Tips for Cooking Ground Beef this Summer

July 4th is just around the corner! In America that means Hot dogs, Hamburgers and the usual cookout BBQ favorites.

Americans consume nearly 12 billion hamburgers per year! Roughly 2% of meat testes by the FDA in 2008 contained salmonella.

That equates to 240 million hamburgers per year!

Here are a few tips to help keep your family safe during the summer.

1. Make sure you keep your raw ground beef on its on plate close to the bottom of the fridge to avoid dripping and/or contamination.

2. Make sure to keep your raw meat and ready to eat meat seperate.

3. Make sure to wash your hand thoroughly before and after handling raw meat.

4. Make sure to use a different plate for the raw meat than for the cooked meat.

5. Use a temperature probe to assure the internal temperature of the ground beef reaches 160 degrees F.

A recent survey of labels on packages of frozen ground beef patties (4 oz. size) revealed some packages suggest cooking times of 1.5 to 2 min/side.  Research on consumer cooking procedures indicates that cooking times of less than 3 min/side could not produce a safely cooked product, thus some packages provided unsafe instructions.  Frozen ground beef patties generally required 7 to 9 min total cooking time and starting with a room temperature pan (not preheated) extends the cooking time by about 4 min.  Furthermore, cook times on a propane grill are more variable in than a fry pan on the electric stove.  Bottom line: The variability of cooking times for patties makes it Packaging also gave conflicting information about the use of cooked color to predict doneness and about avoiding both overcooking and undercooking, provided an array of confusing instructions for consumers. (McCurdy, S.M., M.T. Takeuchi, Z. Edwards, M. Edlefsen, D-H. Kang, V.E. Mayes, and V. N. Hillers.  2006. Food safety education initiative to increase consumer use of food thermometers in the United States.  Br. Food J. 108:775-794.)


Keep educated and practice safe holding and cooking practices!

Use a thermometer to assure the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. No exceptions!!

There are many simple easy to use thermometers out there for consumers.

For something more advanced check out the new BT-100 food probe.

Have a great 4th of July!