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Jan 3, 2011 04:13 PM

No more juicy burgers at Firebirds.

Looks like they may have been busted by the health department for selling edible burgers. Went today and got the standard "well or medium well" NC hockey puck.

I have to admit that the server was well coached in relating that the "health dept. had a "specialist" come in and "analyze" the process. . . . ." Nice job.

Anyway, can't vouch for their burgers anymore. If you like dead burgers the great wood grilled taste is still there.

Firebirds Rocky Mountain Grill
7716 Rea Rd, Charlotte, NC 28277

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  1. Just a reminder, there is no provision for restaurants cooking a hamburger under medium well, whether they grind their own beef or slaughter their own cattle in the back. According to NCDEH:

    "ground beef and foods containing ground beef shall be cooked to an internal temperature of at
    least 155° F (68° C)".

    I'm not saying I agree with it, I'm just saying it.

    20 Replies
    1. re: billyjack

      Restaurants who grind their own beef can offer burgers cooked less than mw. If you use pre-ground beef, you are supposed to cook everything to at least mw (a hint of pink). The same goes for beef tartare. If you chop your own beef, it's perfectly fine to serve as a raw tartare, but you can't use pre-ground beef in a tartare. Keep in mind it is not against health code to serve raw beef in the form of carpaccio or tartare (or any other raw concoction), and it is certainly within code to serve a burger under mw if done correctly. The above quote relates to pre-ground beef, not to ground beef as a whole.

        1. re: GodfatherofLunch

          God, who cares! We all know there are places that cook to order. I just had a perfect medium rare burger at The Federal yesterday.

          1. re: GodfatherofLunch

            It's not against code to serve beef tartare. Do you think there is a law saying you can't take the same beef and make a medium burger out of it? If you grind your own beef, you can serve a burger under mw. Heck, if it is not illegal to serve raw beef or rare steak, why would you think it's illegal to serve a mr burger (especially out of the same meat)?

            1. re: veganhater

              Please provide a link to that portion of the state health code that allows for the serving of a burger at less than 155 degrees. Thanks.

              1. re: jla1960

                Section 2609 (e)(3) calls for all ground beef to be cooked to at least 155 degrees F.


                1. re: ToothTooth

                  Yeah, got that, thanks. Veganhater indicated the law allowed cooking ground beef to a temperature lower than 155, and I was asking for a confirmation of that in the state health laws.

                  1. re: jla1960

                    vh must have been thinking about hot dogs. lol.

              2. re: veganhater

                This article will clearly explain the law.
                sisterbeer- true some places will take a chance and break the law to serve a burger the way some customers wants it. If you are lucky enough to find such a place posting the name will probably result in that coming to an end. So enjoy your rare burger while you can cause big brother is watching and probably reading CH.

                1. re: GodfatherofLunch

                  Thanks for linking that article. However, it says the law allows establishments that grind their own beef to cook it to 130 degrees (medium rare), but I read through the entire statute and I'll be darned if I can find where it says that.

                  1. re: jla1960

                    In the statute beef steak has to be cooked to 130f.

                    I think the interpretation is that beef steak that is purchased in, and then ground in-house, it remains beef steak for the purposes of the regulation.

                    But this isn't my field and I could be wrong. I'd love to hear from someone who's had interactions with DEH on this topic.

                    1. re: brokegradstudent

                      Thanks, thats an interesting interpretation that I hadn't thought you, I'd love to hear from the health department directly on this.

                      1. re: brokegradstudent

                        maybe that's it. same deal in SC. Everyone says places that grind their own can serve it rare, but I read the code and can't find that exception.

                        1. re: brokegradstudent

                          Per Lynn Lathan of the Mecklenburg County Health Department, all ground or chopped beef must be cooked to 155 degrees, no exceptions. As GofL says, some places serve you a rare burger, but technically they are breaking the law.

                        2. re: jla1960

                          Sometimes the law isn't clearly laid out in the statute, but rather in the caselaw.

                          1. re: lynnlato

                            Thats true, but this a specific regulation, not something that would have been subject to interpretation by a court, I wouldn't think.

                        3. re: GodfatherofLunch

                          It has to do with buying the cuts whole. They aren't breaking the law. BTW, you can email the health department directly if you really want to know. They will reply.

                            1. re: jla1960

                              Not about this specifically. I generally only talk to them when it relates to my business' health inspection.

                        4. re: veganhater

                          Per Lynn Lathan at the Mecklenburg County Health Department, steak tartare can only be served if it it made from sliced steak, not ground or chopped. If it's ground or chopped, it must be cooked to 155 degrees. All ground beef must be cooked to 155 regardless of where it is ground.

                  2. The original comment has been removed
                    1. Exactly the conversation I was hoping to avoid, I should've kept my mouth shut. This issue comes up constantly. NCDEH has confirmed in the past that there is no exception. They might not enforce the rule until they hear multiple reports of a restaurant serving rare burgers. Then they almost always step in.