Shawnee McFarland of The Herald Online (South Carolina) reports that burger lovers will soon be able to order a rare burger like this one cooked at McHale’s on Main Street on Friday. However, burger lovers will be carded to make sure they are at least 18 and asked to read a disclaimer that the restaurant isn’t responsible for illness as a result of eating a rare burger.
Since the mid-1990s, hamburgers in South Carolina have been cooked one way: well done.
But state Rep. Brian White, R-Anderson, couldn’t take it any more.
“I got sick and tired of having a well-done hamburger every time I went somewhere,” said White, who likes his burger medium rare.
Legislators passed White’s bill that would allow residents to have their burgers cooked to less than 155 degrees or “a little less burnt” as White puts it. The bill has yet to be signed by the governor.
If approved, customers over the age of 18 will be able to have their burgers cooked-to-order at restaurants willing to participate. The restaurant must provide written or verbal notice notifying diners that the restaurant can not be held responsible for those eating under-cooked meat.
“If you’re old enough to go die in a war, then you’re old enough to get a hamburger that’s not dry as dirt,” said state Rep. Gary Simrill, R-Rock Hill, a medium-well burger eater who supported the bill.
Ron Mathieu, a manager at McHale’s on Main Street said he prefers his burgers medium-rare and wouldn’t mind giving his customers an option.
“I’m all for it,” he said, adding that very few customers ask for burgers cooked a particular way.
At the White Horse on Camden Avenue, however, it’s a different story.
Even though South Carolina residents haven’t been able to eat a rare burger for more than a decade, White Horse owner, Tom Sacco, said they get frequent requests for burgers left with “a little juice.”
“I’m sure that there’d be a market for it,” Sacco said, adding that he’d be willing to offer the special-made burgers to his customers as long as they met all of the requirements.
Both Mathieu and Sacco, agreed to the age requirement although it forces minors to wait for another luxury. They expressed concern about the bill’s requirement that restaurants serving burgers less than well-done would have to provide a verbal or written disclosure.
“I’d be willing to entertain that as long as I wouldn’t have to spend 10 minutes at every table,” Sacco said.
Rare burgers were banned after the government recommended that all ground beef be cooked to 155 degrees Fahrenheit after a Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak in 1993 that left four children dead and about 600 West Coast residents ill.