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seannymurrs

Cooking burgers sous vide, have some questions

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My previous favorites ca

 

 

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess you've never had a burger cooked s.v. and seared on a grill.

 

Well, no.  The closest that I've come is chicken breast.

 

Are you saying that you disagree with my comment that "Grilling and SV are different, giving different results with different techniques.  I'd not say that grilling would 'never be as good as sous-viding.' They both have the potential to be good, they are just different."

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The best burger in NYC is considered by many to be the Minetta Tavern's Black Label burger.  It is griddled; i.e. cooked in its own fat. That's the result I am looking for when pan-frying and I don't think it can be approached via sous vide.

But, assuming you grind your own meat, you can save the fat/trimmings, render in a pan and fry the trimmings to get nice maillard flavor into the fat - then griddle the SVd burgers using that fat.  I use this method with steak and find the results to be very good.

 

ETA: Granted - this takes much longer than 10 minutes though.. but if you've got the time, I think it's effort well spent.


Edited by KennethT (log)

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Sometimes I'm just looking for a burger in 10 minutes. In that patty above (meat from Jeffrey and ground at home!) I got some nice Maillard, some juicy beef, etc.

I think the most important important things in a burger are the quality and blends of beef and how fresh the grind is. Everything else falls a notch below that.

I've got a chuck and blade roast cut up and ready to grind. I agree freshness and cut/blend are a big factors

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The best burger in NYC is considered by many to be the Minetta Tavern's Black Label burger.  It is griddled; i.e. cooked in its own fat. That's the result I am looking for when pan-frying and I don't think it can be approached via sous vide.

 

But from the article you link:

 

The griddle is not as searing hot as one might assume—the Black Label cooks differently from other blends and produces such a thick crust that it can be difficult to achieve even a rare internal temperature without completely burning the outside when cooking on high heat.

Cooking the burger sous vide first would eliminate the difficulty mentioned here and allow the burger to be cooked on high heat.

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My first SV burger.

 

 

So, did it taste any better than a regular grilled or pan seared burger, or does it just look prettier?  How long did it take to cook?  Would you do it again, i.e., was it worth whatever extra time and effort you put into it?

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So, did it taste any better than a regular grilled or pan seared burger, or does it just look prettier?  How long did it take to cook?  Would you do it again, i.e., was it worth whatever extra time and effort you put into it?

 

It will taste the same. There will be less shrinkage.

 

The texture will be better, especially if you are making thick burgers. 

 

SV gives you a lot more flexibility to control texture. The crust and the interior, (for all meats), are cooked with precise temperature control.

 

Is it worth it?

 

Is it worth it to pay a $1,000 more for wine when the difference is hardly noticeable?

 

dcarch 

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So, did it taste any better than a regular grilled or pan seared burger, or does it just look prettier? How long did it take to cook? Would you do it again, i.e., was it worth whatever extra time and effort you put into it?

It tasted good. Not much extra effort and maybe less than traditional burgers. Less splatter and smoke. The extra time was not a problem. The large margin of error in timing with SV cooking is used to my advantage. Let's me do other things and if my wife is running late it's never been a problem. It what I like most about SV cooking

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I think I'll give this a try. I'm not usually a fan of thick burgers, the exterior crust is my favorite part and thus I generally prefer two thinner patties over one thick patty. But (with a huge thanks to Kerry Beal and Anna N) I now have proper sous vide equipment in addition to the meat grinder I received at Christmas so it might be the right time to try to find the thick burger that changes my mind about my burger preference.

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But from the article you link:

Cooking the burger sous vide first would eliminate the difficulty mentioned here and allow the burger to be cooked on high heat.

True. But the blend for a black label burger is probably "proprietary" and "secret", so I don't have to worry about those problems!

 

Also, I think I like a thinner burger as well.

 

Oh, let's face it - I like all burgers!

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Mitch, we should join forces and do a burger lab. There are some other cuts I want to experiment with. We could also compare cooking methods, or just do to eliminate cooking variables. This would be, you know, for the greater good.

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ok, i am down.. when i get back from my china trip, which i posting here, http://forums.egullet.org/topic/148537-may-2014-china-trip/?p=1970232

 

i will happily do a comparison.. and cook burgers both ways.. maybe even, shutter, deep fry one.  

 

in terms of the bun,  what should i do about that?  i find that using baked buns is highly annoying as when baking bread, there are wildly different textures in the bread.  the outside is dark, the inside has various layers of doneness..  do we still use buns, or is there a way to sous vide bread as well? should i use lettuce wraps or perhaps a crepe  :laugh:   (this is obviously a joke)

 

I for one usually dislike meat that is cooked sous vide.. especially meat that could be cooked medium rare.. biggest example is duck breast which, is probably the most satisfying thing one can do with the least amount of effort.. 

