A friend of Amy’s from her PhD days at the I-was-there-when-Tom-Brady-was-there University of Michigan and her family came over last night for dinner.
They’d been on the road a long time, so I figured a U.S.-styled meal of steak and two veg would be welcomed.
After a day of cleaning and cooking – seriously, me and two other semi-house dads I hang with at the kid’s school should jump on the food porn train with all the shopping and cooking we do and the discussions we have about how to make a slow-cooked chicken curry while also talking about the shit guys say on mic’d up hockey – Amy went off with her friend and family and I got to write.
Yet only a couple of hours into the adventure, I get this from Amy:
We went to a place for lunch in Noosa. I was going to get a burger but read that “All our burgers are USDA certified organic and served medium-rare.”
Use a thermometer and stick it in.
Only way to tell if something is microbiologically safe.
Robert Herriman of Outbreak News Today reports the number of people infected with the parasitic disease, trichinosis, has grown to 20 people in the Irkutsk region of Siberia, Russia, according to a Sib.fm report (computer translated).
The public health investigation reveals that the hunters contracted the parasite in May after preparing smoked bear meat which was consumed. Shortly after consuming the not fully cooked meat, they complained of feeling bad and went to the hospital.
One inmate who was hospitalized has filed a notice of claim with the county, a prelude to a lawsuit.
“Suffolk County comes with an affirmative obligation to supply its criminals in prison all food that’s free of any unhealthy or dangerous substance,” stated Andrew Siben a Bay Shore attorney representing the inmate, Shawn Carpenter.
Joe Sevier of Epicurious had unknowingly done me a favor, telling his food porn audience it’s OK to eat pink chicken, if it is temped for safety.
Suck on that Food Standards Scotland.
We’ve been trained as a society to treat pink poultry like anathema. Some cooks even go so far as to overcook chicken on purpose. But what if I told you some pink poultry is safe to eat? Would you believe me?
Amazingly, it’s true. When I spoke to Dr. Greg Blonder, a physicist and co-author of Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling, he explained why some pinkness will never fade. And if no amount of checking the chicken’s temperature will assuage your squeamishness, he offered some tips to avoiding pink poultry before you even bring it home from the store.
What causes cooked meat to turn pink?
“The majority of chickens sold in stores today are between six to eight weeks old,” says Blonder. Young chickens have hollow bones that are thinner and more porous than their older brethren. When cooked, “the purple marrow—so colored due to the presence of myoglobin, a protein responsible for storing oxygen—leaks into the meat.” This reaction, in effect, stains the bone; the color of the meat adjacent to it will not fade regardless of the temperature to which it’s cooked.
What about pink flesh nearer the surface? Certain cooking techniques—especially ones that use lower cooking temperatures, such as smoking—exacerbate the pink meat reaction. That pink smoke ring that’s a telltale sign of good barbecue? Myoglobin again. In fact, you don’t even need smoke to achieve that smoke ring.
Why is my chicken bloody in the first place?
Actually, it’s not. Blonder notes, “all commercially-sold chickens are drained of their blood during processing.” The pink, watery liquid you’re seeing is just that: water. The moisture that seeps from the chicken while it’s waiting for you to buy it mixes with that old rascal myoglobin, causing the pink “juices” that you see pooling around the packaged bird—it’s called myowater, FYI.
That same substance is what gushes forth when you cut into a cooking chicken to see if the juices run clear. Unfortunately, that’s a long-held measure of doneness that can’t be trusted. The only way to know if your bird is cooked through: a good quality thermometer. (Here’s the Epi favorite.) To check the temperature, stick the probe into the meatiest part of the bird—checking both the breast and thigh is a good idea. You’re looking for a finished temperature of 160ºF to 165ºF. Accounting for carry-over cooking and the size of whatever it is you’re cooking, that could mean pulling the chicken off the heat anywhere from 150ºF to 155ºF.
Whatever, pink meat still freaks me out
There are a couple of things you can do to avoid pink meat altogether.
First, debone the meat before it’s cooked. Without a myoglobin-y bone around to stain it, your chicken breast will be as pristinely white as possible.
Second, change the pH. A lot of factors are at play here, notes Blonder, and even the way an animal is slaughtered can significantly change the pH level (i.e. acidity) of its meat. Higher pH—i.e. lower acidity—means higher myoglobin and higher myoglobin means pink had better be your new obsession. If you’re not Steven Tyler, opt instead to marinate your meat in a marinade with a lot of citrus or vinegar. Introducing the meat to a high-acid environment will lower the pH and reduce the risk of that anxiety-inducing rosy hue.
Scotland, your overpaid food safety communications types got some explaining to do. If you can’t even get cooking chicken right, how can anyone believe your so-called science-based approach to food safety issues?
And every generation will have its Aerosmith. They aren’t the Stones or Floyd.
Beverages that are too hot can injure cells in the esophagus and lead to the formation of cancer cells, said Mariana Stern, an associate professor of preventative medicine and urology at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.
But a cup of joe at the right temperature might not be so dangerous, and it could even be beneficial. Scientists said coffee at cooler temperatures is safe to drink and may decrease the risk of liver cancer by 15%, according to the research published in Lancet Oncology on Wednesday. Previously, the International Agency for Research on Cancer ruled coffee was a “possibly carcinogenic” in 1991.
