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Trying new things in Ann Arbor and already need some help and advice

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    Trying new things in Ann Arbor and already need some help and advice

    I just got Meathead's book and got access to this interesting site. I am looking forward to learning about how to use my new WSM this summer. I am already in trouble with my wife for buying a Thermapen. I told her that I would never make a bad hamburger again. Then I got the Thermapen, diligently measured the temperature to be 120 before pulling them off, and they were completely overdone. Any one know what I did wrong? Is there a trick to using a Thermapen with a hamburger? I suppose that there is so much retained liquid that I should have pulled them when the center was closer to 100 or 110 since the outside must equilibrate very quickly with the hotter outside. I know that I am not supposed to eat rare hamburger - but I have been eating it that way for my whole life and I have not gotten sick yet. If I serve another medium to well done burger to my wife she is going to throw my new Thermapen Mk4 away. Please help.

    I generally don't have trouble like this. Far likelier is reading hotter than it actually is due to putting the probe in the wrong place. Food will keep cooking after you pull it off the grill. How thick are the burgers? How hot is the grill? It could be a case of the outside being hot enough to cook the inside past the point you like them, the solution being to pull at a lower temperature.


      Try flipping the burgers every 30-45 seconds. This will help to keep the outside of the burger from getting too hot and should make for a more uniform doness. Than I think your 120* mark will be fine.

      Also maybe trying a few when the wife is out of the house, so if it doesn't come out right and she doesn't know than it never happened. Could save you a bit of grief.


      • Steve B
        Steve B commented
        Editing a comment
        Dang. Almost forgot.
        Welcome aboard stevey

      Welcome stevey


        If and only if you ground your own hamburger and were confident your grinder was sterile... should you cook hamburgers under 160°. If you ground it yourself you can cook to lower temperatures. I cook my hamburgers to 135°. For older guests and young kids that might not have the ability to fight off unhealthy bacteria I cook to 160°.

        Your Thermapen Mk4 does not lie. If you've checked its accuracy, and that checked out, then your meat was at 120° in the area you inserted the tip of your probe. The place you want to put that tip is extreme dead center of your patty. Insert your probe from the side, not the top. That gives you a better chance of reading the true interior temperature of your meat accurately.

        Welcome to the Pit...👍


          Welcome to fun and learning!


            I've found that properly salted (right before going on the grill), thinner, looser burgers end up tasting better, even when fairly well done. I usually cook mine on cast iron over hot charcoal.

            Also, welcome from the east side! I'm just north of Detroit.


              Welcome from Colorado! The first thing I'd do is check the calibration of your Thermapen using the process they describe on their web site. If anything looks wonky, give their service folks a call. They won't let you down.


                Welcome to The Pit Steve. When seeking help, you need to provide all the info you can:
                What kind of fire - from low to hot and type of grill/smoker.
                How you actually cooked the meat - indirect, direct, rotisserie, reverse sear - whatever.
                Thickness of the meat and what prep did you do for the meat, and, of course, what kind of meat.
                How far from the coals if direct heat.
                How long per side.


                  Welcome from Indiana


                    Welcome aboard!


                      Lots of great advise and comments above! I have one other question. How did you cook the burgers? Did you have them on the indirect side for most of the cook and then sear them, or did you have them over direct heat the entire time? The more you tell us about the process the better advice you will get. And pics next time!!


                        Welcome to the pit stevey! I'm sure forum members will help you get those burgers done right in no time.

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                          did you somehow put it in Celsius? what do you consider "overdone"?


                            Thanks for all of the comments. I cooked it on a Genesis gas grill at 500 degrees F (measured with the dial thermometer in the dome). It was direct cooked. I used pre-made, half inch thick, ground round burgers from the supermarket. I turned them after 5 min. and kept the lid closed for most of the cook. I did use Fahrenheit, not Celsius. I tested the Thermapen in boiling water and it measured exactly 212 degrees.

                            I have since tried again and cooked at a slightly lower temperature (around 400 F) and it worked well. I pulled them at 125 F and they were very nice red centers. I think it was simply too hot when I did my first cook and I did not catch it in time. Thanks all for your suggestions!! I am looking forward to trying a Brisket for July 4th.



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