Everybody adores homemade burgers, but it sure can be tricky to get them right. Especially if you’re kneading the patties by hand! But isn’t there a better way? What about a burger press? How easily can you use one of those?
Burger presses are very simple to use. Put the raw meat into the base of the press, then press the lid down tightly but gently. Twist the cover to separate the patty – that’s all!
Making a perfectly formed meat patty is that simple with a burger press. Of course in order to get a truly great burger out of this, there’s much more to it and you’ll require some prep work. We’ll get into the details in the rest of the article.
What Is A Burger Press
You can think of a burger press as being much like a cookie cutter, but specifically made for meat. It’s a kitchen utensil that’s primarily used to make meat patties, ensuring that each one is consistent in size and shape.
Most burger presses are made of either plastic or, for more expensive ones, stainless steel. They generally are round in shape with a circular cover referred to as a press. The press is shoved down onto the ground meat, and is able to mold it into the patty shape.
There’s no discrimination between ingredients here. A burger press will work just fine on any kind of ground meat and many other things like veggies. That means it’s useful regardless of what kind of burger you’re looking for – beef, turkey, sausage, veggie et cetera.
If you’re looking to regularly make homemade burgers, a burger press is a good investment. Especially considering they’re quite cheap, basic ones can be bought online for less than ten dollars!
For those new to using burger presses, you’ll be happy to know it’s a very simple process. Mostly this section will just be going over prepping the meat beforehand.
Before anything else, ensure that the ingredients themselves are up to snuff! Ideally, the mince should have a decent amount of fat content, about 20% or higher; this will help it hold together better. A frosty temperature also helps, keep it in the fridge for a while first.
After that, it’s time to mix in the other ingredients. Seasonings and stuff like onions and garlic go in at this stage, but the specifics are up to you. You could use a mixture of different meats for a more diverse flavor, it’s a good time to experiment.
Just make sure that whatever you use is well chopped. Optionally, breadcrumbs and a beaten egg can help the mix hold together.
How To Use A Burger Press
After the mix is completed, you’re now ready to actually use the burger press, and it might be the simplest part of the process! Spoon your mix into the base of the press, press down lightly with the lid – go slow here, no need to force it.
Give it a twist to cut, and there you go, the job has been done! You should have a perfectly sized patty now. Pull out the base to more easily move the meat from the press to the pan or grill. From there you cook it the same way you always would.
Benefits Of Using A Burger Press
Now let’s get into some of the key benefits that come with using a burger press, as opposed to making a burger patty by hand.
This is by far the most obvious benefit here, but one of the most useful as well. You might not be too conscious of this, but intimate contact with your hands can actually sully the quality of meat. That’s primarily because of the body heat we radiate.
Our warm hands can cause the proteins in the meat to denature, spoiling the texture. Packing raw meat this way can turn it into a very mushy and less-then-appetizing texture when it comes time to chow down.
Keeps Raw Meat Cold
This primarily applies with metal burger presses. They keep well in the cold so you can store them in the fridge, and they can in turn help keep the meat cold. You’d ideally like to keep that meat chilled until it’s time to cook it after all.
That sounds a bit totalitarian but in this context, uniformity isn’t a bad thing at all! That’s a key thing with burger presses for sure, each patty can be made to the same dimensions. The same weight and diameter, making them nearly identical to the eye.
There’s always going to be some minute differences but they’ll look the same at a glance, giving the burgers a more professional appearance together. Plus, more uniform patties will cook much more evenly and should come to temperature nearly simultaneously when grilled.
Burger presses will be a big help when it comes to achieving the correct weight, whatever that may be for you. This is because they tend to come with measurements and other features that make it easy to get to a certain weight. That means around a quarter-pound to half pound, normally.
Generally speaking, there’s not much cleanup to speak of when it comes to making use of a burger press. This can be aided with the use of greaseproof paper, which we’ll get into more later.
But even without that, cleaning up the smooth surface of the burger press afterwards is pretty easy. And use of it should make sure that the raw meat is confined to a relatively small and manageable area.
