Why cook a burger sous vide?
Why not just drop it in a hot pan or on the grill and call it a day?
Well, that’s fine if you’re cooking skinny little mingy burgers, but for a fat, juicy half-pounder, you’re going to want to pull out the full arsenal. Avoid the perfect-crust-raw-center woes by pre-cooking your patties to the perfect temperature throughout. Cooking the burger sous vide offers advantages in that it’s totally foolproof, and still allows for the perfect sear.
For this cook, I’m going to skip the vacuum sealer, because I don’t want a smushed patty. Instead, we’re going to use the water displacement method: place your food in a Ziploc freezer bag, close up all but the very edge, then slowly dip it into water, pressing the air out as you go, keeping the sealed corner out of the water for as long as possible. Once your food is almost fully submerged, you zip up the last bit just before it reaches the water level. You’re left with food in a nearly airless bag, but with very little compression.
Using freshly ground beef, I followed the Kenji’s guidelines:
• Cook 1″ patties for 1 hour at 130ºF(54ºC) for perfect medium rare
(more temps included in recipe below).
• Sear in hot skillet.
You can cook them up to 4 hours, but no longer than that, and really 1.5 should do fine for any patty. This has the added benefit of being able to go about your day, and take them out to sear when you’re damn good and ready for them.
You can also finish them on the grill for smokey char, or drop them in a deep fryer at 400ºF (what!) for the absolute ultimate in burger experiences.
Since I’m cooking indoors, but still love that grill effect, for the best of both worlds I use a cast iron grill pan. And since I was feeling super fancy, I topped it off with some provolone, barbecue sauce, red onions, and grilled fresh pineapple (aloha!).
*No circulator? No problem. You can use an insulated cooler! Preheat water for cooler to about 5-10ºF above desired temp. to accommodate cooling when burgers are added. Seal burgers in baggies using displacement method described above and add to cooler. Put the lid on, and check back in after an hour to hour. To double check doneness of the burgers, use an instant read thermometer.
Enjoy your new favorite burger!
- 2 pounds ground beef
- Red onion
- Barbecue Sauce
- Fresh Pineapple
- Lettuce (does anyone really enjoy the lettuce?)
- Preheat your water bath to: 120ºF for rare, 130ºF for medium rare, or 140ºF for medium (49ºC/54ºC/60ºC)
- Form beef into 4 patties.
- Place patties in Ziploc bags seal using displacement method.
- Cook for 1-4 hours.
- Remove from water bath and pat dry.
- Finish on very hot cast iron pan, grill, or deep fryer.
- Serve with your favorite toppings.
This recipe was made using the Sansaire sous vide circulator.
There’s a lot of discussion online about how long a burger should cook at low temps. There are a couple of things to take into consideration about food safety here. Do you know where your beef is coming from? Is it freshly ground? If so, you can probably get away with a shorter cook because there’s less chance of bacterial contamination. If you’re not sure and want to be on the safe side, cook your meat longer to ensure you’ve pasteurized everything. This is a concern with ground beef in a way that it isn’t with steaks, because the surface of the meat is where most bacteria live and with a hot sear, you can kill them off. With ground beef, it’s all mixed in there together.