Going Keto for me includes meat snacks or make ahead meats. A bun-less hamburger is a quick snack if the meat is already prepared.
I first heard about deep frying hamburgers on Good Eats – Reloaded. I was surprised that I had never seen this method of preparation for hamburgers. Shortly thereafter, I was browsing my copy of Modernist Cuisine at Home and found that: Sous Vide then deep fried was a method for cooking hamburgers presented there. (There was also a method for creating meatloaf sandwiches using the same method)
I decided to explore this method a little further and discovered that the Good Eats version was for 3 oz portions flattened to 5-6 inches in diameter prior to cooking. I had forgotten whether Sous Vide was in the recipe. Not surprisingly, it was not. While I can imagine this burger as being yummy with a great crunch, I prefer my burgers in the 5-6 oz range. So I am going with the sous vide/deep fry method.
Ground Beef – Seasoned and rolled into 5-6 oz balls
Deep Fryer with Vegetable Oil heated to 375 F. (See Post Mortem)
Water bath heated to 55 C/131 F
- Season the ground beef with salt and pepper and roll into 5-6 oz balls.
- Flatten the balls into patties of the desired thickness. (About 1/2” for me).
- Insert patties into a vacuum seal bag and seal. You can seal the patties into individual bags or put several into one bag depending on how you want to control inventory.
- Cook in the water bath at 131 F/55 C for 45 – 60 minutes
- Drain the liquid from the vacuum bag and dry the patties with a paper towel
- Deep fry the patties one or two at a time for 1-11/2 minutes.
- Drain on a paper towel
- Use for hamburgers or an other recipe calling for a ground beef patty
- If you want a cheeseburger just top with cheese and melt under the broiler.
The patties were nice and crispy on the outside, while retaining their juices on the interior. They reheated nicely.
The recipe from Alton Brown for his small thin patties called for frying at 325 F. The recipe from Modernist Cuisine called for 425 F for the Sous Vide patties. I wanted to use my home fryer but it only goes up to 375 F, so there you are… The 375 F setting on my home fryer provided plenty of heat to finish the burgers quickly. At this point, the burgers were cooked to our desired done ness so our objective was to get a nice crust on the burger. So, high enough heat for that objective without overcooking the patty is all that is important.
The 131 F temperature in the water bath gave a medium to medium rare burger. You can experiment or look at the Sous Vide sites to determine the best temperature to Sous Vide the burger to your liking.
For this and many other recipes using the Sous Vide technique you can do the prep up tthrough vacuum seal, freeze and then cook from frozen at your convenience. For typical patties allow about a half hour additional cook time from frozen. For a more grilled flavor you can add liquid smoke to the meat prior to making into patties.
I would say this is a very successful method for preparing hamburgers. For a party or big crowd you can keep them at the desired temperature and then finish them off as you serve them. I think a fatter burger is good for this method because you get the desired doneness throughout the burger and the desired crust on the outside without over cooking.
PS. The cheeseburger came in at about 2 g of net carbs with cheddar cheese, mustard, lettuce, dill pickles and cherry tomatoes. Unfortunately, ketchup would add at least another 5+ g of carbs.