I was reading Eric Asimov's always fascinating article, this week about beer taverns in New York. This paragraph caught my eye:
"I moved on to the food station. Weary of the numerous variations on the sausage that I had consumed in a recent survey of New York’s latest crop of beer bars, and wary of the slightly forlorn-looking sushi — yes, 21st century — I ordered a burger, medium rare. “We don’t take temperature orders for burgers,” the server told me. “They all come out medium anyway.”I would have been so grateful if it had. Instead, the prefab burger, as flat and tasteless a patty as any ever slung at a company picnic, was cooked dry, perhaps to compensate for the wet bun on which it rested."
Mr. Asimov might have been served a bad burger, but not because it was cooked medium. In my humble opinion, the medium rare burger is hugely over-rated. Here's why.
People seem to assume that because the best steaks are cooked rare or medium rare, with lots of pink showing, the same is true of burgers. It is not. For starters, burgers are made of ground beef, which means that you are not eating the best cuts from the cow. Not only that, but unlike steak where you trim the fat off, the fat in ground beef is mixed in. That means that when you eat a rare or medium-rare burger, you are eating uncooked fat. I hate the texture and taste of uncooked fat, as do most people.
Now, when I say a medium burger, I don't mean the over-cooked version Mr. Asimov got. I don't mean well done. I mean barely, just barely cooked through. It might even have a light shade of pink showing. That point when the fat has been cooked, but just barely. That's when a burger is at its juiciest, best goodness.
If anybody does not believe me that medium is the best way to cook a burger, I'm always up for a challenge.