Mix the ground chuck with ½ teaspoon salt. Divide the ground beef into four 6-ounce portions and shape into patties. Place on a sheet pan and freeze, covered, for 2 hours.
Prepare the sous vide bath. Set the temperature to 120 degrees for rare or 125 degrees for medium-rare. Remove the burgers from the freezer and vacuum seal each one individually. Place the burgers in the water bath for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Remove the burgers from the water bath and let rest for 5 minutes. Take the burgers out of the bag and season with salt and pepper.
You can finish the burgers on a skillet or grill. If using the skillet, while the burgers are resting, heat a skillet over high heat until very hot. If you have an infrared thermometer, the skillet should register at least 500 degrees. Or, test by brushing on a bit of oil. When the skillet starts to smoke, it is ready. Brush oil onto the skillet and sear the burgers for 1 minute per side.
If grilling, build a fire in a kettle grill. Clean the grill grate well with a stiff wire brush. Brush the grate with oil and grill the burgers for 1 minute per side.
To serve, spread the Special Sauce on the buns and top each with a patty and iceberg lettuce. Serve immediately.
Unless you're a line cook or you have lots of experience cooking burgers, it's difficult to get consistent, juicy results. Couple that with the increasing use of low-fat ground meats (like 93/7 turkey or 90/10 ground beef) and it's easy to end up with dry, hockey-puck-like burgers. And no one wants that.
With the proliferation of low-cost home sous vide equipment like the Nomiku, Anova, and Sous Vide Supreme (as well as the multiple Instructables available for building your own), I'd like to share the techniques I use to get juicy, consistently sized, uniform burgers using a few easily found tools.
Grilled vs Sous Vide Burgers
There are many sous vide-ers out there who don’t think it’s worth making a sous vide hamburger. They firmly believe that burgers are much better and quicker on the grill or smashed in a skillet.
Quicker? Yes. Better? That’s a matter of personal taste. Give them a try and see where you stand.
Benefits of sous vide hamburgers:
- Doneness: Sous vide burgers are cooked to the exact temperature you like – every time. This does take a bit of trial and error. For example, you will see a pretty large variation for ‘medium rare’ sous vide temperature settings from 124F-135F/51-57.2C on various websites. But when you find the temperature for doneness you like, you can expect 100% consistency from there on.
- Juiciness: You can always count on a juicy, tender burger.
- Make ahead: Freeze a batch of burgers after your sous vide them. Then you just have to warm them and grill or pan fry them for a perfect burger.
- Safety: As long as you are cooking above 130°F/54.5°C, bacteria will be killed and burgers will be perfectly safe to eat – even at medium rare.
- Stress free cooking: You only need 40 minutes for cooking, but there’s a nice long window up to 3 hours where there will be no change to the temperature and texture.
- Appearance: You can still achieve a nice grilled or crusty brown exterior after the sous vide process with a 2 minute grill or pan fry.
- Crowd-friendly: The sous vide method is fantastic for a larger crowd. You can prep the burgers (even at different temperatures) well ahead of time and do the two minute grill part when guests arrive.
- Burgers less than 1 inch/2.5cm thick are not worth doing in the sous vide experts say.
- Sous vide burgers take longer to make than grilled or frying pan burgers. And more steps – sous vide, resting time, grilling time.
- Most agree you should only season the surface of the burger so if insist on a lot of fillers…. Stay tuned on this one.
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Remove the patties from the bag and pat dry with paper towels. Season both sides with salt and pepper and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes.
Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a cast-iron pan over high heat. Avoid using olive oil as it has a low smoke point.
Once the oil begins to smoke and shimmer, add the steak. and cook without moving for 1 minute.
Flip the patties and repeat on the opposite side for 1 minute. After a minute remove the patties from the heat and place on hamburger buns.
Simply sear on a hot grill for about 1 minute on each side.
Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes.
Add any topping and serve.
Sous Vide Cheese Stuffed Burgers (Juicy Lucy)
Here is a great way to make an amazing burger with your sous vide machine. A burger stuffed with melted cheese as you cut into it, the Juicy Lucy Burger.
8 ounces American Cheese (Kraft Singles)
SEARED Burger Blend seasoning
Set your sous vide machine to 135 degrees if you want a beautiful medium rare. Portion the ground meat into eight even pieces. Using a burger press place half of the meat into the bottom of the press. Fold the cheese slices into quarters and place in the center. Cover the top with the remaining beef, and using your fingers create a seal to make sure no cheese melts out.