 

but, hey, i am not above experimentation. 


Edited by basquecook (log)

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I for one usually dislike meat that is cooked sous vide.. especially meat that could be cooked medium rare.. biggest example is duck breast which, is probably the most satisfying thing one can do with the least amount of effort.. 

 

I'd suggest identifying the qualities of the meat that you dislike. Forget about how it was cooked, and just consider what you'd like to change. You can almost always design a sous-vide process that will cook the meat exactly the way you like. And then you can do it precisely and repeatably. You may dislike the typical habits of people who cook sous-vide, but those don't represent all the choices available. To illustrate, I bet I could make you a horrible burger by any method!


Edited by paulraphael (log)

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Mitch, we should join forces and do a burger lab. There are some other cuts I want to experiment with. We could also compare cooking methods, or just do to eliminate cooking variables. This would be, you know, for the greater good.

 

 

ok, i am down.. when i get back from my china trip, which i posting here, http://forums.egullet.org/topic/148537-may-2014-china-trip/?p=1970232

 

i will happily do a comparison.. and cook burgers both ways.. maybe even, shutter, deep fry one.  

 

in terms of the bun,  what should i do about that?  i find that using baked buns is highly annoying as when baking bread, there are wildly different textures in the bread.  the outside is dark, the inside has various layers of doneness..  do we still use buns, or is there a way to sous vide bread as well? should i use lettuce wraps or perhaps a crepe  :laugh:   (this is obviously a joke)

 

I for one usually dislike meat that is cooked sous vide.. especially meat that could be cooked medium rare.. biggest example is duck breast which, is probably the most satisfying thing one can do with the least amount of effort.. 

 

but, hey, i am not above experimentation. 

OK guys -we're all in the same general area - let's do it!  

 

I think the classic bun is the Martin's potato roll, but both Minetta ande Rosette (a burger I happen to love) use house-baked brioche.

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"   it tastes dry to me, not juicy and really soulless  "

 

I know what you mean, but I think a lot of it depends on what you're cooking. A sous vide burger or meatball or meat loaf will be super juicy. Same with sausages. Whole muscle cuts can vary widely. SV chicken breasts are not especially juicy in my experience, even when brined beforehand, and their uniform texture can be off putting. (It's great for chicken salad though!) That's not the case for pork chops or most cuts of beef. I've made some of the best fajita meat in of my life by cooking flank steak SV and then finishing it off on the grill; much more juice and flavor than I've had at any restaurant.

 

"especially meat that could be cooked medium rare"

 

One of the really great things about low temp cooking is that you CAN cook things medium rare that you otherwise couldn't. Low temp beef/pork cheeks are killer, as are short ribs. While I do like a traditional braise on these cuts, I much prefer the taste and texture of the SV version.

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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).

 

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

 

Pre-Salt: Pre-salting can give you the perfect texture and cohesion when grinding your own meat. You can either salt the meat overnight and grind the next day, or grind the meat and then salt it. With the latter method you can't salt it until about 30-90 minutes prior to cooking, or you'll get the sausage texture you stated. MC and MCaH as well as a few other websites go over the timings, but I was blown away the first time I used the MCaH pre-salting technique. Zero additional ingredients and perfect patty cohesion. 

 

Oil in Bag - It can help with very coarse ground burgers, since the surface will trap a lot of air bubbles (without the oil to fill the holes) and you can't vacuum seal them. Meat juices will eventually fill the holes, but you may have to increase cooking time to compensate.

 

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.

 

This, this, this, and this one more time. No one is claiming that "best" isn't a matter of taste. But the arguments here sound like many of they nay-sayers to sous vide ribs, to the tune of "I've never had it but there's no way that fancy pants sciencey stuff can out-do a good old fashioned charcoal grill." The bottom line is, if you haven't tried it, you have no idea what you're talking about. 

 

i guess.. i am talking about places in NYC that use sous vide.. and these are like the top tier restaurants around town. 

 

i can identified when it's used and often find it while perfect looking, it tastes dry to me, not juicy and really soulless.  i guess for all the reasons people like it, i don't..  the same reason why i guess people like it, i guess i don't.. i have experimented with it sous vide off an on for 10 years.. i am just not a fan.   it is possible i guess, for a person not to like sous vide. 

 

I absolutely believe someone can dislike sous vide meat, since everything is a matter of taste. But it's a difficult proposition to believe it's due to dryness, unless of course the chef was not experienced in the technique. 

