Blue Label Burger Blend – Beer Cooler Sous Vide Burgers
Back when John Tesar was slinging those divine burgers at his much missed “The Commissary,” many people heard the term c-Vap for the first time. It’s all about getting a perfectly even and accurate temperature throughout the entire beef patty while maintaing virtually all the juices. He explains it here:
It is basically a sous vide process. I had yet to purchase my Polyscience Sous Vide Professional Immersion Circulator, but wanted to give it a whirl at home. Some googling turned up this awesome phrase: Beer Cooler Sous Vide. You basically use a cooler and a meat thermometer to keep the water temperature in the correct range for a poor-man’s sous vide. This technique should only be used for certain foods, as it is not accurate enough for finessed results, and could cause some problems for long term immersions. But it’s cool for burgers!
First, the meat – I found this recipe for the Blue Label Burger Blend. A mix of sirloin. brisket and oxtail.
Now that the meat is portioned and pattied, we need to get it into vacuum bags for our sous vide process.
Instead of using a vacuum sealer, here is a great trick: Submerge your bag fully in water and the air is forced out. Seal, et voilà. Easy.
Now we need to get the water up to temp – I was going for “medium” on this batch so went with 140F/60C. The burgers need at least an hour at this constant temp, but they can go for 3 or 4 hours and hold steady there at a perfect medium. Such is the magic of sous vide cooking.
With the cooler lid closed, the temperature stays pretty constant – occasionally you will need to slowly add some hot water to bring it back in range and keep it there.
After an hour or so we have perfectly medium burgers – evenly cooked throughout. To finish them, just throw them on a very hot griddle and sear the outside to get some Maillard Reaction action going!
Some cheese and homemade gourmet Special Sauce and artisan fixin’s complete the process.