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Question for people who order their burgers rare...

I was just wondering if you also prefer sausage rare. And what about chicken?

Personally, I'm getting to where I like any meat products to be cooked more- too many horror stories floating around! But I know from the "what makes a great hamburger" thread that many seem to prefer rare no matter what- I simply can't handle a bloody hamburger bun!

So anyway, do the same standards apply to sausage and chicken?

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  1. Chicken tastes like crap rare, and so do most sausages. I think the comparison doeth not fly.

    1. bloody bun? what other reason for the bun than soak up all the blood and juices... yum... BTW I always order my burger "rare as you dare"!

      1. While I value your insightful comments, perhaps you should be asking a different question - if people eat well-done sausage and chicken, why don't they eat well-done steak? I'll tell you why - to most people who eat beef, well-done steak tastes like crap. And a hamburger is nothing more than chopped steak.

        Remember, hamburger tends to be fairly lean - no more than 20% fat, much of which renders out while cooking. Sausage, on the other hand, often has a higher fat content that is retained in whole or in part by its casing. So while a juicy well-done hamburger is an oxymoron, a juicy well-done sausage is not.

        As to chicken, the texture of the meat changes dramatically as it cooks. Until it's fully cooked, it's too mushy for me to enjoy it.

        3 Replies
        1. re: alanbarnes

          Guess I was actually thinking more of "bulk" sausage than link sausage. Would you prefer it to be pink in the middle? And what about ground turkey?

          I'm not asking this to get into a "rare vs well done" argument with anyone, just curious about it.

          1. re: Clarkafella

            I prefer breakfast patties to be cooked with just a hint of pink. Burgers, medium rare. Steaks, rare. It's just a preference thing.

            1. re: Clarkafella

              I detest overdone breakfast sausage so, yes, it's a little pink. And I make my patties relatively thick so I can control that better.

              AB - :)

          2. I'm a "warm, rare (bloody red) center" person.

            I don't order either chicken or sausage "rare," but I concede that often both meats are cooked far too long for my taste. Sadly, some people are so terrified of chicken that they cook it until it's rubbery, or worse, dry. Some of these same people don't think twice about making a bloody-rare steak. Go figure.

            Now that pork is being certified for cooking rare we've had pork chops cooked to "medium rare" and thoroughly enjoyed them. For some reason I'm squeamish about ordering pork *absolutely* rare.

            1 Reply
            1. re: shaogo

              I don't like the texture of truly rare pork, although I've become a huge fan of med-rare pork. I don't mind chicken if it is still slightly pink but again that's more of a texture issue for me than anything else.

            2. I'm in the "schizo" category. When I order a steak, I want it "black and blue" - charred outside, blue rare in the middle. But I like my burgers at least medium rare (a little red in the middle), and don't mind at all if they're medium/medium well, so long as they have a decent char on the outside.

              I don't know why rare burgers are not to my liking - I like carpaccio for example - but I would send one back that came my way.

              1. No they do not.

                Jfood still likes a pink burger, a pink-red steak, fully cooked chicken and sausage.

                BTW - growing up jfood used to place the red liquid from the steaks in a glass and drink it

                1 Reply
                1. re: jfood

                  We used to dunk bread in it. Yum!

                2. Sure - the same standards do apply - the item must to cooked to the point where it's delicious. You can get chicken sashimi (seared at the edges) at certain yakitori-ya.

                  1. I think a more apt comparison question would be steak and seafood. I prefer my steaks rare to medium rare and the same with seafood (salmon, tuna, cod, sea bass etc) unless I am having sashimi.

                    Steaks and things like chicken and sausages are just not the same. Raw chicken breast is sort of disgusting. And pinkish sausages is unappetizing just to think about because part of the attraction with sausages is to get the fat melted and carmelized so that there is a nice mouthfeel and sweet undertones from the cooked fat.

                    1. NO to all. Nor do I sea bass and other foods that don't taste right, are unappealing or have health risks from being undercooked. Your question is like comparing apples to oranges. You don't make orange pies...
                      A good, safe, rare burger should be freshly ground daily, on premises. Otherwise I'm not ordering a burger. I do not like them without a lot of pink (cooked medium-rare at the most).

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Scargod

                        I agree with where to enjoy a rare/medium-rare burger: At home, with meat you've ground yourself, or at a restaurant that grinds its own daily. I would never eat bulk ground beef less than well-done, not worth the risk.

