When I think of a burger press I actually think of 2 different things. One is the more well known kind of press that is used to make a hamburger patty. The other is for pressing a burger on the grill to make smashed burgers. In this article we’ll cover how to use a press for both making a patty and making smashed burgers. Making patties is pretty straight forward and varies only slightly from one press to the next. Making smashed burgers is also pretty simple but extremely rewarding, trust me. Continue reading to learn how to use both types of presses.
Why you should use a burger press to make a patty?
If you watched the video above you’ll get the gist of it. There really isn’t a secret trick or technique and I guess that’s the point of a burger press. It is the secret trick. It’s just designed to give you a mold to create consistently shaped and consistently thick burger patties. If there is a trick it’s to measure out your ground beef to ensure your burgers aren’t just consistent in size but also consistent in thickness and density. If your burgers are all precisely the same size, thickness, and density you’ll have patties that cook exactly the same amount of time and you won’t have trouble with some being overcooked or undercooked.
How to use a press to make consistent hamburger patties
- Measure out your hamburger meat into balls with a kitchen scale to ensure consistency
- Depending on the design of your burger press, use parchment paper under and/or on the top of the patty
- Place one of your measured balls of hamburger meat into the press
- Press down on the press until it stops
- Remove from the press and set aside
- Repeat until you’ve made all your patties
Why you should press your burgers on the grill or cooktop
I know you’ve probably been told never to press down on your burgers because it will dry them out and cause them to loose flavor. This is true, however if you do it the right way it will create a superior burger that is super moist and super flavorful. The process sears the outside of the burger and caramelizes the fat and meat to create a very flavorful sear. This sear is called Maillard reaction. This reaction creates and incredibly rich and savory flavor. I make burgers this way for my family in my kitchen and they love them. The only complaint I get is from my wife due to all the smoke it creates in the house. She’s still is amazed at how tasty the burger is.
How to press a burger on the grill or stovetop
- Measure out your hamburger meat into balls
- You don’t need to worry with getting them exactly the same since we’re less concerned with cooking to temperature and more concerned with sear
- You also don’t need to bother with a burger press to form patties since we’ll be pressing them directly when cooking
- Heat a cast iron griddle or skillet on high heat either on your stovetop or grill. If you don’t have any cast iron to work with (shame on you – go get some!) you can use aluminum or steel cookware.
- NOTE: Don’t use non stick cookware since it can’t handle the high temperatures and will not only damage the non stick coating but can off gas toxic fumes that can cause flu like symptoms.
- Once the cooking surface is super hot, drop the ball of meat onto it and press down with an extremely large and sturdy metal spatula or a bacon press
- Continue to press for about a minute and allow to cook briefly after releasing
- Flip and briefly cook on the other side if you like but it isn’t necessary
What is a bacon press?
A bacon press is just a heavy flat metal weight with a handle that is used to keep bacon flat while it is cooking. It’s great for helping bacon cook evenly as well as keeping your bacon flat. It’s also a great tool to have for smashing burgers.
How to use a press to make burger patties
Making burgers at home so often just doesn’t stack up to the pros when we go out to eat at a decent burger joint. I’m spoiled for choice where I live. There’s a SmashBurger and Shake Shack within walking distance and a Five Guys not too much further away. All 3 make a great burger. Up until recently I’d always struggled to make anything that came even close to what I could get at those places. I’ve finally been able to get there with the smashed burger technique. So, we find that a burger press and pressing a burger are 2 very different things. A burger press is all about making a consistent burger that will cook the same as the next. Pressing a burger is all about getting a proper sear on the burger and maximizing flavor in exchange for being able to cook to a specific temperature.