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Reason.tv: North Carolina Bans Rare Burgers! Nanny of the Month (May 2011)

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May's biggest busybodies are taking it to poker players and teen tanners, but the nation's top nag has lovers of pink-in-the-middle burgers seeing red.

In a stunning blow to all that is juicy and delicious, the Tar Heel state actually prohibits restaurants from serving rare or medium-rare hamburgers. (And if this crime against meat freedom seems especially un-American, keep in mind that it comes from the same state that once banned Old Glory at public rallies.)

Presenting Reason.tv's Nanny of the Month for May 2011: Terry Pierce of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources!

Approximately 95 seconds.

"Nanny of the Month" is written and produced by Ted Balaker. Opening animation by Meredith Bragg.

Go here to watch previous Nanny of the Month episodes.

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  1. How do they determine whether a burger is medium rare? By temperature? By color? By declaration?

    1. If’s it’s dry, tasteless, and shitty, then it’s medium or well done. Problem solved!

      1. I fear this test may fatten up the inspectors.

    2. The regulation dictates all ground beef is to be cooked to an internal temperature of 155?F.

      Personally, I like my burgers done, but I also make sure the fat content of the meat is high enough to handle that. This low-fat fad the government is pushing is hurting people’s health and I want no part of it. Nor do I want any part of telling people how they have to eat their food.

      1. Maybe one of those cook-it-yourself chains could crop up in North Carolina. Customers/cooks would see stern warnings about undercooking their hamburgers at the grill, naturally.

        1. Naturally! Gawd.

          As one who has lost a lot of weight and health problems by following a paleolithic diet (plenty of fatty meat, high-fiber veggies and nuts, less dairy and fruit, and very little grain) choice of how I cook my meat is near and dear to my heart.

      2. This is about what my approach to burgers comes down to. I like a good rare steak, but rare ground beef has never been too appealing to me. Though if it is very lean and you cook it until grey in the middle, it is pretty much inedible.

    3. They have a ‘Pink Eye.’

      I’ll be here all week folks.

  2. California only allows burgers to be served well done. It is the grinding of the meat that deposits bacteria throughout instead of only on the surface like a steak.

    1. When I make my own burgers from steak, I first sear the outside of the steak and *then* grind the meat, form it into burgers, and put them back on the grill. This way I can have rare burgers safely.

      1. That’s just excessive, dude. The fear of rare/raw meat is so overblown as to be ridiculous. I make steak tartare and have had no issues, ever.

        1. Yeah, more Mom Panic? — I got some sort of food poisoning after eating a rare burger at a nice beer joint and simply up-gunned to medium-rare the next time I ate a burger there.

          1. when it doubt, blame it on a vagina? ? ?

            1. I grew up with my burgers cooked to a rock-hard, black crust and a dry, crumbly center.

            2. Wow, Rather. Put the double-edged spatula down. Most people don’t think of “Mom” as “a vagina”, they think of her as the often irritating individual that made you wear a sweater whenever she was cold.

              1. Mom Panic? = blame it on a vagina? ? ?

                https://reason.com/archives/201…..nt_2313306

                Men can’t help it. Poor little Joan’s BBQ anniversary was last week; it must be her witches’ curse

        2. It takes basically no extra time because you want to grind the meat immediately before putting it on the grill, anyway. It’s not like I have to set up the grill twice. I learned this trick from another dude who makes the tastiest burgers I’ve ever had and is not at all opposed to raw food: he just recognizes that his meat sources aren’t pristine, that it’s not much extra work, and that the small extra effort can’t possibly hurt.

          My approach would be different if I were to slaughter the animal immediately before making the hamburger: in that case there would be no time for bacteria to establish themselves. But no one does this: I, like most people, buy meat that has been sitting around for a while because it comes in smaller quantities and in packaging more convenient than rawhide. Raw meat from a recently-killed animal is fine, but raw meat from something that was killed days or even weeks ago is not the same thing.

          At any rate, you should feel free to do whatever you want: the state should not get involved. I think most of us can agree on that.

          1. I say just build up an immunity to E. coli and other food-borne diseases.

            1. Thats the kind of proactive go-getter attitude I like to see. You’re hired!

              1. What doesn’t kill me rewards my taste buds.

        3. Episiarch|5.26.11 @ 3:11PM|#
          I can’t even get anywhere but steak houses and very good restaurants to give me a “rare” burger or steak. Well, sometimes the steak will end up medium rare. But even though I say “I want it rare. I mean bloody”, they just ignore you and overcook it.

          That’s why I just do it myself. Or make steak tartare instead.

          1. In Europe they do it right-rare. At least in France and Italy they do.

            1. Yep — my French pals would insist on sniffing the raw slab of beef before deciding on whether to order it or not!

      2. When I make my own burgers from steak

        Why would you degrade a good steak by grinding it up?

        The whole point of hamburger is to make really tough cuts of beef easier to eat by effectively doing the chewing for you, and perhaps adding fat to make it tastier.

      3. [ I first sear the outside of the steak and *then* grind the meat]

        Which accomplishes….nothing.
        E coli uses mixed-acid fermentation in an anerobic condidition. Unless your searing heats the middle of your steak to 250 degrees the e coli continue to smile, only later to attack your colon.

