal since cutting into the meat can release juices that add flavor, and if it’s not done, you’ll need to cook it more.
    3. Finger test: Press gently on the meat with your fingers. If the meat feels soft and springs back quickly, it’s still rare. As the burger cooks, it becomes firmer. Medium-rare is achieved when the burger feels firm but still has a slight give, similar to pressing the center of your holding a juicy medium-rare hamburger

    What are the different levels of doneness in a burger?

    Different levels of doneness in a burger. Depending on your preference, there are various levels of doneness for a burger. Here’s how to achieve each one:

    Grilling a rare burger:

    Rare burgers aren’t for everyone and are only recommended if you use high-quality beef that you’ve ground yourself.

    Grill the patty for 2-3 minutes on each side. This cooks the outside while keeping the inside rare, resulting in a warm, red, soft, and spongy center.

    Grilling a medium rare burger:

    For a medium rare burger, sear the patty for 3-4 minutes per side.

    This method aims for an internal temperature of 125 to 135 degrees, giving you a pinkish-red center and a golden-brown, slightly charred exterior. The meat should be juicy, tender, and offer some resistance.

    Grilling a well-done burger:

    Some prefer well-done burgers for safety reasons. Grill the meat for about 12 minutes on each side. The burger is well-done when it’s brown throughout, with no pink or red.

    The internal temperature for a well-done burger should reach 160 degrees F.

    Cooking thicker burger patties

    When grilling thicker burger patties, remember they will need more time to cook. Stay attentive and patient at the grill. These cooking times are based on using high, direct heat. Avoid grilling your burgers on low heat, as this won’t give you the desirable, flame-kissed crust that’s a highlight of any cookout.

    use meat thermometer internal temperature

    Regardless of whether you prefer a medium rare or well-done burger, having the right tools, like a meat thermometer, to check the internal temperature is crucial. This ensures that you achieve your desired level of doneness accurately.


    Grilling and food safety on USDA. Click here.

    Proper Cooking Temperatures for Safe Food At Home: Use Proper Cooking Temperatures to Ensure Safe Food, click here.

    How to Grill the Perfect Burger from Foodnetwork, click here.

    Safe Handling of Raw Beef, document from here.

    Use of Meat Thermometers in Cooking from Realsimple, click here.

    Guide To Internal Temperature for Burgers. Burger Doneness Chart and Safe Cooking Tips, click here.



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