Cooking the Perfect Medium Rare Burger: You Won’t Believe It!

Kozzi-delicious-burger-1774 X 1183For me, the quest for a medium rare burger is constantly elusive. So here’s the deal.

Form a loose patty, place it in a zipper-lock baggie, and squeeze out the air. Then, cook the burger for approximately 30 minutes “sous vide” (in a hot water bath.) Drain the cooked burger and dip it in liquid nitrogen for 30 seconds (as in -330° F nitrogen) to produce the perfect seared crust.

Remove the burger, pop in the deep fryer for about 1 minute,  and Voilà … the perfect medium rare hamburger.

I said you wouldn’t believe it.

This recipe comes from, what in my estimation, must be the most unique and interesting cookbook of all time. Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, and Maxime Bilet combines the latest concepts of the culinary arts with some very serious science, to produce what can only be called “radical cookery.”

“Modernist cuisine doesn’t bring science into the kitchen; science has always been in the kitchen. Modernist cuisine takes the ignorance out of the kitchen.” –Nathan Myhrvold

The original six-volume, 2400 page hardback version of the book weighs in at 40 pounds, and costs $625. Yikes! This cookbook is difficult to describe, and really has to be seen to be believed. In addition to being a wonderful source of information and recipes, the artistic photos and illustrations make it a joy just to page through.


If you want to know the science behind food, why it cooks and tastes as it does, and ways to maximize flavor, these books are for you. As for me, given the requirement for things like liquid nitrogen, I’m unlikely to buy the books or cook many of the recipes, but they certainly make for interesting reading. And if you’re lucky like me, your local library will have a copy. Check it out.

Happy Cooking,


We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at

9 thoughts

      1. I read cook books like novels. Front to back, with a bookmark so i don’t forget where I got to. (I may also have post it’s to mark the things I want to try too, but I wouldn’t tell anybody that. Ehem!)

  1. very topical…. horse-meat burgers in the news in the UK at the moment…. and horse-meat lasagne…. 😉

    1. Thanks for the comment Sophie, and for dropping by the blog. I guess that med-rare is an acquired taste, and really good quality meat is critical. But for me, the most important thing is that the burger not be dry, with or without liquid nitrogen.

    1. Thanks for the comment Angie, and for dropping by the blog. I know that this sounds strange, and I’m sure that lots of foodie-types think it’s total hooey. However, in addition to being highly educated scientists, a couple of these guys are trained and experienced chefs. When you read the science behind it all, it makes total sense. Know where I can buy some liquid nitrogen?

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