No thermometers in sight? Gold Coast French chefs Meyjitte Boughenout and Arnault Ollivier to open a burger restaurant at Coolangatta

Coolangatta is, to date, my favorite Australian beach. It’s about an hour away, not nearly as busy as the Gold Coast, but with all the amenities that are missing in some of the more, uh, remote places (which we’ll be investigating next weekend on our way to the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, about five hours south, for a ice hockey tournament).

The Gold Coast Bulletin reports that two French fine-dining chefs say there’s been a countrywide “dumbing down” of the burger and they’re fighting back with fresher flavor.

Meyjitte Boughenout and Arnault Ollivier, owners of Absynthe French Restaurant at Surfers Paradise, promise to restore the appetizing art form to its former glory when they open the Burger Trap at The Strand, Coolangatta in November.

When hamburgers were created in the eponymous German town back in 1880, it was to allow travellers to eat a meal very quickly, yet of a high standard of nutrition and quality.

Meyjitte says, “Burger Trap is going to make it fun, a visual treat and just put healthy back into burgers. You can see the patties being made in front of you.”

That should mean I can see the cooks use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer to ensure safety.

Want to avoid an E. coli burger? Cook the outside and inside to 71°C (160°F) – regardless of color

It’s a beautiful thing, for a Brit publication to embrace temperature, even when their own overpaid food safety types won’t.

terrance.phillip.fartExcept the person giving the advice is Canadian.

Dietitian Cara Rosenbloom, writer of the Words To Eat By blog, said minced beef is one of the main carriers of E. coli, a harmful bacteria among the most common causes of food poisoning.

But, she said, spotting a burger riddled with the bacteria is difficult as the meat will smell and look normal.

‘While the surface of any meat can technically harbor E. coli, it is killed when you cook food at a high temperature.

‘If E. coli is on the surface of a steak, it is killed by the grill, even if the inside of the meat stays pink.

Needle tenderized?

‘It’s got wagyu and pork, so we cook it to medium’; burger illiteracy, Brisbane-style

Amy had some French academics visiting this week, so we went out a couple of times, and I cooked a bunch of seafood and steak.

hamburger.jul.14At the restaurant yesterday, I got a burger for lunch. The server didn’t ask how I wanted it done, so I asked, how would it be cooked.

“It’s got wagyu and pork, so we cook it to medium.”

More bullshit.

I said I wanted it 160F and he was baffled.

Food safety at its finest.

Times once again highlights food porn over safety

Like Stephen Colbert, I am surprised to know the N.Y. Times still exists in print, other than the weekly reminder I get to resubscribe for $0.99.

20100611-sous-vide-burger-12Their food content remains equally suspect.

Sam Sifton spent 1,600 words deconstructing the perfect burger, and never a mention of a thermometer. Here are the nosestrethers, and for those who like their food porn bloody, this article is for you.

“Simply grab a handful of beef and form it into a burger shape, then get it into the pan, season it and cook for about three minutes. Then turn it over and, if using, add cheese. The burger is done three to four minutes later for medium-rare.”

No verificatuion and medium-rare means nothing. All that matters is temperature.

“Better (and safer) to have a butcher grind your meat, asking for a coarse grind so that the ratio of meat to fat is clear to the eye.”

No evidence. It might feel better, but there is no microbiological data to suggest this approach is safer.

“In addition to concerns about the health risks associated with preground hamburger meat, there are culinary considerations as well.”

Food porn.

Hamburgers linked to food poisoning at Senegal uni

Hamburgers appear to be the link to a food poisoning outbreak at Ecole Polytechnique Thies (EFA) in Senegal.

A day after the meal, engineering students began to suffer from severe vomiting accompanied by diarrhea. A large number of students were treated in the infirmary.

And that’s all the info there is (use a thermometer, regardless).

hamburger-safe and unsafe-thumb-450x138-175

Piping hot? 15 now sick with E. coli O157 linked to burgers from Scotland’s Hydro stadium

As the number of cases of E. coli O157 linked to burgers sold at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro stadium rose to 15, the only statement from operators remains, “We wish to assure the hamburger.thermometerpublic that at this time we have no significant concerns in relation to catering for our patrons.”

