Following the good example of Slow Food Columbus leader Bear Braumoeller, I bought some locally produced grass-fed ground beefat my local farmer’s market and made burgers sous vide. The were deliciously palate-opening!
I took 1/3 of the 1 pound of meat I bought and gently shaped a burger patty. Just a little salt and freshly ground pepper, then into a Ziploc Freezer Bag. As with my other sous vide foods, I sucked the air out of the bag with a straw and sealed it.
Cooked the burger in its sous vide water bath at 127°F (between the temperatures recommended for rare and medium rare beef) for about 90 minutes. Very little of the meat juices had been exuded; they were almost all left inside the beef.
As with my other sous vide foods, the burger came out an unappetizing color …
… but that was fixed with a quick 45 second searing on each side in a hot fry pan with a little oil. I accompanied the burger with slices of pan-grilled Vidalia onion and locally grown tomato.
The burger was uniformly and beautifully medium rare inside. The taste was remarkable: It had real flavor! The combination of grass-fed beef and sous vide preparation that kept the juices in the meat made a real difference in taste.
The best grilled burgers I’ve had are at Squire’s restaurant in my Mom’s home of Briarcliff Manor. They’re flame broiled and for 40+ years have been the juiciest, tastiest burgers I’ve ever had. (Okay, the $32 burger at db Bistro Moderne in NYC is remarkable, but it’s filled with braised short rib and black truffle.) But even the Squire’s burger lacked the flavor of my sous vide burger. Maybe it’s because its meat juices drip out of the burger onto the bun.
I thought of how I always load my burgers with Heinz ketchup. I savored my sous vide burger without that condiment, enjoying every bite. This was the first time in memory that I chose to have a burger without ketchup.
I’m looking forward to making my next sous vide burger tomorrow without the salt and pepper to see how the grain-fed beef tastes really plain.