        1. E-coli does not “live” in the meat, but it can contaminate the exterior of meat during the butchering process. Searing the meat would kill it– which is why hamburger has different regulations surrounding its preparation than steak.

        2. E. coli already lives in your colon. It does not live in muscle, but it can be transferred to the surface by fecal contamination. 250? is totally unnecessary; 155?F will kill most pathogenic microbes.

          1. Ummm…that’s just completely incorrect

            1. Sorry, that was referring to Harvard’s comments!

    2. California only allows well-done burgers? Is that true?

      Man, nothin’ is worse than over-cooked beef.

      1. How about overcooked tofu? Or any tofu for that matter?

        1. Tofu is OK if you can’t tell it is there.

      2. Overcooked squid is worse than overcooked beef. Seafood in general is pretty bad overcooked. I might even go so far as to say that overcooked chicken is worse than overcooked ground beef (though overcooking a quality steak or roast is an absolute travesty).

    3. The other problem with rare burgers is that, unlike steak, a chunk of hamburger can come from a bunch of cows, greatly increasing the odds that one or more of them has nasty bacteria on it.

      That doesn’t justify banning people from eating rare burgers if they want it, though.

    4. Are you sure? Whenever I order a burger from a sit-down, I always order it Medium. And I live in LA, no less.

    5. But this wasn’t a problem until about 15 years ago. Handling of ground beef is not as cautious as it use to be.

  3. OK these dudes really seem to know what the deal is. Wow.

    http://www.privacy-web.no.tc

  4. I’ve lived in NC for 15 years and the law predates my arrival. I thought this award was for something new?

    NC burger laws aren’t half as bad as the state’s laws concerning municipalities annexing surrounding areas. A city government that you can’t even vote for (until after the fact) can annex your property with zero input from you, in the process doubling your taxes (county becomes county + city).

    1. You are correct that the law was passed circa 1993, though I suppose there’s no statute of limitations for being a nanny. Maybe it was a slow month?

      1. Exactly my thought.

        If you click through to the article, the news is that North Carolina is considering legalizing the medium-rare and rare burger.

        1. I did see that. It just seemed odd to me that a law that has been on the books for close to 2 decades (and now has some possibility of repeal) would just now get the nanny award.

  5. You can have my cold, dead meat . . .

    No, wait, let me work on that a little more.

    1. No honey, cold and dead sounds right. 🙁

  6. Just fucking get it over with and just ban anything that tastes good.

  7. Well, fuck… Looks like I need a new line of work. I mean, who wants to steal tasteless, burned hockey pucks?

  8. Last night, I had a giant ribeye steak that was completely raw in the middle. Delicious. How sad to be afraid of such a sublime thing.

    1. It isn’t about unground beef.

      1. Fuck off, anonopussy, you passive-aggressive little nothing fuck. I know what it was talking about, and you know damn well that the fucks who are against decent burgers are against raw steaks too, you sniggering little prick.

        1. [you sniggering little prick.]

          That’s almost poetic man.

        2. Here’s the health code section that proves you wrong.

          (3) ground beef and foods containing ground beef shall be cooked to an internal temperature of at
          least 155? F (68? C),

          (5) beef steak shall be cooked to a temperature of 130? F (54? C) unless otherwise ordered by the
          immediate consumer.

          You can order beef steak raw.

          1. The point isn’t whether you can or can’t order beef steak raw, it’s that most certainly, the nanny-state food-fascists would like to ban any and all ‘undercooked’ foods. He wasn’t saying ‘you can’t’.

            1. “and you know damn well that the fucks who are against decent burgers are against raw steaks too, you sniggering little prick.”

              The “Fucks” against “decent” burgers are the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Those fucks have no qualm with you ordering a raw steak at a restaurant.

              1. Give them time, shitstain. Way to be even more annoying than anonopussy, by the way.

                1. Accuracy with regards to facts is annoying when it makes you wrong.

                  1. “Accuracy with regards to facts is annoying when it makes you wrong.”

                    Reading comprehension is hard!

                2. Wrong on the internet? Get really pissed about it!

                  /brotip

            2. At first, they just came for the hamburgurs. But I didn’t say anything, because hamburgurs were ground beef… I remember that mattering for some reason…

            3. Na, just wanna ban the ones that actually kill you…

        3. In Canada they once wanted to ban parmiggiano-reggiano cheese (not the fake Kraft ‘Parmesan’ crap. By the way, if you want REAL PR you look for the actual name. If the ingredients say, ‘Parmesan’ chances are it’s fake and shitty) because it didn’t meet their ‘standards’ of how to make fucking cheese. That and the fact they were probably supporting the massive dairy special interest lobby.

          This was back in the mid-90s. Thankfully nothing came of it but they tried and will likely try again.

    2. Last night was the first time I ever grilled filet mignon. I had never tried to grill it before and was nervous about overcooking using charcoal. I rotated the meat about ever two-three minutes about 8-ten times total. I thought I left it on longer than needed, but it turned out to be the most evenly-cooked medium-rare I’ve ever done. Fucking delicious.