Maybe instead of hiding behind public health, the food service types at the stadium could provide a public accounting of where their hamburgers are sourced, how they are prepared, whether burgers are occasionally temped to verify standard operating procedures, or do they go with the UK standard of, piping hot?

At least 7 sick with E. coli O157 linked to burgers from Scotland’s Hydro stadium

A health alert has been sparked after thousands of people were potentially exposed to E. coli O157 via burgers sold at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro.

Seven cases of E.coli O157 are being investigated by the Public Health Protection Unit of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC), all of which were thought to be contracted e.coli.O157.hydro.scotland.14at the arena.

The cases could being linked to burgers sold at food outlets inside the £125million arena, although other food items are also being considered.

The period of time under investigation – January 17 to 25 – saw the Hydro holding a series of five events by Top Gear, on Friday 17 to Sunday 19.

Also on at the venue in that period was a gig by Del Amitri, on Friday, January 24, and an event as part of the Celtic Connections Festival on Saturday, January 25.

The venue holds up to 12,000, meaning up to 84000 people attended the Hydro in that period.

NHSGGC is liaising with Health Protection Scotland, the Food Standards Agency and Glasgow City Council in its investigation.

How do you know that hamburger is done?

The family along with a friend went to Palm Beach on Friday.

hamburger.done.jan.14Not that Palm Beach, but the one on the Gold Coast (Australia) about an hour away.

After acting like tourists and getting sunburnt, we grabbed some lunch. I usually order what the kid wants, and eat the leftovers, a strategy I learned from having four previous kids.

She wanted a hamburger (right, exactly as shown) so I asked the purveyor at the takeaway, how do you know the hamburger is done?

She said people complain if it’s pink, so they cook it well.

Color is a lousy indicator. Stick it in.

barfblog.Stick It In

Hamburgers at Christmas in Australia

Christmas can be exhausting in Australia. There’s no Thanksgiving, little Halloween, and summer’s here, so everyone’s ready to party.

Match that with two Christmas concerts from different childcare outfits, and the birthday party tomorrow at the park, and I’m not sure how Amy is keeping ihamburger.pool.dec.13t together.

Tonight, to relieve some pressure, we ate at the pool after the swimming lessons, because every Aussie child must swim (and play hockey – the ice kind – but that’s my addition).

I got a burger and fries for me and Amy, and chicken thingies with fries for the kid.

No aioli or mayonnaise.

But I did ask the person who took two frozen patties and fried them up, how do you know when the hamburger is done.

She said she cuts the patty in half and looks at the color.


Color is a lousy indicator of safety, and my burger was not cut – not that it would matter.

Use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer and stick it in. That’s what I’ll be doing at the kid’s birthday party at the barbie in the park tomorrow.

barfblog.Stick It In


Get rid of piping hot advice? UK research call on effectiveness of surface treatment in reducing microbiological contamination

The UK Food Standards Agency says the undercooking of meat products, such as burgers and sausages, continues to be a significant concern, particularly for enforcement officers responsible for assessing the safety of practices used by food businesses. 

Meat products, such as burgers, have been associated with food poisoning and they can pose a risk of illness because of the way they are prepared if they are then ben-newundercooked. For example, with whole pieces of meat, bacterial contamination is usually present on the outer surfaces. Internal (deep muscle) contamination is unlikely unless the meat has been pierced. External contamination can become spread throughout the meat during mincing, such as in the preparation of burgers, kebabs, sausages and other products.

There are indications that consumers and caterers are showing a preference for serving burgers undercooked and in a variety of settings. Local authority enforcement officers are concerned about the risk posed by such practices. A number of bacterial hazards may be associated with meat of which verocytotoxin-producing E.coli and salmonella are considered to be the most important.

The aim of the project is to examine whether treating the external surfaces of different cuts of beef, lamb and venison with heat and/or organic acids is effective in reducing microbiological contamination. This would be both before and after these meats are made into comminuted (a process that breaks up the meat into smaller pieces) products such as burgers.

The work should include:

• a range of meat cuts from beef, lamb and venison, focusing on those cuts that would typically be used for the production of burgers;

• examining naturally contaminated meat, as well as samples spiked with pathogens, and include a range of heat and/or organic acid treatments; and,

• assessments both before and after the preparation of the meat into a range of comminuted products such as burgers, steak tartar, kebabs and sausages which may be served raw or lightly cooked.