Can Ground Beef Be A Little Pink?

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If you cooked your ground beef and the colour did not change completely to brown, you have every reason to wonder if its okay for the beef to be a little pink.

So, Can ground beef be a little pink? Yes, ground beef can be a little pink. The pink colour could be due to the aftermath between the heat and myoglobin that could result in pink or red colour in meat.

For you to be certain that all germs and bacteria are eliminated, your ground beef should be cooked at 160⁰ Fahrenheit (71.2⁰ Celsius) all through. 

However, USDA rates that 88% of ground beef is contaminated with a few cells of Escherichia coli (E.coli), that’s why ground beef has to be well-cooked to prevent the bacteria from spreading.

Ensure it is stored and transported at a proper temperature all through the beef life cycle to maintain a proper outlook and hygiene

With this, it is not advisable to eat ground beef that is not thoroughly cooked. Your ground beef can be a little pink, but you need to be sure that the meat is fresh. Let’s find out more about ground beef and its colour after it’s being cooked in this article. 

Why is ground beef still pink even after reaching 160⁰Fahrenheit?

Your ground beef can be pink after reaching 160⁰ Fahrenheit due to the heat and myoglobin. It could also be due to the existence of some other meals such as ham, veggies, and gammon.

Though gammon and ham contain nitrous acid, veggies such as colewort, broccoli, or carrot can be changed to nitrous acid when cooked. 

This chemical group would restrict ground beef from changing its colour to brown, the heat from your oven (if that’s what you used) could also release a little amount of CO (carbon monoxide), and blend with the ground beef’s myoglobin causing the colour to remain pink. 

How do I know if ground beef is bad?

Most times, when you purchase ground beef, you’d be uncertain if it is good or bad. However, you can know if the ground beef you are purchasing is bad by following a few ways. Below are the ways to know if ground beef is bad;

Examine the ground beef texture

The first way to know if the ground beef is bad is by checking the texture. The texture of the beef you are purchasing matters a lot.

If you should feel the beef with your hands, and feel any slipperiness or adhesiveness, then the ground beef is bad. You shouldn’t purchase or cook that kind of ground beef.

Inspect the colour of the ground beef

When you purchase ground beef, it should look reddish. If it looks brownish before you cook it, then it is dangerous to eat.

Also, after cooking it, the ground beef should turn brown or a bit red, you should take note of these colours listed in your ground beef.

Examine the expiry date 

Ground beef is always packaged just like other food items with the date of production and expiry date included.

Check the expiry date to know if it is still fit to eat as eating expired ground beef can be poisonous and harmful to your health. 

Do a little test with the ground beef

Perhaps you have bought your ground beef for a long period and you want to know if it is bad, you should do a little test on it.

When ground beef is bad, it will smell tangy. If you perceive that kind of smell in your ground beef, you should never eat it.

However, keep in mind that not all bacteria smells, you would know that the beef is bad when the colour and feel the change. 

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Can you eat a hamburger when it is pink?

Of course, you can eat hamburger when it is pink, but not when it is raw. If it is properly cooked at 160⁰ Fahrenheit and it is pink, it is suitable to eat. The pink colour you see in your hamburger is a result of the myoglobin combination with the heat from the oven. 

You should use a food thermometer to check the temperature and not the colour, this is because your ground beef can be brownish and still be undercooked. 


How do I thaw ground beef?

Thawing ground beef isn’t difficult, you just have to go through a few methods. Below are the methods and steps to thaw ground beef.

Method 1: Preservation by cold

Put your ground beef package in the freezer for about 2 to 3 days before you add it to your recipe to thaw. Do the following steps;

Step 1 

With the package on your ground beef, put it in a bowl beneath to stop the water from dripping. 

Step 2

After putting it in a bowl, put it in the fridge.

Method 2: Put In a cold water 

This step is essential for frozen beef, and you can do that with the hot water process;

Step 1

Bring out the ground beef package from the freezer. 

Step 2

Put it in a bowl and pour cold water on it. 

Step 3

Put the bowl on your counter. Ensure you change the water every 40 minutes. 

NB– do not use hot water to thaw ground beef, the heat would stimulate the growth of bacteria.

Method 3: Thaw with a microwave machine 

Using a microwave is faster than the other method provided above. However, for this method, you need to follow are few steps. Below are the steps;

Step 1

Bring out the ground beef from the package.

Step 2

Put the ground in a glass plate and cover it to prevent it from spilling. 

Step 3

Place the plate in the microwave and press the defrost button. 

Step 4

Examine the ground beef continuously to know if it is thawing evenly. 

Can ground beef be undercooked? 

Of course, ground beef can be undercooked, but it is harmful and toxic to eat undercooked beef as there are still bacteria in it.

The USDA (United States department of agriculture) has made it known to everyone that eating undercooked beef can be harmful to health.

For you to safely eat your ground beef, it should be cooked at a temperature of 71.2⁰ Celsius or 160⁰ Fahrenheit.

Also, the colour of the beef after cooking at 160⁰ Fahrenheit shouldn’t be an issue, as your beef can be cooked and be pink. 

It is advisable to get a food thermometer to check the temperature of the beef after cooking as this would make you feel certain your beef is safe to eat. In addition, while getting your ground beef, ensure it is fresh and not stale. 

Is it safe to eat slightly undercooked ground beef?

Yes, it is safe to eat slightly undercooked ground beef only when it is cooked thoroughly. However, you should keep in mind that some slices of meat might take a longer period to cook than the others.

For example, if ground beef takes about 30 minutes to properly cook, it would take pork chops 40 minutes to cook properly. 

Also, the colour of the meat does not indicate that the meat is ready to eat. A ground beef-looking reddish can still be uncooked, and this is why the need for a food thermometer is required as the thermometer would be used to check the degrees of the meat. 

Will a slightly pink hamburger make you sick?

The colour of your hamburger largely depends on how you cook it. If the hamburger is well cooked at 160⁰ Fahrenheit and is slightly pink, it won’t make you sick.

However, if it is not well-cooked, then there’s every tendency that you’d fall sick. If you fall sick due to a hamburger that is not thoroughly cooked, it is a result of the spread of bacteria. 

Cooking the hamburger properly will make it taste good, but an undercooked hamburger will taste sour. Let your hamburger cook even after it looks brownish from the first few minutes. 

Can Ground Beef Be A Little Pink – Conclusion

Having known that your ground beef can be a little pink after it is being cooked, you shouldn’t be so worried about the colour.

The colour of your beef can be so deceiving sometimes, but if you are cooking your ground at the right temperature of 160⁰Fahrenheit you are good to go.

Ensure you do a quick check on your beef before cooking as listed above in this article to be sure that it is safe—no one would want a running stomach as a result of impatience which can be caused by hunger.

Everything you need to know about the colour of your ground beef after and before cooking has been noted in this article, kindly read accordingly to get your answers right.

I hope this article has answered every one of your questions. Please put down your comments in the comment section below.