                      2. for most people the taste of raw fowl or pork isn't pleasant. for whatever reason, the flavor of raw beef is. steak tartar is an ancient and highly valued dish. koreans make a similar dish.. although i can't remember the name. the most prized sashimi's are often said to have a meaty flavor, or sometimes beefy. ive not had raw rabbit or venison, so I can't compare. Truth of the matter is that beef is a fairly safe meat, being from a ruminant, unlike say bear or chicken which will eat other animal protein. the bacteria that can invade an entire piece of fowl, tends to stay on the surface of beef, until it is ground - which is why ground beef should be freshly ground or frozen before it is eaten.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                          Venison you can eat raw. Horse too, if you wish.

                        2. Your question on sausages really depends on what kind of sausage a person eats. There are three basic types of sausage: cooked, which are made from cooked, often emulsified, meat (hot dogs, kielbasa, mortadella, knackwurst); fresh, which are made from raw meat (Italian sausage, breakfast sausage, bratwurst); and dry cured (cantimpalo, salami, summer sausage, sopressata). Cooked sausages cannot be eaten rare or raw, but don't need to be recooked and are often eaten cold. Fresh sausages (which seems to me to be by far the smallest category) won't taste right if they are not cooked in the middle, but they definitely don't need to be well done. Dry cured sausages are very rarely cooked. I prefer dry cured sausages, so most of the sausage I eat is raw (or, technically, as it is cured and fermented, not raw but definitely below rare).
                          The same is true of hams. It would be a crime to cook a really good ham like jamon Iberico.
                          I eat all kinds of poultry rare, as long as I know the meat can be trusted. It is very common in a good Japanese izakaya for chicken to be served very rare. I also eat pork rare if I know the meat can be trusted. Off the top of my head, there are no meats I can think of that I would never eat rare or raw. Chicken and pork do not taste odd or off when rare, as some have suggested.

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: danieljdwyer

                            In 2007, Consumers' Report bought chickens from around the U.S. and sent them to a lab for analysis. 83% of the chickens contained bacteria that cause illness (sometimes fatal) in humans. If you are eating this stuff raw or undercooked, I suggest you stop.

                            1. re: pikawicca

                              Consumer Reports is buying chicken from very, very different sources than the ones I'd eat it rare from. Eating poultry rare is very common in much of the world, particularly countries where they have actual standards for raising livestock, and they don't have epidemics of foodborne illness.
                              Would I eat chicken from the supermarket rare? No, but I wouldn't eat that crap well done either.

                              1. re: danieljdwyer

                                I'm not sure what countries you are referring to that have "actual standards for raising livestock," but in any case how they are raised isn't really the problem. It's how they are slaughtered and processed where most of the foodborne illness issues arise. Specifically, in large scale processing operations it's difficult to insure that none of the feces or other contaminants come in contact the raw meat, and when it happens is when things get unhealthy. This is less of an issue in small-scale and artisinal operations (maybe).

                                Where do you buy your chicken, if never from the supermarket? How often do you eat chicken?

                                1. re: johnb

                                  There are quite a number of countries with much higher standards for the raising of livestock than the US (I'd say most first world nations, but I don't have that level of familiarity with more than a half dozen or so). When I was served rare chicken in izakayas in Japan or tapas bars in Spain, I knew I had nothing to worry about.
                                  How they are raised is a major issue. A healthy chicken doesn't have salmonella in its feces. It also looks and acts healthy. It's easy enough to spot an unhealthy bird that I think even if I hadn't grown up around people raising chickens I'd be able to do it. A healthy chicken - one that eats a healthy diet and gets plenty of fresh air, exercise, and sunlight - also has a strong enough immune system to fight these infections off in the rare cases they do occur.
                                  Over the last year I've stopped buying meat from anyone but the farmer that raised the animal - or for meats that are difficult to source in my area, a butcher that has done the legwork and has a relationship with a trustworthy producer. I also don't buy from a farm until I know something about their standards and what practices they use in raising their animals. This does mean I don't eat meat very often - though when I eat in a restaurant or someone else's home, I relax my standards, but I wouldn't eat rare chicken in those circumstances. It also sometimes means buying a live chicken and doing the dirty work myself.

                                  1. re: danieljdwyer

                                    The problem is that salmonella enteritidis can be found in apparently healthy chickens. They can be entirely asymptomatic.

                                    This is a recent development; a century ago s. enteritidis was almost unheard of because it is easily out-competed by s. gallinarum, the bacterium that causes typhoid in poultry. And chickens with typhoid appear sick. Or dead.

                                    Through the wonders of modern veterinary medicine, we've nearly wiped out s. gallinarum. That ecological niche has been filled by s. enteritidis. Not just in factory-farmed chickens, but across the board.

