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Why can't owners keep their noses out?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Opening night fiasco - burger menu only, got slammed. Burgers were taking longer to cook because they were still frozen in the center (because the GM told me not to pull all the burgers out of the freezer), and customers were complaining, wait staff was frothing at the mouth.

Today, the owner said he talked to a 'chef' last night who was there, and whoever this guy was, told him we should parcook our burgers on the grill (8 oz. sirloin burgers), then finish them in our oven (the famous pizza oven). I told him 1) I didn't feel comfortable with parcooking the burgers, because it would bring the temp into that danger zone of bacteria, and especially with ground beef I didn't want to take the chance; and 2) that I didn't see how we could control either the moistness of the burger, or the doneness, i.e. med. rare, well, etc. cooking them like that. He got all righteous, and said, well we just have to find a way; I've been in business for 35 years, and I know there's a way to do it.

Am I right? Is there a way to do these burgers quicker without compromising health standards? Equipment we have is a good grill, good experienced linesmen who do the 'grid' with burgers, a microwave and this ridiculous pizza oven that's not convection, but something like it, only forced air all around the oven; dries everything out we put in there.

Heeeelllllllppppppp!
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post #2 of 20
I good PC burger should be pulled out of the freezer the evening before use.

If frozen in the middle..you will have a grey-chewy mass.

Perform a test first with your staff..frozen verses defrosted.
When you and your staff are convinced that the defrosted burgers offer a finer texture and flavor, propose this to the GM, with a taste test

When I said to pull the burgers the evening before use, I should have included to defrost them in your fridge
post #3 of 20
Do not listen to him!!!!! That sounds really messed up!! As stated above, take the burgers out the night before so they are defrosted. 8oz. PC burgers will not take that long to cook, even for a well done. Doing it his way is a disaster waiting to happen. And the burgers always end up dry and well done doing it his way.
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Jeromy - I know what partially defrosted burgers look/taste like; I had to go on the orders of the GM who told me not to pull the entire burger inventory, because she didn't think we were going to get that much business our first night.

My problem is now the owner wants to do these parcooked and finished in the oven monstrosities, and I just don't think it's safe. That's the dilemma of the moment.
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post #5 of 20
Hey Marm,

How about doing a taste test between the two for the owner? Ive had that same problem where the owner takes advice from some guy who "says" he's a chef. Sometimes its a waste of breath arguing. Show em the difference between a good burger and the cr** that guy suggested you make. We take our burgers out to defrost with the midnite shift. There is a mini fridge unit near the grill station that they go into. Our customers say we have the best burgers in Jersey!! Don't listen to that crackpot!

Jodi
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


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post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Guys - I KNOW the burgers have to be defrosted; that's not my question; the fact that they weren't was the GM's mistake; I wanted to pull all the cases the night before; she thought we weren't going to get slammed, so told me to pull only three cases.

The question, is about the info the owner got from the doof who told him to parcook and then bake the burgers. My main concern is safety; I don't think it's a particularly healthy idea to cook ground meat to maybe 100, cool it down and then bake it; I think we're asking for all sorts of little nasties. And the last thing this guy needs is to make his customers sick the first week of business!!!

Thanks for all the input!
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post #7 of 20

Refer them back to:

Who poisoned Kobe Bryant?
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #8 of 20
Hello Marmalady....

If your burgers are properly flashed, then chilled within the exceptible time frame, you need not worry to much about the "little nasties" as you put it.

The most important thing I feel is sacrificing quality for quanity.
Your burgers are not meatloaf, baking is for the one or two shoemakers still in our industry.