Season the burgers on both sides with the burger blend. Place the burgers into freezer bags. Using the water displacement method push the bags into the water bath to force the remaining air out of the bag, and seal. Clip the bags on the side of your container. Cook for 2-3 hours.
Remove carefully and dry off with paper towels. Apply more seasonings if needed. Sear burgers over a hot flame on your grill for 1 1/2-2 minutes on each side. Melt an additional cheese slice on top and allow to melt.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Watch my video below where I show you how to make this recipe step by step.
Why Sous Vide Burgers?
So you might be asking “why should I bother with all this?” Especially when a standard burger can be made start to finish in just a few minutes. I get it. It seems like quite the process if you’ve never done it and it does take a lot longer. However, if you break it down, it’s actually less time hands on. You can utilize the long cooking time to prepare the toppings and any other accompanying dishes.
For me, one of the biggest benefits is being able to cook a thick burger consistently from edge to edge. It’s comforting to know that it will come out the same every time. It also takes a load off if I’m cooking burgers for a crowd. There is no worry of over or under cooking anybody’s burger.
It also results in some of the juiciest burgers I have ever tasted. Having the ability to precisely dial in the temperature you want is something that even the greatest grill masters struggle with.
Like I said, there are different ways of cooking burgers and I’m not trying to convince you that sous vide is the only way you should do it, or that it’s the best way to cook a burger. I just wanted to share it as an option. If you consider yourself a burger lover, I highly recommend you trying out a sous vide burger if you get the chance.
If you aren’t familiar with sous vide cooking or want to learn more, there is a lot of information that can be found right here, on chowhound. If you have tried sous vide burgers, or end up trying them out, please share your thoughts below!
Also from this author
Sous Vide Sliders
Last week I joined my friends at Cox Communications in Baton Rouge for another “Cox Smart Home” event. I spent the day in the kitchen sharing tips and tricks for how to make your kitchen “smart” by incorporating WiFi enabled devices and appliances into your cooking.
One of the WiFi enabled devices in the smart home kitchen was the Anova WiFi enabled sous vide. I used this device at past events to make Steak Crostini‘s to share with guests of the event, but this time I decided to switch things up!
Since it is football season in Baton Rouge, I decided to serve some of my favorite game day recipes, like Slow Cooker Green Chili Queso Dip and Football Shaped Nutella Rice Krispie Treats. I then decided to make sliders in the sous vide, because they’re perfect for tailgating! Prep the sliders and toss them in the sous vide, remove them from the sous vide, take them to the tailgate, then give them a quick sear on the grill and you’ve got the most delicious and juicy sliders you’ve ever had in your life!
The first time I heard a friend talking about making a sous vide burger, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but I’m here to tell you, it is amazing!
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 2 tbsp Montreal steak seasoning
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 12 small slices cheddar cheese
- 12 Hawaiian rolls
Combine the ground beef and steak seasoning. Form into 12 sliders. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and into the freezer for one hour.
Remove from the freezer and place 4 sliders each in 3 plastic zipper bags.
Since I don’t have a fancy vacuum sealer, I simply use the “water displacement method” of placing the airtight sealed bag with the sliders in it, almost all of the way under the water, leaving just about an inch of the top of the bag open, the water will press out all of the air around the food in the bag, you can then seal the bag closed.
Place the bags of sliders in a sous vide set to 130°F (for medium rare to medium – for medium to medium well, set the sous vide at 138°F) for 45 minutes – 3 hours.
Remove the sliders from the sous vide and the plastic bags and let rest on a paper towel lined cutting board for 10-15 minutes.
Before serving, heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add the sliders and sear for 20-30 seconds per side. Alternatively, you can grill the sliders on high heat for 20-30 seconds per side.
Top with a slice of cheddar cheese and serve on Hawaiian rolls.
You can add your favorite toppings, such as ketchup, mustard, pickles, tomatoes or onions if you’d like, but I just served the burgers as is.
A sous vide burger is not a normal burger, it’s a burger of monumental flavor proportions, and with that said, I feel that it needs no additional toppings!
This is the first burger I’ve ever had that literally tasted like steak! It’s so tender, juicy and just down right delicious!
Sous vide veggie burgers are definitely a possibility, and a sous vide Beyond Burger is a great example of that. And, from the above video, you don’t even have to be a vegan or vegetarian to love them.
I highly recommend you stop grilling your Beyond Burgers in a grill pan and go grab your sous vide machine (or get yourself one) to make the most delicious meatless burger you’ve ever had! I’m encouraging vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters alike.
Interested in other lesser known uses and food you can make with your sous vide immersion circulator? Click here to learn more!