                                    Even medium-rare chicken may be safe (I don't have the charts handy, but pasteurization can occur over long periods of time at temperatures as low as 130F, and happens pretty quickly at 140F). But I'd be reluctant to eat any chicken raw unless it had been treated in a way that rendered it safe.

                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                      It is true that a chicken may appear to be healthy but actually be carrying salmonella. It will not, however, appear healthy over a long period of close observation, even with enteritidis, for a variety of reasons.
                                      To start with the most simple, chickens are clearly much more resistant to this strain than are humans, otherwise it would be very easy to spot. It is still an aggressive pathogen, and not one that a chicken will merely be a carrier of. A healthy chicken has a strong enough immune system to fight off and eliminate an enteritidis infection fairly quickly. Part of the reason that Japanese regulation of both domestic poultry production and imports of foreign poultry in the early and mid 90's increased dramatically was a series of studies conducted by its national veterinary institute. These studies found, in rapid succession, a number of factors in factory farms which led to the rapid spread of enteritidis in chickens raised in these conditions. They found that depriving chickens food or water for any period of the day - and chickens in factory farms typically have food and water for only a small period of the day - causes their immune system to weaken dramatically. So does a purely grain feed, even one which contains supplements. So does a lack of sunlight, and a lack of adequate outdoor exercise. The constant exposure to the feces of other chickens certainly doesn't help matters. So, a chicken that looks healthy probably won't ever have a salmonella infection spread completely through its body, and you won't be able to tell when an unhealthy chicken is sick, because they always look that way.
                                      That said, when a healthy animal is not able to quickly fight off an enteritidis infection, several signs become apparent over a long period of observation. When the chicken industry, and various veterinary institutes, state that you can't tell when a chicken is carrying enteritidis, what they mean is that you can't tell from the normal interaction humans and chickens in our production system. They mean that you can't just pick a chicken up by its feet and tell from a quick glance and a shake. That's just about all the interaction that takes place between chicken and man on factory farms, where over 95% of chicken produced in the US is raised. Unfortunately, much of the remaining 5% comes from operations small enough not to be classified as factory farms, but which use nearly identical methods.
                                      On real small farms - not those thousand acre chicken ranches that can call themselves such despite bringing thousands of chickens to slaughter annually - the farmer actually does a lot of observing of his animals. They'll notice the little things, which a really set in enteritidis infection will affect.
                                      For one, a sick bird behaves very slightly differently. Counter intuitively, a sick bird will often appear to be more active than a healthy bird. This is true of any sort of bird I have experience with, not just chickens. They do everything they can to appear perfectly healthy, a tactic with very obvious evolutionary advantages. But it quickly becomes apparent that they aren't grooming as much. Healthy chickens spend about as much of their day grooming as they do foraging and eating (and if you see the inside of a factory farm, where the birds appear to do very little grooming, it's quite evident how unhealthy they are even if they aren't carrying salmonella). Their plumage gets flat, though they puff it up defensively more often. Their defensiveness is all an act, however, as a sick bird won't fight you as much, and not at all when it is getting really sick. Unless one of your hens is remarkably tame, it's a bad sign to be able to pick her up with no fuss whatsoever. Sick birds will also become more friendly to those they consider non-threatening, another obviously advantageous evolutionary trait. Most importantly, however, you can see it in their droppings. Once or twice a day, a bird will have watery droppings, usually shortly after drinking a large amount of water. If they have watery droppings more often than this, they are sick. If you haven't changed their diet at all, but the color of the droppings changes, that's a very bad sign. It's even worse to see undigested food in the droppings. These things will never be noticed on a factory farm, where the birds have unhealthy looking droppings all their lives. These are the things you notice when you only have 20 hens.
                                      Another one, though this one is tricky, is that a bird with enteritidis will lay eggs with poor quality shells. Their can be other reasons for poor shell quality, and it's very difficult to distinguish between a fair quality shell and a poor one anyway. The importance of this factor is mainly that it is, thus far the only hypothesis I've seen as to why enteritidis is able to infect an uncracked egg when other diseases cannot.
                                      It's also important to identify as a substantial factor the source of the infection. Pathogens clearly do not spontaneously arise in a chicken coop. In order to have an infected chicken, one of three things needs to happen. The least obvious is that the chickens catch it from humans (a good reason not to buy from farms with petting zoos). The most obvious is that the farmer introduces newly acquired chickens to the coop (a good reason to buy from farms that do all of their own breeding, rather than buying young chicks). The third is that it comes from the food and water consumed by the chickens. This is perhaps the most difficult to control. Being able to assume a clean water supply is key, and this requires the farm not being in a watershed that may have runoff from factory farms or meat packing plants. The ideal feed is one the farmer mixes himself, not a commercially produced feed. A commercial vegetarian feed with no additives can be assumed to be safe, however.
                                      Even with everything done right, there is still, of course, some chance that a healthy chicken will become infected with salmonella, and then be slaughtered and sold in the few days between the infection overcoming its immune system and the bird beginning to appear sick. This is not a very high chance however, and you're far more likely to buy eggs laid by a hen during that period than you are to buy a chicken slaughtered during that period.
                                      It seems to me to be very common for people to eat undercooked eggs. While the other strains of salmonella will not pass from a chicken to its egg, enteritidis nearly always does. The CDC traces the cause of most enteritidis to eggs - though their data also shows that the typhimurium strain, which humans do not get from chickens, to be more common in humans than all of the enterica strains combined. There's this great fear of undercooked chicken, yet undercooked eggs are no less likely to cause an infection, and you're more likely to get typhimurium from a non-poultry source than you are to get enterica from a poultry source.
                                      This particular panic over chicken that is less than well done is also something that seems completely absent in many parts of the world. I wouldn't eat totally raw chicken, as this is just unappealing, but chicken sliced into thin strips and seared on both sides on a plancha so that the middle is still red? That's absolutely delicious, and not dangerous enough to worry about when all the proper precautions have been taken.