Stick to your guns, and always side with quality...
post #9 of 20
I agree, I think that if you are careful, there should not be much of a health issue for this, especially if you then re-cook the burgers (which no doubt will end up well-done). It only takes minutes on the grill, and if you lay them out on a sheet pan, they will cool very quickly. Not much time in the danger zone. It really is more a matter of wanting to serve a quality product. Besides, so what if you pull a few too many burgers on one day. It is not like those burgers are going to go bad over a 24 hour time frame, not even a 48 or 72 hour time frame if you keep them wrapped well. If your GM is so gung-ho on this course of action, tell him to get a 2nd opinion from another chef, this time from one he knows.
post #10 of 20
ML - Aren't the days of serving a "rare" burger gone forever? :cry: Rare is my preferred way to eat a burger but I haven't had one in years.

I worked at a concession* in a National Park that is federally inspected. (*Desperation causes people to do strange things in pursuit of employment.) There was no "degree of doneness" offered - the burgers were fully cooked, then held in beef base, griddled for a minute or so on either side, topped with cheese, then served. They were on the thick side so they weren't hockey pucks and holding them in a steam table in beef base seemed to keep some moisture in the burger. The whole time I worked there, I consumed a total of one burger.

Bottom line...precooking burgers seems to be a lose/lose situation. If you cook them to the "acceptable" doneness, then hold them fully cooked, they don't taste good. If you par-cook them, you enter that "bacteria zone" for at least part of the time. If you cook them "to order" they take a while, especially if they're thick. I yearn for uncomplicated, pre-e-coli days.
Food is sex for the stomach.
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Food is sex for the stomach.
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post #11 of 20
Chiff, some restaurants have done away with burgers cooked to doneness, to avoid any health issues, but many still allow people to eat as they desire, not as the government dictates. Most higher end restaurants now display a sign stating that it could be hazardous to your health to eat raw shellfish and meats cooked to less than the government recommendations, this is suppose to offer restaurants a form of protection for allowing the customer to have what they desire.

Again, I truly believe this issue is really only a quality issue and not a health issue. The time the burgers would spend in the temperature danger zone is relatively insignificant. If done properly, I figure about 50+ burgers can be pulled, marked off and chilled again within 30 minutes (more if you are good). That is only 1/8 of the time, allowed by law, in the temp. danger zone. It would be a different story if they marked the burgers off just before service, and let them sit on sheet pans beside the grill all night.
post #12 of 20
Are frozen burgers the norm?

Is there no way to use a fresh product, delivered daily and the unused burgers being frozen by yourself and used another day. If the stock in the freezer gets too big then cut back the fresh until levels are more sensible. Should be fairly easy to juggle things so the small proportion of frozen get used up first then follow on with the fresh. Any fresh left, freeze.

Enlightenment would be much appreciated.

David
"The kitchen is his **** and he the devil in it" -- A Book of Characters
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"The kitchen is his **** and he the devil in it" -- A Book of Characters
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post #13 of 20
Our burgers get shipped in from....darn can't remember where my MIL said.....and are always frozen. I don't think they are any butchers around here and always thought that those places were out west where the cattle is. This is the city. If someone around here said he had fresh beef, I run straight home and check on my dog.

Does anyone know of a cattle farm in Jersey? Ive never heard of one. Everything is shipped in around here.

PS

I do know that you could use ground beef but doesn't that come frozen too? Even if you got it at Restaurant Depot it still may be shipped to them from some where. They have a big freezer section where you can pick your cuts of meat.
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Jodi, check your yellow pages for butchers; I'm sure there are still little local guys where you could get fresh ground beef.

We get Cattleman's 8 oz. sirloin burgers; they're a good product, I don't mind getting them in frozen as we have 0 prep staff right now. One restaurant I worked at actually ground their own, so we had pretty good control from almost the get-go.

I honestly think the owner just focused on the burgers opening night because there were so many other catastrophes that happened that were within his control and he chose to ignore. IE, one line cook who is an experienced grill man, but it was his first night; we do 10 different burgers - how the #*($# was he supposed to know them all? The second line cook thinks he's cock of the walk - is gunning for the open 'chef' position, and introducing himself to everyone as 'the chef'. Already hit on me and one other woman, and is a real loose cannon. The other cook told me he was just grabbing burgers off the grill and throwing them on buns, with no regard for the orders. It was a disaster. I can't believe they're keeping him on, but they think they've found a solution; he's going to be the expeditor - not even in the kitchen, but on the pickup side of the passthrough. So we'll see.

