If you’ve ever cooked a burger and seen pink in the middle, you may have been worried that it wasn’t safe to eat. Don’t worry – it is!
In this blog post, we will teach you what the different doneness temps are for burgers, and what the pink in the middle is. We’ll also tell you if it’s safe to eat a burger that is still pink in the center. Keep reading to learn more.
Burger Pink in Middle-Is it Safe to Eat?
A burger that is pink in the middle is safe to eat as long as the internal temperature of the burger is 160 degrees. Many restaurants that use higher quality beef will ask how much pink you want left in the middle of the burger when it is served.
What Is the Pink In the Middle of a Burger?
When you buy beef at the store you’ll see the uncooked patties as purely red or pink.
This is because myoglobin, which is a protein that stores oxygen in muscle tissue, turns red when it is exposed to oxygen.
The burger will remain red or pink until it is exposed to extreme heat which will cause a chemical reaction in the myoglobin.
As the burger cooks and the myoglobin is exposed to heat, it will change color from pink to brown which is why the outside of burgers are always brown.
The outside cooks faster than the inside which is why you see the outer layer turn brown but if you cut the burger open it may still have some pink in the middle.
You can cook your burger fully until there is no pink inside but depending on the quality of the cut you may ruin the flavor of the burger.
The Different Doneness Temperatures of Burgers
You may have noticed at some restaurants when you order a burger they ask you how you want it cooked. They are referencing the doneness of the burger and there are several options you can choose from.
This is the pinkest a burger can be and have an internal temperature that is safe enough to eat
If you order a burger rare it will likely still have some blood in the center and be very soft to the touch.
This is often the juiciest type of burger and the middle will be a softer texture when you chew it. For people who prefer the taste of beef and want a juicy burger, rare is often the best option.
A burger that is cooked medium rare will have a little less pink in the middle but you will still be able to see it when it’s cut open.
At this point, most of the blood has been cooked out but there is still some myoglobin that is pink.
The burger will be firmer to the touch than a rare burger but not as firm as one that is cooked more. The flavor of the meat will be more pronounced and there will still be some juices in the burger.
This is when most of the pink has been cooked out of the burger and it is starting to turn brown in the center.
There will be no juices or blood left in the burger and it will be firm to the touch. You’ll still be able to notice a small thin line of pink running through the center of a medium-cooked burger.
The flavor of the meat will be more cooked through and less pronounced than a rare or medium-rare burger.
Medium well is the first type of doneness where you won’t see any pink in the burger.
The internal temperature of the burger will be between 155-165 degrees and it will be firm to the touch with very little juices left.
For those who don’t trust eating pink in the center of their burgers will prefer a medium-well. Not many people go beyond this cooking temp because anything higher can tend to dry out the meat if not cooked properly.
A well-done burger has been cooked until there is no pink remaining and it is brown or gray all the way through.
The internal temperature of the burger will be above 165 degrees and it will be dry to the touch with no juices left.
This type of burger isn’t for everyone because the lack of juices can make it less flavorful and harder to eat.
Does Lower Quality Beef Still Have Pink In the Middle?
You only want to see pink in the middle of a burger if it’s high-quality meat.
If you’re using lower quality beef, it’s likely that the burger will be more gray than pink even if it’s cooked rare.
This is because there is less myoglobin in the lower quality beef which means it won’t turn pink when exposed to oxygen.
So, if you see a burger that is pink in the middle and it’s made with lower quality beef, it’s likely not safe to eat and can cause food poisoning.
Eating a Burger With Pink in the Middle
It is safe to eat a burger with pink in the middle as long as the meat has been properly cooked. The best way to know if a burger is cooked all the way through is to use a digital food thermometer. You can learn how to cook a burger with different doneness temps in order to get your desired consistency.
Frequently Asked Questions on Burger Pink In Middle-Is It Safe to Eat?
How Pink is Too Pink for a Burger?
If the inside of your burger is still mushy like it was when it came in the package then it is too pink to eat. You want the middle of the burger to have a little give but still be firm.
What Happens When You Eat a Burger that Isn’t Fully Cooked?
Eating a burger that isn’t fully cooked can lead to food poisoning. This is because there are bacteria on the surface of the meat that can only be killed when the burger is cooked all the way through. These bacteria can cause severe stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. In some cases, it can even lead to death.
Daniel Iseli (Head Chef)
Hi, my name is Daniel and I am passionate about cooking. I have been cooking for the past 20 years and am happy to share my best recipes and cooking-related knowledge with you.