Plus “How a Burger Press Works”
1. Use the right beef.
Use the best meat you can buy. Make sure it is fresh and use it within 48 hours. Use 85% lean, not super lean. A little fat makes for a juicer burger.
2. Make the patty right.
You want it the right size, uniform thickness, and compressed so that it holds together without being hard. It takes a hamburger press. A press will always make a better burger.
3. Season it right.
Add the seasoning before cooking. The salt will melt and soak into the meat as it cooks. It’s more uniformly seasoned than just surface seasoning. Many chefs knead the seasoning into the meat in bulk before forming the burgers. Seasoning the raw meat is just fine by me.
Often, I season with nothing but pepper and salt. I do like Colorado Cattle Company Original Steak and Burger Seasoning.
By the way, my favorite BBQ sauce these days is Pioneer Valley Apricot BBQ Sauce. I love the sweet taste of fruit in the sauce. It’s not tomato sauce with seasoning and thickeners.
4. Cook it right.
Don’t turn the meat more than once and don’t press the juice out with a spatula. Use a meat thermometer to tell how done it is—don’t tear the patty open.
Years ago a salty old chef taught me to test the doneness of steaks, burgers, and chicken breasts with my finger. He didn’t like poking holes in a good steak.
When meat cooks, it becomes firmer. Pressing the meat with the tip of your finger will, with experience, tell you how done it is. To learn how, begin by using a thermometer and poking with your finger. The thermometer tells you if it is really done but you quickly learn what a medium well burger or steak feels like. And it’s much less trouble than looking for your thermometer.
Here’s how your Burger Buddy works:
- Put a mound of meat on a sheet of plastic wrap or waxed paper.
- Push down with the press just enough to force the meat to the edges of the press.
- Lift up and push the center plunger to release the patty.
A uniform meat patty will drop on plastic wrap. Each patty will be four inches in diameter. A 3/8-inch thick patty will weigh 1/4 pound. A 1/2-inch thick patty will weigh 1/3 pound.
You can use a stuffed burger press to place cheeses sauces, peppers, and more between two layers of meat.