Whether you're preparing a potluck picnic or just want to try out some new recipes, it's important to know how long a food item should be stored before it starts to spoil. A grilled hamburger that's left out at room temperature for too long can start to grow bacteria, making it unsafe to eat.
Bacteria is a quick-growing organism that can lead to serious illness, especially when you're pregnant or elderly. That's why it's important to store any perishable food you're planning on eating within two hours of preparing it, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture — and this rule applies to all foods, not just ground beef.
If you're storing cooked hamburger in the refrigerator, it should last for 3 to 4 days. If you're storing it in the freezer, you'll have a longer window of time before it begins to deteriorate.
Once you've seasoned your burgers, chef Gordon Ramsay suggests leaving them out at room temperature for a few minutes before placing them on the grill. This helps them relax and get ready to cook without drying out or turning into raw meat in the middle.
The grayness of a ground beef patty could be an indicator that it's been contaminated with bad bacteria. This can happen if the burger has been left out at room temperature for too long or if it hasn't been cooked to a safe internal temperature (165°F).