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Feb 22, 2007 08:42 AM

Safe to eat rare ground beef assuming I grind and cook immediately myself?


I'm looking to make some home-made beef burgers tonight with some fresh steaks (top sirloin and flank).

If I grind the meat at home myself, and immediately cook, is it safe to eat it medium rare or even rare?

I assume it's only when ground meat sits that you need to worry, correct?


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  1. "I assume it's only when ground meat sits that you need to worry, correct?" No, incorrect. The problem with ground meat is: if the surface of the meat being ground is contaminated, by grinding the surface now becomes inside.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Alan408

      Thanks for the reply.

      Is there a safe way to have rare burgers????

      1. re: Roberto7

        Bow your head, say Grace before meals, and enjoy life!

    2. If you get the meat at a good butcher, you shouldnt have anything to worry about. I eat rare burgers all the time.

      2 Replies
      1. re: MVNYC

        Thanks! Does the butcher grind it for you, or do you buy the steak / roast and grind yourself?

        1. re: Roberto7

          i have the butcher grind it for me

      2. I think that you should still be careful when buying ground meat from a butcher, if you intend to cook it rare only.

        The reason is that the butcher's ground beef could be a combination of meat from different parts of the animal. Some parts of the animal have more pathogens than others (such as those near vital organs) and, when combined and sold as "ground beef", make the whole batch in need of further cooking.

        However, if you specify that you want ground chuck or sirloin or other "safer" parts of the animal, you should be safe to cook rare only.

        1. I've read of a technique wherein you plunge the raw, unground meat into vigorously boiling water for one minute, then remove and grind. This should kill any bacteria on the surface of the meat. If you grind and eat immediately, and have a normal immune system, this should be as safe as eating a rare steak. Obviously if you're starting with very thin steaks this might cook the meat to an unacceptable degree.

          4 Replies
          1. re: HPLsauce

            Could I also trim the complete surface of a roast and grind that? Or would the knife just spead the problem.

            1. re: Roberto7

              The knife would spread some of the bacteria from the old surface to the new. Depending on how contaminated the original surface was, the new surface might still have enough bacteria to make you sick, or it might not. Or it might make you less sick. Obviously if you use this approach you should trim as close as possible to the time of grinding / serving. It would probably help a little if you put the knife blade in boiling water for 30 sec or so between cuts.

              I guess you could use the trimmed "original surface" as stew meat or taco filling or something else you'd cook to well done; otherwise it would seem that you'd be throwing away a fair amount of meat.

              1. re: Roberto7

                if doing this, getting the meat somewhat frozen would probably help make thinner slices, and thus less waste. Or even better, use the scraps for the fools who like a well done hamburger.

              2. re: HPLsauce

                I was going to suggest this as well. Learned in from Harold McGee, although if I bought good quality meat I wouldn't hesitate to take my chances, assuming I'm not feeding small children, pregnant women or anyone else advised not to go on roller coasters.

              3. If you grind the meat yourself its safer than the butcher. They usually dont sanitize inside the machine after each use so theres a possibility of ground meats (pork/chicken/beef) from earlier in the day. Eating rare meat is safe, beef tartare is one of my favorites!