We mentioned making use of eggs and breadcrumbs to hold the meat together earlier, which isn’t a bad idea. But the truth is, that’s optional if you’re using a burger press. Truth is, it should do the job just fine by itself of keeping patties perfectly consistent and tightly packed.
And they should come out looking great too. There’s really few things more glorious for a chef to see than a perfectly shaped and even burger patty.
Why Should You Use A Burger Press
Just to reaffirm those above benefits, let’s look at some of them again and ask how easy it’d be to achieve these results by hand.
Even, Uniform Patties
Try as you might, a handmade burger patty just isn’t going to reach near the same uniformity as using a press. There’s no shame in that, even the best would struggle to replicate the results, and it would certainly take a lot longer.
With a burger press, the work is essentially done for you. And it’s done quickly and efficiently, making for perfect uniformity. This is especially necessary if you’re making multiples. On top of the reason we’ve stated before, it’s also a handy way to keep watch of just how much meat you’re using.
Getting the weight right is another thing that’d be very difficult to do by hand. Atleast, it is if you’re aiming to be exact. You’d need to measure it yourself, and continually adjust it until you’ve got it right. And it’s not always easy to gauge how much meat would be a quarter-pound, for example.
That’s another thing burger presses just plain do automatically, atleast many of them do. They’ll often have exact measurements printed as a guide, or have a setting on the handle that makes this even easier. One of the most complex steps turns into a no-brainer with a burger press.
Easy To Clean And Maintain
Anyone who has tried to work raw meat with their bare hands before can attest to what a mess it makes. Even if you do the job perfectly, you’ll still have to deal with the aftermath and it won’t be pretty! Raw meat can be pretty nasty and it can get all over the place.
As explained above, the burger press helps keep the meat in a small and controlled space. It does the job fast, ensuring minimal spillage. And the press itself is made to be easily cleaned.
More Compact Patties
A big issue many will face is the burger patties breaking apart to make a mess after the burgers are served. It goes without saying this is not ideal, the meat is supposed to stay inside the bun! It’s the only way people can really enjoy it without wasting anything.
That’s a pretty hard thing to avoid when you’re packing meat by hand, a byproduct of how uneven they tend to be. Human hands just won’t match the even compacting that a burger press will accomplish. That’s not even getting into the texture deterioration that we discussed earlier.
And it makes the egg yolk and breadcrumb step optional. Many prefer the meat without this, as it’s a more pure taste and experience.
Eliminates The Need For You To Use Hands
Honestly, handling raw meat is a pretty nasty job in general, and it requires a lot of caution to keep this sanitary. You probably want to minimize how much you have to touch it, even before getting into the practical reasons we’ve been listing off. So eliminating the need for that is really its own major benefit!
Tips To Make Amazing Burgers
- Use cold meat, but obviously not frozen. Thaw the meat out first if need be.
- Avoid squishing the burgers, particularly if they’re stuffed.
- Don’t forget to properly season the patties before cooking!
- Make sure added ingredients are as small as can be. Ingredients like onion and garlic are best grated before use.
- Best to use meat that’s up to 20% fat. An easy way to manage that is to put in a ¼ cup of cold, cubed butter per pound of meat.
- Grill the burgers over direct heat at a medium-high temperature, from around 450°F to 500°F.
- Best cook time is about 5 to 7 minutes per side, flipping once or twice only.
- Use an instant-read BBQ thermometer to ensure the meat is thoroughly cooked. The target temperature is 160°F.
- Once the patty has been formed, chill them for about half an hour before beginning the cooking process.
- Wrap meat in greaseproof wax paper to ensure no sticking and less clean up than before.
- If freezing extra burgers, use wax paper to separate the patties.
Burger presses are a huge help if you’re looking to make homemade burgers, and are surprisingly easy to make. All the extra details here are necessities to making burgers, and you’d find yourself doing most of it even without the press.
Plus, it makes steps such as adding egg yolk and breadcrumbs much less necessary. The use of burger presses makes the whole process a lot faster and cleaner, and you’ll likely end up with a much better result! All in all, there’s a lot of reasons to recommend making use of a burger press.