“This gets the word out for more people to be aware that coffee is a healthy beverage and that it’s part of a healthy diet,” National Coffee Association President Bill Murray (right, not exactly as shown) said. “It’s an opportunity for people to drink a little more coffee and create more business.”
The research involved Stern and 22 other scientists from 10 countries, who examined about 1,000 studies on more than 20 types of cancer. They determined that drinking very hot beverages are “probably carcinogenetic,” with a higher risk of developing cancer of the esophagus.
Common belief has been, according to Tristan Lutze, a Sydney-based food writer, that a good burger patty should be fat, juicy and pink inside. To cook it perfectly, you need a nicely oiled grill and a careful hand, taking care to never press on the burger and squeeze out those delicious juices.
Color is a lousy indicator and a tip-sensitive digital thermometer is required.
But there’s something of a burger rebellion happening on America’s east coast, and it’s beginning to spread.
The secret is a technique called “ultra-smashing”, a phrase coined by The Food Lab for a process that’s being used by burger superstars Harlem Shake in NYC, and the obsession-worthy Shake Shack.
With just a couple of pieces of equipment and a small piece of meat, it creates a flavour-packed burger in under a minute. Yes, in less than 60 seconds.
All you need is:
— A stainless steel pan, or BBQ hotplate. Your favourite non-stick pan WON’T work here.
— Any tool that will help you press down on the meat as hard as possible once it’s on the pan. A (new, washed) $10 stainless steel plastering trowel from a hardware store is perfect, and capable of much more pressure than a kitchen spatula.
— A scraper to dislodge the meat from the pan. A steel pastry scraper will work, but a joint knife or scraper from the hardware store is even better.
Heat the unoiled pan to nearly smoking and roll your mince (the fattier the better) into a 5cm diameter ball. Place the meat into the centre of the pan and immediately press down on the patty with the trowel or spatula, applying extra pressure with the scraper if needed.
Keep pushing as hard as you can until the meat is only a few millimetres thick.
Whatever the technique, a tip-sensitive digital thermometer, inserted sideways in this case, is still required.
During 2015, we studied preferences of chefs and the public in the United Kingdom and investigated the link between liver rareness and survival of Campylobacter. We used photographs to assess chefs’ ability to identify chicken livers meeting safe cooking guidelines.
To investigate the microbiological safety of livers chefs they preferred to serve, we modeled Campylobacter survival in infected chicken livers cooked to various temperatures. Most chefs correctly identified safely cooked livers but overestimated the public’s preference for rareness and thus preferred to serve them more rare.
We estimated that 19%–52% of livers served commercially in the United Kingdom fail to reach 70°C and that predicted Campylobacter survival rates are 48%–98%. These findings indicate that cooking trends are linked to increasing Campylobacter infections.
Restaurant cooking trends and increased risk for Camplyobacter infection
Emerging Infectious Disease Journal, Volume 22, Number 7, July 2016, DOI: 10.3201/eid2207.151775
A.K. Jones, D. Rigby, M. Burton, C. Millman, N.J. Williams, T.R. Jones, P. Wigley, S.J. O’Brien, P. Cross
Finely ground veal and/or a finely ground beef-pork-veal mixture were inoculated (ca. 6.5 log CFU/g) with an eight-strain, genetically marked cocktail of rifampin-resistant STEC strains (STEC-8; O111:H, O45:H2, O103:H2, O104:H4, O121:H19, O145:NM, O26:H11, and O157:H7). Inoculated meat was mixed with liquid whole eggs and seasoned bread crumbs, shaped by hand into 40-g balls, and stored at −20°C (i.e., frozen) or at 4°C (i.e., fresh) for up to 18 h. Meatballs were deep-fried (canola oil) or baked (convection oven) for up to 9 or 20 min at 176.7°C (350°F), respectively. Cooked and uncooked samples were homogenized and plated onto sorbitol MacConkey agar with rifampin (100 μg/ml) followed by incubation of plates at 37°C for ca. 24 h. Up to four trials and three replications for each treatment for each trial were conducted.
Deep-frying fresh meatballs for up to 5.5 min or frozen meatballs for up to 9.0 min resulted in reductions of STEC-8 ranging from ca. 0.7 to ≥6.1 log CFU/g. Likewise, reductions of ca. 0.7 to ≥6.1 log CFU/g were observed for frozen and fresh meatballs that were oven cooked for 7.5 to 20 min.
This work provides new information on the effect of prior storage temperature (refrigerated or frozen), as well as subsequent cooking via deep-frying or baking, on inactivation of STEC-8 in meatballs prepared with beef, pork, and/or veal. These results will help establish guidelines and best practices for cooking raw meatballs at both food service establishments and in the home.
Effect of deep-frying or conventional oven cooking on thermal inactivation of Shiga toxin–producing cells of Escherichia coli in meatballs
Journal of Food Protection®, Number 5, May 2016, pp. 696-889, pp. 723-731(9)
Porto-Fett, Anna C. S.; Oliver, Michelle; Daniel, Marciauna; Shoyer, Bradley A.; Stahler, Laura J.; Shane, Laura E.; Kassama, Lamin S.; Jackson-Davis, Armitra; Luchansky, John B.