 

To me, what makes a sous vide burger worth the "effort" is that is can in-fact produce a type of burger that is either far more difficult, or impossible to make by other methods (except perhaps with a combi oven). Thick, deeply medium rare ( 57C all the way through, no rare or well-done spots, which to me is far more important with ground beef), and aggressively crusty on the outside. The recipe is straight out of MCaH, and I can understand why it's one of the recipes they talk about in interviews. I have a hard time believing the liquid nitrogen step from MC would make it much better, but I also thought a deep-fried burger was lunacy until I tried it. Now, I have a hard time going back.

 

To the original poster - I use the same method you devised for cooking various temps of meat for one meal. If the meat is super tender or the cook times are really long, I'll chill the higher temp meats while the lower ones cook, then add them all back to the bath for the last 30-60 mins (depending on thickness) to reheat. I hope it worked out for you. The only issue I would have is with the salt breaking down the meat. I'd either have to salt the meat in batches, or cook them all at the lowest temp to stop the break down, then work again in reverse order from hottest to coolest. 

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Not something I've played with but...

 

I would think that another advantage of SV burgers is that you can pasteurize the meat without cooking it to death.  This may or may not be important to you. Probably not if you grind your own meat.  But I doubt you can get a rare or medium rare burger on the grill pasteurized.

 

And what about rendering fat? That will happen to the outside gray zone in conventional grilling but perhaps not as much when you go from browned to pink with nothing between.  But it seems to me that the fat-is-flavour people could make a nice fatty burger with a different mouth-feel and taste by SV to the point the fat is breaking down just the right amount. 

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I have yet to cook a burger sous vide, mostly because of the convenience factor (my own that is), and also, because I rarely cook burgers anyway.  I can tell you that I am not a fan of sous vide steak -- I prefer other methods (scorching hot mineral pan or steamed at 130, then seared) -- but that is all preference -- I simply didn't care for the sous vide steak -- that being the only item I didn't love to do sous vide.  I also think that there is a small trend out there that is implying that if you sous vide, you are simply lazy or unable to do it otherwise, which I disagree with.  At the end of the day, preference and time are what controls.  Sous Vide is part of a huge set of tools to get to what we each determine to be perfect in our own minds and palates -- if someone isn't choosing to use it, they are using other tools -- and there is nothing wrong with that.   But there is also nothing wrong with relying on sous vide.  I am definitely going to make sous vide burgers this week though -- and finally get that grinder attachment out that has been sitting in its packaging for far too long.  I assume the burger will be delicious -- but maybe not to my liking.

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I have had sous vide meats -- SV chicken at Blue Hill; SV short ribs at Momofuku Ko; and I'm sure other places -- but I don't think I have ever eaten an SV burger. It'll be a while before that happens, since SV is not something I'm much interested in, at home. Eating out though; who knows?

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I am definitely going to make sous vide burgers this week though -- and finally get that grinder attachment out that has been sitting in its packaging for far too long.  I assume the burger will be delicious -- but maybe not to my liking.

If you use the new grinder, I suspect you'll love the burger no matter how you cook it! That makes such a big difference it won't be a fair test ...

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Paul -- got it, thanks.  I will cook accordingly...although the more I think about it, the more likely I am going to be doing Ribeye.  I will report back my findings.  as far as the burgers go...Saturday...

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All this talk about SV hamburgers got me curious about what they would be like. So I made some last night.

I made some 5oz (~145gm), 20mm thick burgers. I cooked them at 140°F (60°C) for 65 minutes and then threw them in an ice bath. I did use my chamber vac to seal them individually but I did not draw too strong of a vacuum. Today for supper, I finished them on a cast iron skillet and used a torch for the edges.

How did they taste? Awesome. Even using grass-fed, fairly lean beef, they were very moist, flavourful and easy to make consistently. My wife enjoyed hers. I will give this experiment a thumbs up.

8aba2uru.jpg


Edited by Chimo (log)
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Nice work, Chimo! Thanks for the report and the photos.

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I find sous vided proteins almost always come out 'juicier', probably because they can be optimally cooked to a high enough temp to render the fat, but still a low enough tamp to not dry them out.

 

 

144F chicken breast is juicier than ANY other method I've seen.

 

Thing is that not everyone likes a dish done to the same temp or texture. But the great thing about sous vide is that you can almost always find the time versus temp combo that yields the result YOU like.

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I'd bet that you could get a very juicy SV burger even if the meat was 90% lean or higher. Anybody experiment with this already?

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