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Cooking burgers sous vide, have some questions

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#1 seannymurrs

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 05:42 AM

I'm having some people over for dinner tonight and am planning on cooking some burgers sous vide using my anova. I'm running into some complications due to everyone wanting their burger cooked to a a different degree of doneness. I need some cooked well done, some medium, and some medium rare. I'm going to lay out my plans on how to accomplish this and I'd like some input on whether or not it will work and/or if there's a better way.

 

According to the time tables I've looked at it should take about 75 minutes to cook and pasteurize the well done burgers in 160F water. If I put those in first and then as soon as they're done added some ice to the water to drop the temp down to 145F for the medium burgers and added those in. Those should take another 75 minutes or so to cook and pasteurize to the core. For the medium rare burgers it looks like if I add them during the last 45 minutes of cooking they should be cooked and pasteurized to the core and also relatively close to medium rare temps (may be a little overcooked but close enough). The only possible issue I see with this is the fact that, by the end, the well done burgers will have been in the water for about 2.5 hours. I've never cooked burgers that long sous vide before so am not sure if I'll run into any texture issues.

 

Any thoughts?



#2 rotuts

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 06:15 AM

I dont think 2.5 hours at a high of 160 then down to 145 will give you mushy meat.  it takes a lot longer in my experience, but I have

 

not done ground meat.

 

your ideas are interesting ones, and I hope you can tell us how it works out.

 

one added thought:  it might take some time for the 160 burgers to get to 145, so consider an ice bath for a 

 

few minutes to get them below 145 throughout then back in the 145 bath.

 

just a guess.


Edited by rotuts, 30 May 2014 - 06:18 AM.

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#3 Paul Bacino

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 06:37 AM

For me..you need to sear them after sous vide!!  Just me

 

I'd get them all up to your dsired temp , a little underdone for MR.  So up to 160 quick pasteurize --cool meat .. also  .. cool  water bath to 135 ish as a holdiong temp..   then grill  i spec

 

Then grill or sear them to finished temp.. adding the well first and so forth.

 

My thoughts..only

 

Just throwing it out there


Edited by Paul Bacino, 30 May 2014 - 06:38 AM.

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#4 seannymurrs

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 06:39 AM

For me..you need to sear them after sous vide!!  Just me

 

I'd get them all up to your dsired temp , a little underdone for MR.  So up to 160 quick pasteurize --cool meat .. also  .. cool  water bath to 135 ish as a holdiong temp..   then grill  i spec

 

Then grill or sear them to finished temp.. adding the well first and so forth.

 

My thoughts..only

 

Just throwing it out there

I plan on searing all the burgers after cooking on my cast iron griddle. I left that step out since I knew I'd be doing that regardless. Only stuff I'm not sure about is how to deal with the different cooking temps.



#5 gfweb

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 06:44 AM

I think I'd give them two choices of doneness and cook them traditionally.  Hosting a bunch of people is tough enough without having to compulse over the doneness of burgers.

 

If you do do it SV, I'd do a practice run first to make sure you like it.

 

And definitely sear.



#6 rotuts

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 06:47 AM

I view this as a technically interesting problem.  not so much an interesting  Sur la Plate sort of thing.

 

but id like to hear back.



#7 gfweb

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 06:51 AM

I view this as a technically interesting problem.  not so much an interesting  Sur la Plate sort of thing.

 

but id like to hear back.

Yup.

I bet MC has something to say on this issue.



#8 rotuts

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 06:52 AM

a P.S.:

 

My guess its going to be very difficult to get a med rare burger SV w an added sear  ( both sides ? ) unless you chill that burger 

 

way way down first.

 

look forward to hearing differently.



#9 KennethT

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 06:53 AM

I've you've got the time, you can cook/chill the well done and medium burgers several days in advance (or the morning of). I would probably even precook the med-rare ones since I would chill it a bit before searing so it doesn't overcook (depending on how thick of a crust you're looking to get). Just retherm the chilled ones to a warm core temp before searing so they're not cold in the middle.
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#10 seannymurrs

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 06:56 AM

I've you've got the time, you can cook/chill the well done and medium burgers several days in advance (or the morning of). I would probably even precook the med-rare ones since I would chill it a bit before searing so it doesn't overcook (depending on how thick of a crust you're looking to get). Just retherm the chilled ones to a warm core temp before searing so they're not cold in the middle.

