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Butter Burgers!!! (?)

alanbarnes Apr 21, 2011 09:14 AM

A hound on the SF board posted a link to a video about Maverick and its "butter burgers." http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/779721 Basically, they grind beef with cubes of butter, cook them sous vide, then sear them in a cast-iron pan.

This got me thinking - although I think 7-bone chuck is about ideal for burgers, there are plenty of other inexpensive cuts that taste great but are too lean for a proper hamburger. I've always passed them up for grinding because of the fat content, but this seems to open up a whole new world of possibilities.

I'm not sure I'd go with Maverick's recipe. The chuck he's using looks like it's fatty enough already, and the sous vide step serves no obvious purpose. But taking a bottom sirloin or a flatiron roast or some other tasty cut and upping the fat content with a stick or two of butter? Sounds like a winner!

Has anybody tried adding butter to beef as it's being ground? What kind of results did you get?

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  1. r
    RGC1982 RE: alanbarnes Apr 21, 2011 09:18 AM

    I don't get the sous vide either. To me, part of the allure of burgers is the slightly smokey flavor they get on my grill as the fat drips down onto the "flavor bars" -- or whatever it is that Weber now calls them.

    Also, burgers should have a nice sear to them on the outside too, but that is just my opinion.

    Finally, and especially with hamburger of any kind -- is the sous vide method sufficient to safely kill the nasty pathogens that do tend to thrive in ground beef? Understand that I like my burgers "still mooing", which is why I usually grind my own meat, after a good rinse and pat down with paper towels, but sous vide tends to be a longer process at low temperatures. Not sure I would like the outcome on any kind of burger or steak, and not sure it's a good idea because of the dreaded e-coli.

    Sorry, but for me it's either a grill or a griddle pan.

    1 Reply
    1. re: RGC1982
      twyst RE: RGC1982 Apr 24, 2011 04:55 PM

      I sous-vide my burgers when I grind my own meat and they turn out fantastic. They stay pink all the way through and are the juciest burgers you will ever have. A quick once over with the blow torch to crisp up the outside and you are in business after you take them out.

      As for the worry about pathogens, Id venture to say sous-vide is at least as safe as traditional methods when it comes to cooking a thick burger as you can be sure that things are cooked all the way through when you sous vide. Unless you are very experienced on the grill, burgers occasionally come out overdone on the outside, while being a little underdone on the inside. Sous vide eliminates that, you get the meat cooked to your desired temperature from end to end.

    2. biondanonima RE: alanbarnes Apr 21, 2011 09:21 AM

      I haven't actually ground it in, but I have tossed small cubes of both butter and cold bacon grease in with my hamburger before making burgers. It works, but I find that too much of the fat leaches out in cooking this way. What I prefer to do is actually put a pat of butter inside the burger patty and let it melt as the burger cooks. More butter stays in that way, for more delicious butter flavor!

      2 Replies
      1. re: biondanonima
        krisrishere RE: biondanonima Apr 21, 2011 10:12 AM

        Ditto with the butter inside the burger patty. When I first starting cooking, probably around 10 years old, that was one of the first things I did. My parents thought I was nuts, but they loved it! I have no idea what possessed me to do so, but I've kept up the tradition ever since.

        1. re: krisrishere
          heylids RE: krisrishere Apr 21, 2011 11:22 AM

          I too put the butter inside the burger. Years later I was watching an Ina Garten's cooking show and she was adding butter in the middle of her burgers. lol, this was her magical tip!

      2. ipsedixit RE: alanbarnes Apr 21, 2011 10:17 AM

        I wouldn't do butter simply b/c I don't really enjoy the taste of butter, and rarely cook with it, with baking the lone exception.

        However, if I have a cut of beef that is too lean, I'd think I would just add straight bacon fat or beef fat.

        1. cowboyardee RE: alanbarnes Apr 21, 2011 12:55 PM

          "and the sous vide step serves no obvious purpose."
          I'm guessing here, but I think Biondonomia pointed out the problem with just cooking it traditionally.

          I suspect he cooks it sous vide because otherwise you'd wind up with either a burger that is nicely seared on the outside but raw on the inside, or else a burger that is nicely seared on the outside but contracted (which would squeeze out all that buttery goodness). You probably don't want anything except the absolute surface exposed to high charring heat because you don't want that burger getting any smaller in cooking. I think the SV step helps keep as much butter inside the burger as possible.

          1. srsone RE: alanbarnes Apr 21, 2011 01:20 PM

            butter burgers are nothing new...
            ive seen it done and added a little butter myself...
            and on a best burger tv show on pbs a few years back there was a place in wisconsin iirc thats famous for butter burgers..

            even steak and shake serves one now...

            1. j
              joonjoon RE: alanbarnes Apr 21, 2011 01:52 PM

              Why not just grind it up with extra beef fat? Whenever I get a roast or oxtail i save my fat trimmings for occasions like this.

              1 Reply
              1. re: joonjoon
                cowboyardee RE: joonjoon Apr 21, 2011 01:57 PM

                I've done this and it's a fine idea (though probably a different taste than using butter).

                Tangent - why the hell would anyone ever make a kobe burger? Or pay big $ for one? You could just grind up regular affordable beef with more fat and save the waygu for a preparation that keeps it whole and does it justice.

              2. c oliver RE: alanbarnes Apr 21, 2011 02:07 PM

                Interesting. We'll be needing to grind some more beef in the next month or so. I'd be willing to try it with a little bit. I wonder how much butter to use proportionately.

                1. d
                  Diane in Bexley RE: alanbarnes Apr 25, 2011 06:44 AM

                  When I saw the title of this post, I thought it was referring to the Wisconsin based hamburger chain, Culver's, which is famous for their butter burgers. I believe they fry them in butter. www.culvers.com

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                    OldSchool RE: alanbarnes Apr 25, 2011 02:36 PM

                    Cooks Illustrated did a recipe on this. It calls for grinding sirloin tips, freezing in a layer till very firm, drizzling melted butter on top so butter forms little globules, making into patties, searing on both sides, then baking in 300 degree oven till done. I haven't tried it yet.

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