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Butter Burgers!!! (?)

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. 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

      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. 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

        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

          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. 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. "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. 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...