The Science of Hamburgers

MCJune 7, 2011

Levitating CheeseburgerBarbecue season is in full swing, which has John Tierney of The New York Times thinking burgers. He mused over Modernist Cuisine‘s contribution to the world of hamburgers in the June 6 piece in the Science Times section of the paper. What would happen, he wondered, if Nathan Myhrvold and haute-hamburger creator Daniel Boulud had a cook-off? Nathan explains the physics of spatula-frying burgers and the process of making the ultimate burger by a combination of sous vide, liquid nitrogen, and deep-frying techniques, as demonstrated in MC. The book also goes into much greater detail on, and contains beautiful illustrations of, the transformations that beef and other meats undergo during cooking.

As for who would win a cook-off… well, we know who we would pick. Leave a comment to let us know what you think.


2 Responses to “The Science of Hamburgers”

  1. I just purchased a meat grinder specifically so I can enjoy Modernist Cuisine-style burgers this summer. I may not always have access to liquid nitrogen, so I’m going to experiment with antigriddle-style freezing with a sandwich of dry ice blocks.

    It’s too bad the George Foreman grill doesn’t come with a sous vide immersion circulator or deep fryer. The worlds at-home burgers could use the help.

  2. Interesting! I’ve already started to think how I could take this idea and use on more practical terms like starting with a really cold burger and searing the surfaces under weight to brown before center got warm enough to realease juices and then finish in a really slow oven to med rare. I love the ideas that come out of this- even the ones hard to replicate in an everyday kitchen!

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