Not sure if I'll have time since the dinner is tonight. If I am able to go this route what temp should I warm the burgers up to before searing? Lower than 134-138?



#11 basquecook

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:00 AM

can you talk about the meat a little more.. what sized patties.  also what is the point of sous vide'ing a burger.. what are you hoping to achieve. 


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#12 gfweb

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:09 AM

Pre-sear I'd warm them to a pleasant serving temp that is below the desired doneness.  Done right, the sear will be real hot & quick and won't have much chance to warm the innards. 115 to 120?



#13 paulraphael

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:27 AM

Here's an idea. Limit it to medium-rare and medium-well. No one really know what they're talking about with their meat preferences, anyway. Restaurants know this ... 9 out of 10 medium rare burgers I've ever ordered came back the same shade of gray.

 

Make the the medium-rare burgers thick, like 1-1/4 inch. Make the medium-well ones more like 3/4 inch. 

 

Cook them all about 30-45 minutes in 56-57°C bath, or whatever you like most. 

 

Sear the thick burgers in a blazing hot pan, with a lot of oil. About a minute per side. For the thin burgers, let the pan come down to more conventional temperatures and sear them more like 3 minutes per side. Flip the thin ones every 20 or 30 seconds. This will heat them through more evenly without burning the crust.

 

To make the medium-rare burgers even more perfect, you can chill for a minute in an ice water bath right before searing. But I don't find this to be too critical. Even without they won't have much of an overcooked gradient.

 

I think if you do this you'll get all the pink out of the thin burgers, and the thick ones will pretty close to perfect, all with minimal fuss.

 

But you should force people to try a medium rare burger. Is it just pink aversion? If anyone's actually immune-compromised you can pasteurize the burgers by holding at 56C for an additional 70 minutes.


Edited by paulraphael, 30 May 2014 - 07:29 AM.

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#14 gfweb

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:43 AM

MC@H says SV at 129C for 45min then deep fry for a minute or two to get a crust.

 

So there's that.

 

 

RE pink aversion. We have a group over every year and one person insists on having burgers that are well-well done. It is the color for sure with her. My mother was the same. Hockey puck burgers.


Edited by gfweb, 30 May 2014 - 07:46 AM.


#15 paulraphael

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:58 AM

Isn't there some myoglobin-activating enzyme you could add to ground meat that would turn it the nasty gray people like so much, without wrecking the flavor and texture? 

 

You could also pass out sunglasses with just the right cyan tint to neutralize the pink.


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#16 gfweb

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 08:02 AM

You could let it oxidize and turn gray. Cold fridge with a thin layer of ground beef left open for a day or two would do it.

 

Interestingly, I've found ground pork never turns gray, no matter how old it is.



#17 rotuts

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 08:26 AM

""   the flavor and texture  ""

 

let 'em have it their way if possible, and dont worry about it.  tastes differ. liver ? any way except Pate ? not for

 

me.

 

i like burgers w a crust, some bearnaise or hollandaise or bordelaise or any onther  ...aise on it .

 

And 'bleu' in the middle.  still wiggling.

 

wont claim its the 'best burger' but it suits me


Edited by rotuts, 30 May 2014 - 08:38 AM.


#18 paulraphael

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 08:30 AM

The point of a sous-vide burger is that it's probably the only way to cook a burger perfectly. The OP's dilemma is that half his guest want burgers that are cooked poorly, and to different degrees. Sadly, it's a pretty common one.



#19 rotuts

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 08:33 AM

"""    it's probably the only way to cook a burger perfectly  """

 

perhaps.  Id agree on a whole cut of meat w the proper 'finish' and sauce

 

as its a 'mince'  perfect is up to the Eater.  anyway you like it is good.  w the sauce, "Special' or " ...aise "

 

anyway I can see SV as a do ahead method in quantity, with a quick finish on a very hot grill.

 

Especially for a very thick burger.


