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Burger, Sous Vide!

No matter how you like your ground beef cooked, sous vide makes perfection easily achievable.

sous vide burger


Ground beef patties; one each at 3oz./84g, one each at 9oz./255g.
I used 80/20, lean to fat.
Hamburger buns, 2 ea.
Iceberg lettuce, 5 oz./140g.
Sliced tomatoes (not shown)
Cheese, Jarslberg, 2 oz./55g.
Cheese, Cheddar, 2 0z./55g.
Mayonnaise, 1 oz./28g.
S+P, as needed.
Butter, to spread on the buns.





Ring forms are like cookie cutters except will dull edges. They are useful to manipulate hamburger patties into uniform shapes and thickness. People are always telling me how many ring forms they recently purchased so that they could mass produce their sous vide patties.

The fact is, if you use Ziploc freezer bags to do your processing, the ring form need never actually enter the bag. You only need ONE. Simply put the desired weight of ground beef into the Ziploc bag, put the ring over it, and push it into shape (shown below). So simple, I admit, it took a while for it to come to me.

Chamber vacuums and foodsaver devices do a good job compressing the ground beef, just like the commercial butcher equipment does. It does involve that extra step, and if you don’t put the ring inside the bag, the vacuum will taper the edges somewhat. You wouldn’t think people would notice that, but they do!

This time around, we processed the smaller patty@
129F-135F/54C-57Cx2 hours

and the larger patty@
129F-135F/54C-57Cx4 hours

Before I sear the burgers, I butter the buns and toast them in the broiler pan. Just how a hamburger bun should be toasted can start a lengthy and heated debate in some circles.

I like lettuce on my burger. I like so much that it shoots out the other side when I take a bite. Shredding the lettuce helps a little, but I still see a lot of roughage on my plate as I finish my burger. Here is one fix for that problem.

This is shredded lettuce that I seasoned very lightly and then vacuumed. It can also be done in a Foodsaver, and the effect is almost instantaneous. It can be done in a Ziploc bag as well, it just takes about an hour to fully cure. It is not quite as crisp as the lettuce that is falling off of my sandwich, but it is very delicious and slaw like. It clings to the sandwich, so, mission accomplished!

Searing the patties…

People enjoy telling each other just how amazingly hot they got their pan or bbq before they seared their burgers. This does create a sensational aroma in the vicinity, along with a lot of smoke and coughing. As long as your pan is “quite hot,” 350F/176C, you will have very desirable results.

I put the large cast iron grill pan on the SMALL front burner, and leave it on high the whole time. I also give it at least five minutes to preheat. And old joke from the restaurant kitchen, when novice cooks asked how long it would take to sear the burger, we would scowl and say

When it’s brown, it’s done.
When it’s black, YOU’RE done.”

I vacuum sealed the cheese (again, Ziploc, whatever), to pre-soften it in the 135F/57C bath. It takes a higher temperature to really make the cheese run. This gives you a head start and the torch does a nice job creating a nice little crust, another pleasing aroma. I always tell people we taste what we smell. If we don’t smell it, we are unlikely to taste it.

Remove the burgers from the bath, but do not shock them cold (unless you plan to eat them tomorrow). Let them cool on the counter, just to make them easier to handle. Remove from the bag, pat dry, and carefully lay in the pan.

Once they are flipped, you can put the cheese on top to melt. This can also be done in the oven with the salamander function, but it’s a little inconvenient. A lid will help melt the cheese, but it will also make the burger lose its pink color.

I don’t know what it is, but potatoes really look good on a plate with a burger. I made some Yukon Gold potato chips, very easy and NOT sous vide. Despite our efforts, sous vide potato chips are not meant to be. The same goes for sous vide French fries. The results are good, but nobody is going to be fooled.


Even though this burger was so small, sous vide really does limit shrinking. I made the larger burger for my self. I had a hard time finishing it, although finish it I did.

You can see how the lettuce appears more “slaw” like. For me, it’s not a burger unless it has a tomato. It came down to the question “Do I really want to go to the store JUST for a tomato?” The answer was no, I hope you understand!

People ask me “but, Norm, do you REALLY think that a burger NEEDS to be sous vide processed?” I tell them this:

Nothing really NEEDS to be processed sous vide, and that is not the question. The question is “Does a burger BENEFIT from being processed sous vide?” For me, the answer is yes.



No longer need you attempt to determine the doneness of your burger by poking, prodding and breaking it. Your perfectly formed patty comes out of the tank cooked to a precise degree of doneness!

It was the contributions of the more experienced "burger flippers" that finally synergized the new technology with the pre-existing finer points of a good burger. This just goes to show the value of knowing how things were prepared BEFORE sous vide!

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