Hackspace Burger Finale



So the day arrived, and hackspace burger was born!

The final burger consisted of home-made mustard buns, courtesy of Katie, an east-end sous vide LN2 burger, iceberg lettuce, Bacon Jam and a home made blue cheese slice. Overall the reaction was very positive. I didn't actually get chance to try one sadly but everyone said they were kick-ass!

Making the burger was the tricky part, on the day. The custom sous-vide cooker was pressed into service. I took some freezer bags and placed the burger inside, sucked out the air with a biro and placed the burger into the bath for about 1 hour 30 minutes. After this time, the burgers went straight into a liquid nitrogen bath until they effectively had very bad freezer burn. I was actually, quite worried that I'd ruined the beautiful effect that sous-vide gives.

Im looking very serious here

Straight into the deep fat fryer they went. For about a minute or so, the burgers cooked and then were taken out. The results were almost perfect! The inside was still nice and red and juicy though not undercooked, whereas the outer was crisp, with a proper shell! Unbelievable!

So what did we learn? The Bacon Jam from Eat 17 (another East London place with a cool name! ) was actually not that good. It had neither enough spice, smoke or bacon. It was pointed out that this is pretty much the way of such things; you can't keep bacon for very long, even inside a relish, so its best to make your own on the day.

Secondly, the buns. I should have toasted them which I completely forgot about. Thats a darn shame. Also, people reported that the burger was on the dry side. I never bothered with mayo and forgot the mushroom ketchup. In the next burger, we'll need a little more moisture and sauce. Nathan Myhrvold uses at least two such sauces and indeed, a tomato in addition to the lettuce.

Bacon Jam

The cheese was a hit but the problem was the slice was too big. The centre would melt pleasingly but the edges would then fall off! Who knew?! In addition I was told that if I wanted to showcase the meat, the cheese somewhat detracts from that. I can see that. Again, Comte and Emmenthal are popular choices for custom slices, though I stand by the blue.

I had a lot of fun doing this, and I'm totally sold on Sous-vide (or boil in the bag!) as the proper method for cooking meat. I think most other methods just dont get to the heart of things (hah!). Science works! But theres plenty of room for flair and artistic cooking skill in there. Liquid Nitrogen is such as great thing to play with. Its a big crowd pleaser and not that expensive, though the storage of it is.

I think this could probably scale. In the future I'd have the whole thing a little more slick with a proper production line going. Did I beat the evil lucky chip and all these hipster burger popup joints? Too early to tell yet, but In my heart, this worked out great!

So things were learnt, but the people who got to try the burgers (there were only 8 in the end) were very happy. A little thankyou from me, to some of the people who helped build the new hackspace!