Live Fire Cooking: Burgers and Potatoes

It was a perfect Spring morning for a fire; low 30’s, a sleet/snow mix, and wind. A good day to keep warm, read a book, then cook!
Once I got this rip-snortin’ blaze goin’, I made my way to the kitchen to round up some stuff.
Fixens and Equipment
That mixer is one of my favorite kitchen power tools. In this instance it is fitted with a meat grinder attachment that will turn that so-called stew meat (mostly chuck) into burger fodder in no time. I’ll spare you all the details. If you don’t know how to grind, season, and shape a burger by this time, you’re reading the wrong blog.
Immersion Circulator
This vintage immersion circulator has been around the block a few times, but it’s perfect for this kind of thing. I have it set at about 55°C (131°F) and the run time will be just over two hours.

I sat back down, picked up my book, and read several more chapters.
Get your iron hot!
Checking the time, I decided the fire had coaled down enough to put on the grate and get one of my cast iron pans preheated.

That done, I shuffled to the kitchen to do some more prep work. This time it was for what’s going in the pan: sous vide potatoes!
Sous Vide Potatoes!
I have to say I’ve become rather fond of having cooked potatoes on hand when I need them. I’ll do about a half-dozen at a time at 185°F for an hour. I don’t even use a sous vide rig for this as through a bit of trial and error, I’ve discovered a big pot of water set to a simmer on my stovetop holds temp perfectly. The potatoes will easily keep for several weeks (in an unopened, sealed bag) and their texture and taste are unbeatable.

There’s two different kinds of potatoes shown above: Klondike Rose and Russet Burbank. The former is a rather recent discovery for me. They are red-skinned with a golden interior with a firm texture and buttery (think Yukon Gold) flavor.

A little bit of prep and they look like this:
Cubed Potatoes and Chopped Onions
These are cubed, seasoned (rosemary, sage, garlic & onion powders, pepper, and salt) and tossed with enough olive oil to coat. They’re ready to add to that hot iron.
Hot Potatoes
Hear that sizzle? Yeah, that is what you want! I wanted to ensure the onions softened and that the potatoes were nicely browned so they go on about 10 minutes before the burgers. Don’t forget to stir.
Sous Vide Burgers
Speaking of burgers, the two hours are about up.

These were shocked in cold water to cool them down to room temp. If they go right from sous-vide to fire, they will over-cook.

Before you place the burgers, toast your buns!
Toast Your Buns!
This takes about 30 seconds. Be careful!
Burgers Down!
Make sure your grate is pretty hot as the only point here is to add some crusty goodness to the flavor profile of the burgers.
Grill Marks
I finished up my burger the way I like it (blue cheese crumbles, cheddar cheese, whole grain mustard, and a tiny bit of ketchup).
Couldn't wait to take a bite!
I couldn’t wait to take a bite! Tender. Juicy. Delicious.

I’m enjoying Spring, regardless of the weather!

This entry was posted in Meat, Techniques and tagged , , , , by johngl. Bookmark the permalink.

About johngl

A bit of a wildman, John hails from the Midwest: A land of corn, cows, pigs, and a host of other healthfully meaty pursuits. Born on a dark and stormy night in late Fall, John grew up as the son of a meat cutter. There was always plenty of meat at hand. While not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, his family certainly ate well. According to his father, that was the whole point.

8 thoughts on “Live Fire Cooking: Burgers and Potatoes

  1. Hey John, been a while since I’ve looked here and glad to see you’re posting again! Is that a vintage cast iron fry pan, or where can I get one like it? I like the high sides, like a braising pan. Looks nice and smooth inside too, they don’t polish out the new ones, and they’re thinner metal too. Also, will the potatoes keep for a few weeks refrigerated, or do you freeze ’em? That burger looks awesome!

    • Patrick, thanks for popping in!

      That is a vintage pan gifted to me by a friend about a decade ago. He’d gotten it from his Aunt (as I recall) at the time of her passing.

      As for the sous vide potatoes, yep, as long as you don’t open the bag after the sous vide bath, they will keep for at least a couple of weeks if not longer. I go through them pretty fast though, so they don’t usually hang around that long!

      I hope you have great Memorial Day holiday!

  2. I love the look of those taters in that hot iron pan over the open fire. I threw something in the microwave yesterday for lunch. And that does sound like perfect weather for a hearty fire.

    • Hey Charlie! Thanks for stopping in for a visit! Why not let the fireplace pull double duty? With a little advance planning, it worked pretty well. Still need to figure out how to position myself for easier access.

      • We opted out of a fireplace in the new house, which will be the first time (ever) that we won’t have one. But that’s not saying much, because the permanently gas-enclosed, fake-log, natural gas unit we’ve had in this house hardly counts. (And since that was basically the only option for the new, we said “nope.”) We’ll get one eventually, but it will be outside. 🙂

  3. this weather stinks for sure! Your dinner looks amazing. My dad had the meat grinder attachment to his kitchen aid growing up. Totally forgot about that!

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