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Cook your turkey burgers and hamburgers the right way

Cook your turkey burgers and hamburgers the right way

If you’re grilling burgers this weekend, remember to use a meat thermometer—and that different temperature rules apply to ground beef and turkey.

Cook ground turkey to at least 165° F, and ground beef to at least 160°F to kill potentially harmful bacteria. An instant-read thermometer like the Taylor Weekend Warrior 806 is a good choice, since that lets you quickly gauge the doneness of all the burgers on your grill.

That’s important since more than half of the raw ground turkey and patty products we recently analyzed contained fecal bacteria, and 90 percent had at least one of the five bacteria that we looked for, including some notorious for causing foodborne illness, like salmonella and staphylococcus aureus. Thorough cooking kills those bugs.

In addition, make sure you cook steaks and other cuts of beef properly, too. Much of the beef sold in grocery stores has been mechanically tenderized, or run through a machine that punctures them with blades or needles to tenderize them. Unfortunately, the process also can drive deadly bacteria from the surface into the center of the meat, where they are harder to kill, increasing the risk for people who eat their beef rare or medium rare.

Finally, remember to place cooked meats on a clean platter, not on the dish that held the raw product. The juices left on the plate from raw meat can spread bacteria to safely cooked food. And once cooked, be sure to keep hot foods hot.

If you decide to buy a new grill, take a look at the results of our gas grill tests and Ratings. Our tests of models include their ability to cook evenly. And see our advice on how to avoid other BBQ blunders.

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