So this sounds lame, but I have never cooked burgers before. Well my dad came over and since it's my first house I purchased we did the traditional grill out. I bought a charcoal grill and he showed me the ropes etc.

Now I don't have a Meat therm (I did but mine broke), but we cooked it with the grill at about 300 degrees for around 15-20 minutes. Burgers were good and no pink (well maybe very very slightly) in the middle, but thats generally how I like them (Btw is "Medium" aka little pink "technically" safe?)

Anyways i've heard that color is not a good indicator of doneness, but the meat was bought that day and used immediatly (so it was red) and apparently the color not being a good indicator is only valid the the meat has been stored for awhile?

Is this true/untrue? I guess im just a bit paranoid.


  • 1
    I don't know how reliable colour is for verifying that the burger is fully cooked through, but even a little pinkness means they haven't been cooked through. If they haven't been cooked through they can still harbour pathogens that can make you sick. Medium cooked burgers are as safe to eat as the raw meat they were made from.
    – Ross Ridge
    Aug 9, 2015 at 2:24

1 Answer 1


You are correct in saying using color to determine doneness is less reliable in older meat. As the meat is exposed to air, it oxidizes giving it a brownish color. When checking for doneness, people sometimes see this oxidized brown color and mistaken it for being fully cooked through. However, this can occur for fresher meats also.

According to the USDA using color is not recommended to determine the doneness of hamburgers.

Some ground beef may appear to have lost all pink color before it is fully cooked. If raw ground beef is somewhat brown already, it may look fully cooked before it reaches a safe temperature.

In some cases, meat that is already fully cooked can have a persistent pink coloring. This is usually more common in leaner meat.

Some lean ground beef may remain pink at temperatures well above the 160 °F final cooking temperature recommended for consumers.

So it is really recommended that you get a meat thermometer to test the doneness of your burgers in the future.

With all that said, unless you have really thick giant burger patties(10oz +), cooking the burger at 300F for 15-20 minutes should definitely be enough time to insure that the burgers are fully cooked through.

Reference: USDA on Color of Cooked Ground Beef as It Relates to Doneness

  • Yeah they weren't huge. and I haven't gotten sick yet so I guess I'm OK! lol
    – Mercfh
    Aug 10, 2015 at 13:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.