So many problems, so little time!

Thanks for all the replies - at least I have some ammunition when he brings the topic up again.
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post #15 of 20
We parcook the burgers for use at the snack shack on the golf course at the club where I work. And it seems to work. But, it's bigger than 8 oz, we don't get them often but they have to be 10oz or bigger, it's a Hallsmith Sysco thing that's guaranteed ecoli free. I don't know if it's irradiated or what. They grill them in the kitchen, stack them in a square lexan, and drive them out to the shack, where they go right into the fridge. When ordered, the guy throws them on a grill and finishes them. We haven't had one complaint I'm aware of in the three years they've been doing it this way.
It's not Dairy Queen.
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It's not Dairy Queen.
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post #16 of 20
Yellow Pages? Right! Im starting to miss the butcher shops of Brooklyn. :( And the Asian markets.

As for parcooking the burgers....maybe it might actually work. I just don't think the taste will be the same.
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #17 of 20
We occasionally did burger specials at our little takeout place - and the thing that was considered "fast food" had one of the longest cook times on the menu!

We would season the beef, weigh and flatten the burgers as much as possible (to decrease cook time somewhat) - but they were always cooked "to order." Hubby made beautiful rolls for them. They would be served with a slaw and fries. Although they were very good they weren't very fast and ultimately came off the menu. Our customers had become accustomed to a quick turnaround time from order to departure.

The problem with ground beef is that the surface which is where the germs reside, gets mixed up with the internal meat. When you prepare a steak rare (yeah!), you destroy the bacteria on the surface of the meat and it doesn't matter that the internal meat is undercooked. However, when you grind it, you're mixing in that surface meat and if you serve a burger rare, you don't destroy the bacteria which has now wound its way to the center of the burger.

Using the best quality, freshest beef and handling it properly will cut down on problems. Even posted signs, though, may not be able to stave off lawsuits. People find a way around everything. If a burglar hurts him/herself in the process of robbing you, he or she can still sue you. If rare meat doesn't make you sick that little statistic should.
Food is sex for the stomach.
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Food is sex for the stomach.
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post #18 of 20
A big problem with the rare burgers is especially in grocery stores when the meat gets ground it sometimes has ground pork or chicken in it either from the grinder not properly being cleaned or deliberate filling in with other junk.
post #19 of 20
How naive of me to forget that! Thanks for the reminder.
Food is sex for the stomach.
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Food is sex for the stomach.
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post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
I'm just tired of hassling with this guy; it's so obvious that he's not 'owned' the food side of the restaurant like he has the ice cream side. All he wants to do is make ice cream. I'll just go in, do what he wants, and hope the health dept. shuts him down! (To maybe teach him a lesson - not out of vindictiveness)

On the lighter side, re the health dept., yesterday I was in the 'prep/ice cream factory/dishwasher room, and he came charging downstairs white as a ghost, saying 'the health inspector is here - clean up what you can. Now, there were dirty dishes sitting on the ice cream prep table, the dishwasher floor drain was overflowing and there was water on the floor, and the back door was open. I shut the back door, went into the walk-in, and made sure the foodstuffs in the walk in that me and my crew are responsible for were in tiptop shape, everything in its place, labelled and positioned. Took me about 2 minutes; we have it together!

Then went upstairs, and said to the GM - do you know who's here? She looked puzzled, and said, no, who? When I told her the health inspector, she started laughing, and said, 'yeah, he was just here - to get an ice cream!'. I told her the owner was scurrying around the basement, we had a good laugh, and about 5 minutes later, she went down and told him.

So there are some bright sides!
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