                                      1. re: danieljdwyer

                                        You posit a very lovely situation for the production of chickens. In what alternate universe is all this going to happen?

                                        On any day, in the United States there are probably 50-100 million people eating chicken. If they are supposed to search out and eat chicken produced by farmers whom have 20 or so chickens, lovingly looking over them, hatching them out themselves from their own broodstock, feeding them feed mixed up right there on the farm (from at least some non-grains), in an area with a guaranteed pure watershed, keeping watch on their poop, how many such farmers would there need to be to provide chicken to those chicken eaters. Where would they come from? And even if they existed, are we all supposed to spend our days driving around the countryside looking for our daily chicken? Is this how it's done in Japan, or anywhere else? Sorry. Your ideas may work for you, but to suggest that they constitute a "solution" for others is just a little bit over the top.

                                        While it may be true that factory farms have their problems, the solution is to find realistic ways to improve them, not try to substitute something so patently idealistic that is has no relevance to the needs of ordinary folks who just want to eat dinner and move on to the next day.

                                        1. re: johnb

                                          At what point do you think I suggested this as a solution for others?

                                    2. re: danieljdwyer

                                      I've eaten a lot of chicken in Spain, and none of it was anywhere close to rare.

                                  2. re: danieljdwyer

                                    I eat (almost), exclusively Bell and Evans. I would try and find a local grower, but it seems finding one that always has chickens when you need one is a major PIA. Same for getting fresh eggs from someone (like a neighbor). Must I do this myself (even though I am technically not allowed to raise chickens)?

                                    1. re: Scargod

                                      It definitely is a pain. It used to be fairly easy in Southwestern Connecticut, particularly finding eggs. On my grammar school bus route, five of the stops were at houses that had a "Fresh Eggs for Sale" sign out front. It takes a good amount of effort and cutting back on meat intake a whole lot. Joining a good CSA can make this easier. There are also a number of trustworthy sources online, but they are far too expensive for me.

                                  3. re: pikawicca

                                    health concerns involving relatively low possibilities don't drive my eating habits. if i find it tasty, i'll eat it and deal with the consequences.

                                2. Um...people don't order chicken rare cause they don't want to get sick...? Chicken is not like beef and in most cases should not be served undercooked.

                                  Maybe you meant to word the question differently o.O.

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: AngelSanctuary

                                    You think? The question certainly received a wide variety of answers, including some from people who prefer rare poultry. I was curious about that and got my answer. I still wouldn't eat it, but there are many who do.

                                    1. re: AngelSanctuary

                                      I like mine slightly pink. And unlike Daniel I am not so concerned with the source.

                                      1. re: Paulustrious

                                        jfood is VERY concerned about the source. He likes Scotts Corner Market's meat much better than Food Emporium and Stop & Shop.

                                        1. re: jfood

                                          I'm assuming they have a "special" source? If so, I wished I knew where I could find similar sources as Scotts. Chasing around after vendors at Farmer's Markets, where they may or may not have anything, or anything you really want, is not ideal.
                                          Other than the big guys, like S&S, I wonder if meat supplies are regionally sourced to any extent?

