With warmer weather, family cookouts and picnics fast approaching, Executive Chef Chris Watson and Clinical Dietitian Anna Busenburg of Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health’s Food and Nutrition Services are offering food safety tips and tips to making a great burger.
- Keep beef refrigerated: Grilling times are based on beef being taken directly from the refrigerator to the grill not at room temperature. Shape burgers in advance, cover and refrigerate until the grill is ready.
- Trim, if necessary: Remove visible fat from meat and poultry before grilling to help prevent flare-ups and excess smoke formation.
- Marinating mantra: Always marinate in the refrigerator. Tender beef cuts can be marinated for 15 minutes to 2 hours for flavor. Less tender beef cuts should be marinated at least 6 hours – but no more than 24 hours – in a mixture containing an acidic ingredient or a natural tenderizing enzyme. Pat beef dry after removing from marinate to promote even browning and prevent steaming. Do not save marinade for reuse. If a marinade has been in contact with uncooked beef, it must be brought to a full rolling boil before it can be eaten as a sauce.
- Grilling temperature matters: Grilling over medium heat ensures even cooking and flavorful, juicy meat. If beef is grilled over too high heat, the exterior can become overcooked or charred before the interior reaches the desired doneness. Charring meat, poultry or fish is not recommended.
- Watch the charcoal: Never grill while the coals are still flaming. Wait until the coals are covered with gray ash (approximately 30 minutes), spread in single layer. To check cooking temperature, cautiously hold the palm of your hand above the coals at cooking height. Count the number of seconds you can hold your hand in that position before the heat forces you to pull it away; approximately 4 seconds for medium heat.
- Know your gas grill: Since gas grill brands vary greatly, consult the owner’s manual for information about preparing the grill for medium heat.
- • Turn properly: Use long-handled tongs for turning steaks; spatulas for burgers. A fork will pierce the beef causing loss of flavorful juices. And don’t be tempted to press down on burgers – it only releases the juices and creates flare-ups.
- Use a thermometer: The best way to determine doneness of burgers and steaks is to use an instant-read meat thermometer, inserted horizontally from the side to penetrate the center of the meat. Allow 10 to 15 seconds for the thermometer to register the internal temperature.
- Internal temperature matters: Cook burgers to at least 160°F the color of cooked ground beef is not a reliable indicator of doneness. Cook steaks to at least 145°F (medium rate doneness). The color will be very pink in the center and slightly brown toward the exterior.
- Practice food safety: Keep raw meat separate from other foods both in the refrigerator and during preparation. Wash hands, all utensils and surfaces in hot soapy water after contact with raw meat. Never place cooked meat on platters that held raw meat. Use clean serving platters and utensils. Serve cooked food promptly and refrigerate immediately after serving (within two hours after cooking).
Busenburg offers the following tips to spice up your hamburger, veggie burger or other sandwich option:
- Add flavor by adding spices like paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic and onion powder.
- Add moisture by adding egg whites or blueberries.
- Use lean beef (choose 90% meat/10% fat).
- Cook to an internal temp of 160ºF.
- Use 100% whole wheat bun or use a sandwich thin.
- Top with lots of vegetables such as bean sprouts, lettuce, tomato and red onion.
- Make “spicy mayo” by mixing today 3 tablespoons reduced fat mayo
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce or chili powder and 1 teaspoon lime juice.
- In place of mayonnaise, try adding sliced avocado, which is rich in heart healthy fat.
Posted by Rob Ford at 8:45 AM