Beef burgers are Rahul’s favorite food. The man could eat a burger every day and he would be so happy, so I figured I would attempt to make the best of the best of burgers just for him.
Of course, I thought to myself – I’ll cook a burger in a sous vide water bath and then deep fry it.
Because. why not?
Burgers are often over cooked. It’s a sad, disappointing moment when you order a burger at a restaurant or cooks one at home and it is dry and tasteless. You bite into the burger, hoping for juices to pour out, but instead, dry crumbles of beef are chewed up with a frown. It’s terrible and it needs to stop right now. Just say no to a dry burger.
Burgers can shrink and puff up when cooked in a skillet, where heat reaches the beef unevenly. In the oven they can be cooked too quickly on the outside, leaving you with a tough outer shell surrounding an inner juicy burger. But not with sous vide cooking. Sous vide burger can be cooked to the exact temperature you like, then deep fried to give the meat a texture and crust that does not occur in the water bath.
If you are new to the concept of sous vide cooking, please visit my Sous Vide 101 page for information about how it works, equipment necessary, and links to resources and my recipes. I am a huge fan of home cooks embracing sous vide cooking, a method used often in restaurants (probably more than you would think) that lend itself well to modernist cuisine.
But today, we’re talking about the good old fashioned beef burger.
The steps for sous vide beef burgers are:
- Set up the sous vide immersion circulator in a large pot of cold water. Turn the machine on and set the temperature to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Season the beef and form it into patties.
- Vacuum seal the beef patties into individual bags.
- Place the bags into the water, submerging the parties entirely.
- Set the timer for 30 minutes.
- Prepare your toppings and accouterments.
- Heat peanut oil in your deep fryer to 325 degrees or place a large heavy bottomed pot on the stove top with a candy thermometer and at least 3 inches of peanut oil.
- Remove the beef patties from the water bath. Cut open the bags.
- Carefully place the beef patty into the oil, one at a time, for 1-2 minutes or until the burgers have darkened on the outside and started to form a crust.
- Bon appetit!
To determine the time and temperature I referred to Serious Eats, who suggests this: 120 degrees for rare, 130 degrees for medium rare, and 140 for medium. To cook the meat any more than that would just be rude. Also, frying the patties to get that crust will also continue to cook them, which is why you should only deep fry them for a few short minutes.
Here you can see the beef patties which have been seasoned and vacuum sealed, ready to go for their water bath. The one of the left spread out a bit when sealed, and the one on the right did not, but that doesn’t matter much. Since you deep fry them, the edge will round out a bit.
When it comes down to it, the method is quite simple, as long as you are willing to invest in the equipment. I have quite a few sous vide recipes to entice you, my favorite being the pork chop. I may never cook one any other way but sous vide again.
Once you have the cooking method figured out, you can season and dress your burgers any way you like. I have ground elk in the freezer and I may decide to prepare burgers with it, and I will likely choose the sous vide method again.