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Protein Classification

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Burger Chemistry
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Burger Chemistry

Credit: Elliot
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/18244673@N00/408384715
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Ahhh... the perfect burger. Outside, the meat is dark brown and a little crunchy. Inside, it’s juicy and tender. It looks so good you can almost smell the tantalizing aroma and taste the scrumptious flavor.

Amazing But True!

  • Since the 1940s, the hamburger has been an American favorite. Now Americans eat an amazing 14 billion hamburgers a year!
  • How does cooking raw, red ground meat produce such a tasty treat? Chemistry is the answer. Chemistry involves chemical compounds, such as food molecules, and chemical reactions, such as those that take place during cooking.
  • To learn more about burger chemistry, watch this video: http://www.nbclearn.com/chemistrynow/cuecard/52174

Show What You Know

With the link below, explore in depth the chemistry of cooking meat. Then answer the following questions.


  1. What chemical molecules does hamburger meat contain?
  2. Which protein is a major component of hamburger meat? What is its structure?
  3. Why is raw hamburger meat red?
  4. How and why does hamburger meat change color when it is cooked?
  5. If you fry a hamburger in a hot pan or cook it on a grill, the outside of the burger gets dark brown. Explain why. Why doesn’t the burger also get dark brown on the inside?
  6. What gives a hamburger its tantalizing aroma and flavor?
  7. What factors influence how juicy and tender a hamburger is on the inside?
  8. Why is cooking a hamburger a good example of how to recognize chemical reactions?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Elliot; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/18244673@N00/408384715; License: CC BY-NC 3.0


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