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is medium rare hamburger kosher?

I always thought meat had to be well done-
question came up on the home cooking board.

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  1. Yes, so is steak tartare.

    1. Then tell Prime Grill and Le Marais to stop serving steak tartare. As I understand it, once beef is kashered (soaked/salted), it's considered ready for consumption.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ferret

        Not exactly the same, but if a medium rare steak can be considered kosher, then why not hamburger meat? (It would seem that ground beef could be thoroughly salted/soaked-- certainly moreso than a solid piece of meat.)


        "The reddish liquid that remains inside the meat after this procedure is not halachically considered blood; it is the meat's "juice," and is 100% kosher."

        Whether or not the "juice" is blood seems like an absolutely relevant point to me, and not one so easily dismissed. But then again, I'm not a halachic scholar. (Hey, if it were up to me, milk and poultry would be a-ok.)

        Mr Taster

        1. re: Mr Taster

          Ground beef is kashered before it's ground.

      2. I'm curious to know why someone thought that it isn't kosher.

        I know of a fleishig restaurant in Manhattan who refuses to cook to anything less done than medium-well, but it seems to be out of an overabundance of caution.

        1. No reason why not as long as it has been properly salted and soaked.

          1. As others have said, yes, it's fine. One exception is liver- it needs to be broiled, and the equipment used to make it is considered treif. In theory that could also be done with other meats, but everyone just salts and soaks instead. The red juices that run out aren't considered blood; I imagine that's where some of the confusion comes from.

            1. It probably all started many years ago when everyone wanted the "end piece" of the rib roast and all the meats had to be burnt beyond recognition.
              The younger generation has learned that medium rare is usually tastier and much juicier, and it's still kosher!

              2 Replies
              1. re: chicago maven

                "It probably all started many years ago when everyone wanted the "end piece"
                Doesn't the mohel get that?

                1. re: zackly

                  I thought that the mohel worked on tips.

              2. The reason behind that misconception is that theoretically one could broil any meat, not just liver, instead of soaking and salting it. In that case the meat would be rather well done.

                Ooops, just noticed that masteraleph just said the same thing but I don't know how to delete this.

                4 Replies
                1. re: SoCal Mother

                  We had a butcher (years ago) that offered skirt steaks unsoaked/salted because, as a thin cut, they do tend to get overly salty.

                  1. re: ferret

                    Until the early to mid 80s here in Connecticut you had to specifically ask that your meat be soaked and salted by the butcher (with the exception of ground meat that had to be kashered before grinding).
                    If my mother, later myself when I moved into my first home, placed an order with the butcher, we'd request soaked and salted and it would be delivered (or ready for pickup) two business days later. If we went into the shop and just picked up some fresh meat, we'd take it home and kasher it ourselves.
                    Self-service cases with kashered meat didn't become common until about 1985. Most kosher meat was locally slaughtered (in-state) and arrived at the kosher butchers hanging on the hoof. No boxed beef or cryovacs in those days.
                    I still have an old time mostly retired local shochet who will shecht animals I order from local farms. I kasher the forequarters I keep. The rest goes to a non-Jewish neighbor who splits the order with me.

                    In home kashering of meat is a lost art, but modern kosher keeping Jews should know how to do this. Sometimes it is oppertune, sometimes when traveling or being relocated it becomes a necessity.

                    1. re: bagelman01

                      We had poultry-on-demand until the mid-late 1990's (yes, I know it was commonplace in the 60's/70's, but it all but disappeared thereafter). You picked your favorite from the cage and they took it in back while you went shopping down the street. Still warm in the paper wrapping when you got back. Really freaked me out.

                      1. re: bagelman01

                        i guess it depends on where you live, but kashered meat has been to norm here in Chicago for many years, well before 1985.

                  2. Less then well done? Get real! Even if perhaps technically permitted. By analogy to, it's not shabbosdig.

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                      >> Less then well done? Get real! Even if perhaps technically permitted. By analogy to, it's not shabbosdig.


                      That's a lot of random words sprayed on my screen. I have no idea what you're trying to say.

                      What in the world is shabbosdig?! (Google says it's a card game, but that makes what you wrote even more confusing.)

                      Mr Taster

                      1. re: Mr Taster

                        It's Yiddish for Sabbath-appropriate, approximately. That said, I'm not sure what Vinnie is trying to say, either.

