Ground meat must be thoroughly cooked to be absolutely free of E. Coli bacteria. The USDA recommends cooking it to the fail-safe temperature of 160º. George K. York, extension food technologist at the University of California at Davis, points out that the bacteria begin to die at 140º and if you hold food at this temperature for four minutes, all are killed. He advises checking with an accurate instant-read thermometer. Unfortunately, ground meat patties get hard and dry when cooked to an internal temperature of 160º. But if you add crumbs to the raw meat, it will stay moist when safely cooked.
1 pound ground lean beef
1 large egg
1/2 cup minced onion
1/4 cup fine dried bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
About 1/2 teaspoon salt
About 1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 hamburger buns, split and toasted
How to Make It
Mix beef with egg, onion, bread crumbs, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Form into 4 equal patties about 1/2 inch thick.
Place an 11- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat.
When pan is hot, add beef patties and brown on each side, cooking until a thermometer inserted in center of thickest part reads 160° (no pink in the center), 7 to 8 minutes total.
With a spatula, transfer beef patties to buns. Add salt and pepper to taste.