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Anonymous Modernist 317

[Modernist Cuisine] Cook the Perfect Hamburger Sous Vide (3•86)

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Hi All:

I did most of this last night. I Sous Vide for 1 hour at 135F and then deep fried at 190C ( as that is the hottest my deep fryer would go) for 1 minute. I did not have any liquid nitrogen so missed that out. But the burger was dry and more like medium not what I was expecting.

So what was the biggest mistake:
 

  1. 2 more degrees in the Sous Vide ' cannot believe that
  2. Not using liquid nitrogen ' hmmm unsure
  3. Not having the oil hot enough - 232C must be close to flash point

Thanks for your help. The outside crunch was great and 240g of burger seemed light and tastey (it was my own grind) which was a win. Just a bit dry.

Cheers
Drew

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It seems to me that 135F is going to be medium. I wouldn't go above 131F (55C), or even lower (52C) if you like it on the rare side.

Second, the grinding technique is apparently important. See MC 3-234. And don't vacuum seal (or use a very low setting) -- instead use a ziploc bag and the Archimedes principle to avoid compressing the burger.

If you don't have any liquid nitrogen, you could try dunking the bag with the burger in a bath of alcohol (cheap vodka) and dry ice. If you don't pre-chill the meat, deep frying it is probably going to overcook it, depending on the thickness.

But all of this sort of contravenes the precision of sous vide cooking at a specific temperature. How much nitrogen, for how long, how thick were the burgers, how hot was the oil,and for how long???

Is it necessary to chill the burger to 0F, -30F, -60F, or all the way down to liquid nitrogen temperature? Who knows!

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Drew Thompson said:

Not using liquid nitrogen ' hmmm unsure

Definitely try chilling the burger before deep frying. I've cooked burgers this way a couple of times and always put them in an ice bath then the fridge after cooking sous vide. Deep fry straight from the fridge at 375 (highest my fryer goes) usually for 2-3 minutes as 1 minute left the centre a little cold. No issues with over cooking.

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I've never had a problem deep frying the burgers, even straight out of the sous vide machine. I like to coat my burger patties in brown sugar before frying (or even before cooking sous vide), and it helps develop a wonderful crust when you fry. I only fry at 375 for 30-60 seconds and I never have a problem with overcooking (I also make thick burgers).

My best guess is that you may not have enough fat in your burger - that would explain the dryness. I prefer burgers with 15-18% fat content. They stay jucier and more tender.


Scott Heimendinger

Director of Applied Research for Modernist Cuisine

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I've done this 3 or 4 times now. No liquid Nitro; just pat dry and fry at about 220-225. They are, indeed, about medium, but not dry at all. I used medium level of fat meat. The two times I had guests I had very sincere "best burger they ever had" and one of the guests (Mother in Law of all things) who "doesn't like" burgers attacked it with gusto.

I'd love to try it with liquid nitro but not only do I have no idea where to source it locally, I have nothing to store it in.

PK

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Hi Paul, read the Liquid Nitrogen Primer at Cooking Issues. It will tell you what the best bet is for ordering your LN2. I know where to source LN2 (I am in Melbourne, Australia) … but the real question is what I am going to do with all that stuff. I am a hobby cook, cooking from my home. LN2 is a little bit extravagant. If I had a restaurant, or if I was as rich as Nathan, then perhaps …

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I will be making the perfect sous vide hamburger this weekend at the Madison, WI makerspace. They have access to liquid N2, and always appreciate food. I will be making other MC inspired dishes and will report back on the results of our "food hacking saturday".

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On saturday we made 40 hamburgers this way. Time ran longer than i had hoped and the burgers cooked at 135 F for 2 hrs but were even more tender due to the extra time. They were placed in a portable cylidrical water cooler that i usually store water in while camping that had several inches of liquid nitrogen in it. At first we chilled them for 60 seconds and then deep fried them at 350 F in a deep fryer, but the burgers were cold inside. We then lowered the freezing time to about 15 seconds, and then deep fried them for a minute and a half, until dark brown and they were great. The only down side was they needed salt an i'm not sure that it can be added to the burgers prior to cooking sous vide.

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I do have a chamber vacuume packing machine and I am now trying to bag burgers at different pressures.

Burgers float in a standard 3mil boilable bag 99.3% , at 99.5% bag sinks. At 99.7% it felt as if the burger was compressed some.

Shooting for 54c

cooking 1/2 pound Kobe Beef patties for 2 hours

also trying one with the baggie method.

should be interesting.

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Usually people prefer a looser burger. The baggie should be OK. If you have problems with your back floating you can easily put a couple of stainless spoons at the bottom of the bag to make it sink.

Good luck

Louis-Frederic

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