Edited by rotuts, 30 May 2014 - 08:40 AM.


#20 basquecook

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 08:53 AM

The point of a sous-vide burger is that it's probably the only way to cook a burger perfectly. T

 

Perfectly, meaning, for those without the proper cooking skills?   I don't what perfect means to you.. when you say perfectly, i am assuming you mean evenly.  but not necessarily providing the best results flavor or texture wise.  


Edited by basquecook, 30 May 2014 - 08:54 AM.

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#21 rotuts

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 08:56 AM

""   evenly  ""

 

exactly.  esp. really thick burgers, made w $$$$ ingredients.



#22 basquecook

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 09:05 AM

i am so interested in this as I just think a lot of this comes from lack of basic skills. (obviously not the posters, i am not saying that at all)  Being able to cook meat at a proper temperature is like a corner stone of cooking..   I love the experimentation of cooking but, I just am concerned a lot of this experimentation comes without getting down the basics.. But, really, who gives a shit what i think.. I am fascinated by this and would love to see photos and follow the whole entire process if the original poster would indulge us.. I would also love if he would do a control test and just serve a proper cooked burger the traditional way to compare the two.. 

 

But please, if you can post photos of the process that would be great. 

 

I should also mention I have had one of those Poly Science immersion circulators for about 10 years. 


Edited by basquecook, 30 May 2014 - 09:08 AM.

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#23 btbyrd

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 09:06 AM

A burger cooked sous vide and then deep fried is a thing of beauty.

 

 

The idea that there's a perfect way to cook a burger is silly. There are many different ways to do it well, and you can produce excellent results with various techniques. Thick burgers cooked over a wood fire grill? Awesome. Thin patties seared on a plancha? Yes please. Stuffed with butter and cooked on a nice charcoal or gas grill? Mmhmm. Cooked by the fires of hell under a screaming hot broiler? Delicious. These will all deliver different results and what is better or worse is a matter of individual preference.

 

I cook sous vide a lot. And by "a lot" I mean almost every protein I get my hands on (and I eat a lot of meat). I love the technique. But you know what? There are times when what I want - what I really want to eat - is a steak that has a thermal gradient and isn't uniform in color and doneness all the way through. The same is true with thicker burgers. Sometimes what I really want is a burger that goes from a nice char on the outside through medium/well and all the way down to rare in the center. Why? Because it's delicious, the texture is great, and it lets me experience the full spectrum of beef.

 

Other times I don't want that. What's "perfect" depends on your preferences.

 

I'd say the main advantage of a SV burger is consistency and precision. For inexperienced cooks/grillmasters, it can be difficult to tell when burgers are at the desired level of doneness. It's not easy to cook burgers for a large group of people who all have different desires. With SV, you can be sure that everyone's burger is cooked as they like it. Every. Single. Time.


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#24 paulraphael

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 09:06 AM

By perfect, I mean evenly. But more importantly I mean avoiding overcooked edges. I've come close in a skillet, but even the best conventionally cooked medium-rare burgers will have a significant portion of meat that goes from medium to beyond well-done.

 

Some people say they like a variety of textures. I get that. But I don't believe anyone honestly wants that variety to include completely dried-out and flavorless. 180°F ground beef = destroyed. 

 

With sous-vide, you can have your ideal level of doneness from edge to edge. Or if you want a gradient from, say, bright pink to slightly pink, you can easily create that too. And then you can put a killer crust on it, by your way of choice. You can smoke it, if you want, or deep fry, sauté, or finish on a grill for grilled flavors. No compromises.

 

Another benefit: you can safely serve medium-rare burgers to immune compromised people. Just cook them long enough to pasteurize. It ads just over an hour to the unattended cooking time.


Edited by paulraphael, 30 May 2014 - 09:16 AM.


#25 rotuts

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 09:20 AM

""   you can safely serve medium-rare burgers to immune compromised people  ""

 

130 F

 

excellent point



#26 basquecook

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 09:22 AM

even the best conventionally cooked medium-rare burgers will have a significant portion of meat that goes from medium to beyond well-done.

 

 

 

Ok, so this is where we disagree.  and this is where, proper cooking skills come in to play. 


