Grilled hamburgers are something I look forward to every year. The combination of the beef, cheese, bun, and sauce is always amazing. The only downside is that I prefer medium-rare burgers which means I have to grind my own meat, something that can be time consuming. Luckily, when you do sous vide hamburgers you can cook them long enough to pasteurize them so you can enjoy medium-rare burgers at any time.
Making sous vide hamburgers is very easy, especially if you are not grinding your own meat. I prefer to seal the hamburger patties using ziploc bags and the water displacement method instead of vacuum sealing. They seem to hold their shape much better than vacuum sealing them. You can also season the patties before you sous vide them, I always enjoy ancho chile powder, cumin, and coriander, but just using salt and pepper like I do this time is great too.
Once the sous vide hamburgers are done cooking you just have to dry them off and quickly sear them. If you have a hot grill you can use that or a hot pan also works well. Another trick I've learned is that if you chill the hamburgers in a 1/2 ice - 1/2 water bath for about 15-30 minutes before grilling them you can sear them for longer and develop a better crust. You trade a little band of gray but sometimes it is worth the extra crust. Also, after you've chilled them you can hold them in the refrigerator for a day or two before searing and serving them.
The toppings you use with your sous vide hamburgers are a matter of personal preference but I always enjoy cheese and usually mushrooms. To melt the cheese I like to toast the hamburger buns in a toaster oven with the cheese on them. It's a great way to melt it without overcooking the hamburgers.
Many people also love a rare hamburger. This is just fine if you grind your own beef, it comes from a reputable source, or you know it is very fresh. If so, you can cook your sous vide hamburgers to rare at 125°F / 51.5°C, just don't cook them for more than a few hours (4 hours total from removal from refrigerator to finished eating) or there can be enough time for bacterial growth. And I wouldn't serve them to any immune compromised individuals.
By Jason Logsdon
Published: July 14, 2011
Time: 2 to 4 Hours (why the range?)
Temperature: 131°F / 55°C
Serves: 4 People
Prep time: 30 Minutes
Sous Vide Hamburger Ingredients
For the Sous Vide Hamburgers
4 hamburger patties, preferably at least 1" thick
Salt and pepper
For the Garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil 1 pint baby bella mushrooms 4 good hamburger buns 4 slices gruyere cheese 8 pickle spears 1/2 red onion, cut into 1/4" slices 1 tomato, cut into 1/4" slices 8 large pieces of lettuce
Sous Vide Hamburger Directions
Preheat the water bath to 131°F / 55°C.
Salt and pepper the patties and then seal them in the sous vide pouches. Add to the water bath and cook for 2 to 4 hours.
Finishing the Sous Vide Hamburgers
Preheat a pan to medium-high. You can also cook the sous vide burgers on a grill but you will need the pan to first saute the mushrooms.
Add the olive oil to the pan and heat. Add the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Take the beef patties out of the water bath and remove them from the pouches. Pat them dry with a paper towel or dish cloth.
Drizzle the cut side of the buns with canola oil and toast in a toaster oven, on the grill, or under the broiler. Cook just until they start to brown and then remove from the heat. Place a piece of cheese on the top half of each bun and place back in the toaster until it is bubbly and melted.
Quickly sear the sous vide hamburgers until just browned, about 1 minute then flip over and repeat.
Remove the sous vide hamburgers from the heat and place on the buns. Top with the mushrooms and serve with the other garnishes on the side.
For more discussion of sous vide hamburgers I recommend SVKitchen and Serious Eats who both have good articles on the subject.
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