Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Southeast >
Nov 15, 2010 05:50 AM

South Carolina burger law

I just saw the following on the menu at Amen Street in Charelston:

"A retail food establishment may cook ground beef to less than 155 degrees if ordered or requested by the purchaser or immediate consumer. The immediate consumer must be 18 years of age or older"

Did the law change? Is this just Charleston? anyone know the deal? last I heard the only way they could cook burger to order was if the meat were ground fresh on premises.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I THINK the law only applies if the establishment doesn't grind their own meat. That's why at Poe's you can get a burger cooked to order-they grind meat on site. Hey, I think I'll go there now....

    5 Replies
    1. re: Sue in Mt P

      poe's - lucky you.

      so, you think it's both...that you have to be over 18 AND the place has to grind their own?

      1. re: danna

        And can you get locked up for giving a minor a medium rare cheeseburger?

        1. re: Naco

          I'll take a kid and find out:D

          I have never heard of that law. But I have to tell you, if you go to Amen, get something seafoody. It is really great and the setting is lovely. Check out the light fixtures.

          1. re: Sue in Mt P

            I have heard that in SC you can order a medium rare burger if you are over the age of 18. Not sure if the meat has to be ground on premises though.

      2. re: Sue in Mt P

        Poe's Tavern has as good of a cheeseburger as I have ever had and I have had a few.

      3. I guess my kid is lucky she lives in *North* Carolina!

        7 Replies
        1. re: cackalackie

          danna, if that law has changed I don't know about it. I'll do some digging and see what I find out. I only eat burgers at Poe's, so I always get cooked-to-order.

            1. re: danna

              My 11-year-old always gets a rare burger in the restaurants she frequents - the ones that grind their own beef. In NC.

              1. re: cackalackie

                Then WNC needs to take a lesson from Raliegh. I've never had a decent burger in WNC, but i've had some attitude from servers eager to tell me I can't have rare. Unfortunately, that's one of the main reasons my husband won't return to Fig in Asheville.

                1. re: danna

                  OT, I know, but that's a great dog.

                  1. re: danna

                    Seriously. I have always heard that if you grind your own beef in house, then you can serve it rare. Someone here said it was a myth. But that's how the restaurants in Raleigh operate. All the best burgers come from places where they grind their own meat --- and they serve it rare. (Players Retreat, Porter's, Raleigh Times, to name but three.) Frankly it seems to go hand-in-hand, because they tend to use higher quality meat.

                    Raleigh Times Bar
                    14 E Hargett St, Raleigh, NC 27601

                    1. re: cackalackie

                      Right. The places down here that grind their own will cook to order. If the server doesn't ask you how you want your burger cooked, they don't grind their own.

                      Ah, the PR.... it has been a looooong time since I've been there!

            2. Here's what the SC Dept. of Health regulations say:

              "b. Ground beef and any food containing ground beef shall be cooked to heat all parts of the food to at least 155°F"

              Here is a link to the entire regulations:


              I don't see anything that indicates an exemption if one grinds their own meat, although it could be elsewhere in state law. It is a common misconception that such an exemption exits in North Carolina; it does not.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jla1960

                It could be a simple as getting a variance...happens all the time for varying reasons. All I know is that many places serve rare & med. rare ground beef and it is perfectly acceptable to their state inspectors.

              2. I believe it was about 2 years ago when burgers in S.C could be served below med-well in establishments that didn't grind there own meat.The last establishment I worked in had the same sign as Amen Street because DHEC said it had to posted on the menu or some other equally visible place.

                1 Reply
                1. The law may have changed but I remember about 8-10 years ago going for lunch with my Dad in Hilton Head. He ordered his burger "as rare as you can make it." He's not a "rare burger' guy..more m/r. I asked him about it and he said it was a new SC law...ground meat must be served at 155-160+ No talk of age limits or fresh ground creating an exemption.

                  I wouldn't swear to it but I think the law may have been changed if you grind your own; I could have only read it on CH..have't heard anyting about the 18 yr old age thingy but maybe it's happened too.