                        1. re: GilaB

                          What Vinnie is trying to say, and in fact said, is that even if meat that's less than well done is technically kosher, it's not really acceptable, by analogy to "it's not shabbosdig", which is the catch-all veto to any activity that you don't like, no matter how many poskim say it's OK.

                          1. re: zsero

                            If that's what he was saying then I have to disagree. There's no reason to avoid eating meat that's less than well done so long as it's not a health risk.

                            1. re: zsero

                              I'm not getting it. Why wouldn't meat less than well done be not kosher, technically or otherwise? If it's soaked and salted, that's it, that's all that's necessary. The liquid is not blood, and you can eat meat raw if you like.

                              1. re: queenscook

                                There are things which are technically permitted, but frum people don't do them. That's what he's saying. I'm not sure if it was supposed to be a joke or not, but there are plenty of examples in other aspects of Judaism. You may disagree with him in this case, but I could probably find other examples where you wouldn't do something even if it's technically permitted.

                                1. re: avitrek

                                  I can see where old time Ashkenazi cooks might not have served much rare meat. For one thing, it was hard to prepare rare meat on Friday and keep it rare but still hot until the Friday evening meal. And although rare, cold beef is a popular Shabbos lunch now, maybe it wasn't such a good idea to keep rare meat overnight before refrigeration.

                                  Before refrigeration, a lot of the meat was salted or dried, not nice, soft meat like corned beef from a modern deli. Old fashioned corned beef was hard and incredibly salty so that it could sit in a barrel for months, you had to soak it and simmer it to make it edible. Similarly, while a poultry confit is a luxury item today, it was invented as a way to preserve meat. As was smoking. I don't know what proportion of the Ashkenazi meat supply was dried, smoked, salted or preserved in fat. But in pre-modern, Northern European farming communities, it was a very high percentage, higher for people of modest means.

                                  The biggest factor may have been that the ancestors of most Ashkenazi immigrants were poor enough to have to make a little meat go a long way, and the way to do that is to cook a little meat with a lot of beans and vegetables an spread the umami around.

                                  I could be wrong, but I don't see where many Ashkenazi families would have been eating much rare meat, and when Jewish immigrants lacked sophisticated Jewish educations, they and their descendants have often assumed that the stuff their parents did was halacha, when in fact sometimes there were other reasons. The OP, for example, seems to have assumed that because Jews he knows didn't eat rare meat, it must have been that red meat was not kosher.

                                2. re: queenscook

                                  If you can explain why playing board games is "not shabbesdik", or eating lasagna is "not shabbesdik", or any of the other things that get labelled with this catch-all, then you can explain this too. "Not shabbesdik" really means "I don't like it, but I can't find anything against it in the shulchan aruch, so I'll call it עובדין דחול because you can't prove it isn't", In the same sense, "undercooked" meat is "not kosherdik". :-)

                                  1. re: zsero

                                    This is probably not the right place for a long discussion on board games on Shabbos, so I'll just say that on Shabbos it's meritorious to focus on holy things like learning Torah.

                                    As far as lasanga, well, that's a new one to me. I've eaten plenty of lasanga's on Shabbos. You can make a nice Fleishig lasanga and keep it on a warming tray. (to get back to a Chowhound topic) I alternate layers of lasanga noodles with a meatsauce made with caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms and browned meat simmered in crushed tomato and spices. It's not as cohesive as a cheese lasanga but it tastes good.

                                    I'm not one to denigrate others' chumros. If you want to avoid lasanga or rare meat or meat with white bread and mayonaise for whatever reason, Gei Gezunteheight. But please don't say it's a universal Jewish practice because it's not.

                                    1. re: follick

                                      follick, you are right. Ahmehrike should have been called the nicht betahmte medineh rather than the treifene medineh. Polish cooking does kill, but they didn't see nothin' yet - they didn't know that it would be done fusion.

                            2. re: Mr Taster

                              Huh? There's a card game called "shabbosdig"? Cool. I would have thought all card games are by definition not shabbosdig, but what do I know?

                            3. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                              Apparently it wasn't obvious to some people that "Vinnie Vidimangi"'s pickled tongue was embedded in his braised beef cheeks.

                              Put it this way: rare meat is exactly as kosher as meat that's been put between two slices of white bread and slathered with mayo!

                              1. re: zsero

                                That's something we can agree on. Those are both kosher even if some people have a preference not to eat them.

                                1. re: follick

                                  Give me Miracle Whip or give me no sandwich at all. Mayo is for french fries. :-D