      1. Next time, try getting a full beef tenderloin and grill it whole. Amazing.

        1. I did that last week, actually. You’re right. Absolutely delicious, considering the price.

  9. Don’t you dare try to take away the ability of the precious NY jailbait to meet their maximum jailbaity potential by banning tanning beds…

    I like my jailbait like i like my burgers, caramel on the outside with a nice pink center.

    1. It’s easier to just date girls whose natural skin melanin levels don’t require tanning.

      Plus ethnic girls tend to be hotter than white chicks.

      1. Plus ethnic girls tend to be hotter than white chicks.

        Do you mean in terms of surface temperature? That actually makes since since darker surfaces absorb more heat. I wonder if albinos are hypothermic?

        1. Hey genius, you mean “….makes cents sense darker….”.

    2. It’s pretty funny how 17-19 year-old girls (and especially, from my experience, extremely attractive ones) defer to your judgment and charm consistently when you’re in your mid-20s, like I am. Fun, fun, fun. Lolololol.

  10. What I don’t understand is why the warnings that appear on many menus about the dangers of raw or undercooked meat aren’t good enough. If you have been informed of the potential dangers and you choose to proceed anyway, why is that someone else’s problem? (yeah, I know)

    1. So, wait a fucking second. In the back ground I see some sort of cooking guidelines that say something that looks like “pork… must be cooked to 66?C”
      Then below it “ground beef… must be cooked to 68?C”

      So NC is bringing the full-retard with their weird pork BBQ fetish too?

      1. Them’s fightin’ words. You can barbecue beef. With barbecue sauce. *On* a barbecue, even. But if you want to *eat* barbecue, it’s gotta be pork.

        1. You can keep your east-coast ketchup. I’ll take my beef ribs smoked and rubbed, thanks.

          1. Pretty much just proven you’ve never had NC q. Only sauce is spiced vinegar.

            1. Except for the part where I did live there for six months, I’ve never ever been there or tried their BBQ.
              And you’re out of your mind if you think there’s not ketchup-based Q used frequently out there.

            2. Except for the part where I did live there for six months, I’ve never ever been there or tried their BBQ.
              And you’re out of your mind if you think there’s not ketchup-based Q used frequently out there.

  11. This is indeed old news.

    But the part of the law you missed is that establishments that grind their own meat can still serve medium/rare burgers. This law only covers those that ship their burger meat in pre-ground.

    I believe. I have had medium rare burgers in NC since ’93. Perhaps they were just rogue grills.

  12. As someone who works in Charlotte, I was under the same impression as the author of the article linked here, that burgers had to be cooked med-well or more IF it wasn’t ground fresh in-house. In fact I was ordering medium-rare burgers at a place down the street every week until the article came out and suddenly it had to be med-rare, so even if the law was on the books it seems like it wasn’t being enforced too strictly.

  13. VA has been pussified for years. Walk in and it only can be done medium or worse.

  14. Once they banned smoking in restaurants, I very seldom go out to eat. I’ll only go out to a place to drink beer if they have an outdoor section that caters to my sinful lifestyle of smoking, eating shitty food, and talking insane politics.

    nanny-state fuck off

  15. Many chain restaurants have refused to cook burgers rare or medium rare for years. Due to their lawyers advice.

  16. NJ banned eggs ‘sunny side up’ some years ago.

  17. Oh, thanks so much for Eye-Opening Screed Against The Nanny State #758582. Between this one and the one complaining about licensing cab drivers, you guys are really giving the Koch brothers their money’s worth. Bravo.

    I’d just like to ask when for Reason plans to start complaining about that creepy nanny-state-advocating fuck Rand Paul.

    You know who Rand Paul is, right? He advertises on banners here at Reason, is cool with segregated lunch counters, wears a hedgehog on his head?

    He’d also like to jail attendees of political speech. c.f.: on Hannity:

    http://thinkprogress.org/polit…..ze-speech/

    “But if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that’s really an offense that we should be going after ? they should be deported or put in prison.”

    Ha ha. Look at the libertard shut-ins give a platform to a fucking authoritarian asshole. And this time, they can’t even hide behind the “free market” when they do it!

    Ha ha.

    1. Rand Paul is a douche tool

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  20. So when 20 people died at Jack-n-the-Box a few years back from undercooked meat that was ok, because at least it tasted good. Come on guys a little common sense please this is like any other health code regulation. They’re not saying you can’t eat a burger, just kill the ecoli first please. Unfortunately the only way is to have the internal meat temp above a certain temp. Btw, you can still have a steak rare its only ground beef. This is like saying they shouldn’t regulate medicine because I should be able to have a little arsenic in my tylenol.

    1. Jack in the box employees were fuckin’ up. It wasn’t like someone said, “can I get a jack in the box burger completely undercooked ‘cos that’s the way I like it”. Most of the CHILDREN that died had no idea how they like their burgers. Problem is, most real chefs know that rare/medium rare is the right way to cook meat. Is a bit different than fast food joints.

  21. Sorry, I’m reading from the bottom up…Harvard was even more incorrect.

  22. ty rights, etc. seem like a more accurate measure of freedom than democracy.

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