How to Use Liquid Nitrogen to Make the Perfect Hamburger

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The Ultimate Hamburger from Modernist Cuisine on Vimeo

If you’ve heard of Modernist Cuisine, the cookbook that brings science into the kitchen to make old-fashioned things in newfangled ways, this may not come as a shock. If not, get ready to see hamburgers in a new light.

Co-authors Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet lay out just what it takes to make what they call the “ultimate burger.”  Bilet talks about the perfect bun and how to make the cheese melt evenly. But by far the most outlandish part is the cooking of the patty.

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Start by cooking it traditionally or sous-vide (in a plastic bag in hot water) until it’s cooked through, then dip it in liquid nitrogen to freeze the outside. Then fry it in very hot oil. A new term is born: cryofrying.

According to Modernist Cuisine, the frozen surface thaws, creating a delicious crust without compromising the juiciness of the burger’s interior. From beginning to end, the process takes about 36 hours. So if you’re having a barbecue, make sure you get everyone’s orders along with their RSVPs.

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Myrhvold is quite confident this is the “ultimate burger.” I’m not so sure I agree (I prefer the juicy lucy, with melted cheese inside the patty), but I’d definitely give it a shot. Does the local supermarket have liquid nitrogen?

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