Where's the best place to get hamburgers cooked medium-rare?

I like my beef, especially burgers, with a bit of bloody pink in it. Fast-food restaurants cook every burger the same way, of course: thoroughly. But even at sit-down restaurants, I find they often will refuse to cook a burger rare or medium-rare – safety/liability concerns, apparently. There was a diner called the Egg Platter down the road where I could get a medium-rare burger, but it just went out of business. Where can I go for a burger that screams when I bite it?

Go to Rare, a restaurant on Lexington Ave. in New York. Granted, it’s a long way to go for you to get a burger. But it’ll be worth the trip. Oh, yes.

I can think of two places in Hilton Head where I’ve never had a problem getting a decent medium-rare burger. But I’d rather not post their names, lest they get ratted out.

Is there a Houston’s in your area?

Fuddruckers, if there are any left in Tampa. I know we have one for all of Orlando.
EDIT: Upon looking at the website, that is your closest one! The only remaining FL locations are one in Miami (when there used to be several) and one in Wellington, in Palm Beach County!

Houston’s makes a damn tasty burger too, and they’ll cook it however you want, but they are expensive.

Yeah, Fuddruckers is surprisingly good at actually making your burger the way you want it.

I don’t think I’ve ever actually been refused a medium-rare burger, but I do find that in most places I have to ask for rare in order to get something that’s in the medium-rare to medium range.

It’s a little ways from Tampa, and it won’t be what you are expecting. But if you want a really great bar burger, fresh not frozen, to temp, and with character… I’m sure the 3 Oaks down the road in Ellenton, will satisfy your taste. Don’t tell too many people… it’s a secret.

Outback does a medium rare with no problems.

Slight tangent (sorry) – I’ve never fully understood the reluctance to make a burger medium-rare to rare while most places will cheerfully cook a steak that way. Why the double standard? Is ground beef just naturally of more questionable quality than unground beef (or whatever the term is)? If so, why?

Ditto Fuddruckers (hmmm, a lunch inspiration…) and if there’s a Red Robin by you, they always ask if you want it ‘a little pink, or no pink’. Depending where you go, if you say “pink, mostly pink” they’ll do that.

The problem is with fecal matter contaminating the meat. When you cook a steak, you are searing the outside and killing off any bacteria still residing there. When you grind the steak into hamburger meat before cooking, any contamination is now (more or less) mixed through the product.

Lick’s is a southern Ontario chain that pasteurizes their beef before it is ground. They cook up their burgers with a nice hint of pink in the middle. It’d be a tough day trip for you…

Sounds like something out of The Jungle. How, in the modern process of slaughtering and butchering, does the meat come into contact with fecal matter?

Slaughtering is not a pretty process, and the line speeds are so fast, that sloppy handling has become a problem. A friend’s dad is a bigwig with the state USDA office, and he said recently that things are better overall, and good in some regions while still so-so in others. Pulling the guts out of an animal gives many opportunities for fecal contamination - ask any hunters you know who field-dress deer.

I’m going to add the ubiquitous Good Eats plug here: transcript for the ground beef/hamburger show. If I want a medium rare burger, I never trust restaurants, I make them myself.

I seem to recall - I think it was from Fast Food Nation - that the contamination occurs in processing plants where they process and sell ground beef to freeze and sell.

The idea is that a place that buys beef, and grinds it on site reduces that risk to almost nothing, since the contamination occurs on the production line.

For reasons stated by Cantara, eating medium-rare ground beef is generally not a good idea. When I was working for a large corporate chain, we went out to headquarters, and they showed us (for this purpose) the bacteria levels at the center of a steak. Then then showed us the levels in a steak that had been ground. HUGE difference. That in itself isn’t a too much of a problem (what’s a stomach virus between friends?), but employees not washing their hands are. A little Hepatitas A will ruin anyone’s day.

With that said, whatever someone wants to eat is up to them, just know your risk factors. (I’m sure I get more bacteria in me during certain sex acts than eating a burger, but once again- know your risk factors)

To the OP: For the reasons just mentioned, it is getting harder and harder to find places that will make them. You can’t get one below medium in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and not below mid-well in certain localities. :frowning:

Edited to add:

It does result in a lower overall bacteria count, but there is still the possibilty for disease transmission. Which, according to the numbers I was shown, is not all that rare. [insert rimshot here]

And because Fuddruckers grinds their own hamburger meat on-site, there’s less of a contamination concern than with frozen-then-thawed patties that were ground elsewhere.

Wouldn’t freezing kill the microorganisms?

Nope, all it does is put them in suspended animation.

For a fun experiment, freeze some meat, then take it out and set it on the counter, still wrapped, for 3 days. Make it a week for some psychedelic fun. :smiley:

Not usually. Extreme cold will cause most critters to become dormant and cease reproducing, so any existing bacterial contamination (and there’s always some) won’t get any worse. But once you thaw it out, all of those microbes will revive, and start reproducing again.

Great question- I gave up asking restaurants to do this because they always said they couldn’t. The last place that did this for me was the Agilent Technologies cafeteria in Palo Alto back in 2000- the guy told me he wasn’t supposed to, but he did it anyway.