Edited by basquecook, 30 May 2014 - 09:23 AM.

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#27 btbyrd

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 09:27 AM

A couple tips to the OP:

Don't pre-salt your meat when grinding or forming patties. If you do, you end up running the risk of having a sausage texture (which is nice on meatballs, but not so much for a burger).

If you're not going to cook in Ziplocks, form your burgers and then par freeze them on a sheet pan lined with parchment or a silpat before vacuum packing. This will keep your burgers from getting squashed. Otherwise, use Ziplocks and the displacement method to seal.

You don't need oil or butter in the bag.

You may want to keep a torch handy to touch up the sides of the burgers if you're going to sear on a griddle. You can get a nice crust on the top and bottom, but the sides won't be as nice. That's a place where a deep or shallow fry has an advantage.

 

Dave Arnold's preferred method seems to be a deep-fry pre-sear, into the bath, then a final sear on top of charcoal to refresh the crust and add flavor. Here's his take on the patty melt, as well as his "burger of the future", which both use this process.


Edited by btbyrd, 30 May 2014 - 09:38 AM.


#28 paulraphael

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 09:28 AM

Ok, so this is where we disagree.  and this is where, proper cooking skills come in to play. 

 

You may be disagreeing with me on how much overcooked meat constitutes "a significant portion." But I can promise that with SV, or other low delta-t cooking methods, that portion will be much, much smaller.

 

Good technique when cooking with high heat can reduce the gradient only so much. It's ultimately a matter of physics.



#29 paulraphael

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 09:39 AM

Here's an example of SV burgers really shining. Last weekend some friends were grilling in the yard and we all brought stuff over. I've often brought burgers to this kind of thing, because I love grinding my own meat blends and making something special. But in a social grilling setting, the burgers often don't get cooked well. I'm there to hang out with friends and drink beers, not to commandeer a grill and play mr. chef. So the the cooking is a crapshoot. Especially on charcoal, which can probably give the best results, but is also harder to control, especially when you're not in charge (and don't want to be).

 

Last weekend I made the burgers as I always do, but then cooked them sous-vide and chilled in an ice bath. I brought them over in an insulated bag just like I would with raw burgers. When it came time to cook, I dried them off, and asked my host to clear off a section of the grill that I could make extra hot. In about 4 minutes they were nicely browned, with grill marks, and while they cooked more while browning than I thought was ideal, they were still pink from edge to edge. They were honestly the best burgers I've ever had that came off a grill, and this was my first attempt at combining the two processes.

 

It's only going to get better with some practice. 



#30 basquecook

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 09:44 AM

Here's an example of SV burgers really shining. Last weekend some friends were grilling in the yard and we all brought stuff over. I've often brought burgers to this kind of thing, because I love grinding my own meat blends and making something special. But in a social grilling setting, the burgers often don't get cooked well. I'm there to hang out with friends and drink beers, not to commandeer a grill and play mr. chef. So the the cooking is a crapshoot. Especially on charcoal, which can probably give the best results, but is also harder to control, especially when you're not in charge (and don't want to be).

 

Last weekend I made the burgers as I always do, but then cooked them sous-vide and chilled in an ice bath. I brought them over in an insulated bag just like I would with raw burgers. When it came time to cook, I dried them off, and asked my host to clear off a section of the grill that I could make extra hot. In about 4 minutes they were nicely browned, with grill marks, and while they cooked more while browning than I thought was ideal, they were still pink from edge to edge. They were honestly the best burgers I've ever had that came off a grill, and this was my first attempt at combining the two processes.

 

It's only going to get better with some practice. 

 

 

all your  telling me in this story is, you don't know how to grill a burger.  

 

i use sous vide when frying chicken for over 12 people... I sous vide the chicken to proper temp and then crispy the skin... I get it, i understand... it takes 12 minutes to fry chicken and I can't fry chicken for 100 people properly without sous vide.. But, when you are talking about grilling burger for 4 or 6 people, i don't understand.  If you were grilling burgers for 20 people who all needed to eat at the exact same time and you didn't feel like breaking a sweat, i could see your point. 


Edited by basquecook, 30 May 2014 - 09:48 AM.

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