                                          1. re: Scargod

                                            Jfood sees a truck with "Omaha Beef" on the side going to and from Scotts all the time, whatever company that is. Plus they have butchers on staff.

                                            1. re: jfood

                                              A western CT company.
                                              They offer choice, prime and dry aged. I wonder what you pay per pound since they sell fillets and strips online for $18-19/lb. There's no info on who their source is.

                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                great find. weekly scotts has one of the beefs on sale. this week was rib eyes. Jfood had a 1.3lb ribeye for $8. What's to think about.

                                              2. re: jfood

                                                Omaha Beef was the supplier for the restaurant I worked at in high school. I have always found the quality to be quite good, about a good as you're going to find from a wholesaler.
                                                It's funny though, their prices online for a steak are all right around, or even slightly higher, than the price of a steak entree (same steak, same size) at the restaurant where I worked.

                                              3. re: Scargod

                                                Unfortunately, the New Haven farmer's markets rarely have local meats (the produce isn't all local either). You're generally better off going to Whole Foods than you are buying meat at the New Haven Farmer's markets.
                                                There just aren't local producers in Southern New England producing large enough quantities of meat for a store to buy - and the store would have to charge absurdly high prices since these farmers can't afford to sell at wholesale rates. The vast majority of the farms in the area are multi-purpose, so they don't produce a large amount of anything, and sell most of it directly.
                                                If you're interested in a steady supply of high quality, local meats, your best bet would be to look in to the CSA at Cedar Meadow Farm: http://www.cedarmeadowfarm.net/6901.html

                                        2. I like my chicken "just" done. Hate overcooked meat. Pork is generally cooked medium.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                            Yes... this is how I like poultry and meat. We buy poultry, pork and lamb from a local farm that "grows its own." Much tastier than factory produced meats.

                                          2. I'd like to hear from a biologist or medical practitioner, but I gleaned this from another forum. Paul Warriss was quoted in a publication of The Journal of The Science of Food And Agriculture 1977: "It is estimated that between 1.1 and 4.3% of the total blood volume of the live animal is retained in the musculature of a normal steer carcass and that the average residual blood content of normal butcher's meat is about 0.3%." So the "bloody juices" coming from rare meat are actually other body fluids, interstitial or extrastitial, from oragans and muscles.

                                            The question is, where do the harmful organisms reside--is it only in raw blood? Or in other components like myoglobin, etc?

                                            Calling all biologists/food scientists, etc.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: toodie jane

                                              It isn't the red juices that are the problem, it's what they signify. For example, e. coli doesn't come from blood or other juices, it comes from ... well, it's a **fecal** coliform bacteria. You figure it out.

                                              Cooking a burger to 165F (a) makes the juices run clear and (b) pasteurizes the meat. It isn't that the red juices necessarily contain the pathogens that are killed by pasteurization; it's just that neither red juices nor e. coli will be found in well-done meat.

                                              1. re: toodie jane

                                                Funny, I always stalker read these boards and never post, but some of the urban legends that people have about food safety worry me. Alanbarnes is definitely right about the juices being a sign that the meat has been cooked, and he's right about where e.coli comes from.

                                                One of the big differences between rare steak, rare ground beef and rare chicken is where the 'bugs' come from. In beef, most of the pathogens are fecal (appetizing, huh ), so can end up on the cut meats during slaughter. Steak is safer when cooked rare, because the outside of the meat that could have been exposed to the bad stuff is cooked, while the inside wasn't exposed. The difference in burgers and ground beef is that the exposed surface gets mixed in everywhere when it's ground, meaning the middle has as good of chance of bugs as the outside.
                                                Chicken is a little different...while alot of the 'bugs' in chicken are also from the gut, certain other diseases can infect even the muscle (some salmonellas, for example). Pork fits in this category too. So in that case, you want to cook all the way through, even if its not an exposed surface.
                                                Sausage is even worse...not only ground up, but some sausages are even made from "gut' parts...
                                                I'm not a food scientist, but I am a biologist, and I was always curious about this myself.

                                                  1. re: smokeandapancake

                                                    Chicken sashimi is traditional in Japanese yakitori houses.

                                                  2. I don't eat much sausage, but some of the best turkey and chicken I've had has been slightly on the raw side. Also, I prefer my fish raw, or only slightly cooked. Ditto most shellfish.

                                                    And , as you may suspect, I'd just as soon eat cardboard as a burger (or steak) cooked more than medium rare, and would prefer it bloody.