One of the messier kitchen prep chores involves turning a cold pile of raw ground beef into finished hamburgers ready for the grill or pan. As the meat and fat accumulates on your hands, it becomes increasingly difficult to produce uniform patties of roughly similar weight and thickness. Fortunately, there is a kitchen gadget called a burger press which can take much of the labor and mess out of creating uniform hamburger patties. A burger press may simply consist of a well-oiled metal ring or it could be a very elaborate pressing and stacking machine.
The press allows a cook to measure out raw hamburger meat and place it inside a standardized ring to create a uniform set of burger patties. A hamburger or other ground meat patty usually cooks more evenly when it is of a uniform thickness. A hand-pressed hamburger patty can become much thicker in the middle than the edges, which often results in a well-done burger with a raw center. By using a press, all of the meat's surface comes into contact with the heat source.
The simplest form of burger press could still involve some hands-on contact as the beef is pressed against the sides of a well-oiled metal or plastic ring. Pressing rings can be purchased in various sizes, such as quarter pound, third pound and half pound. A more elaborate burger press may allow the user to drop rounded balls of ground beef into oiled chambers and use a hinged press to mold them into uniform patties. Pre-cut squares of butcher or patty paper can be placed between patties to keep them separated after pressing.
There is also another kitchen aid which may be described as a burger press, but its function has more to do with cooking than preparation. As anyone who has cooked a hamburger at home can attest, it often takes a significant amount of time for a burger to reach a state of doneness. Restaurants usually don't have the luxury of time, so they often use specialized equipment to speed up the cooking process of popular items. One piece of equipment is called a grill or burger press.
Much like a bacon press, a grill or burger press is usually made from cast iron or other heavy metal. The flat end of the burger press is laid on top of the hamburger patty as it cooks on a heated grill. The weight of the press does force some of the excess fat out of the meat, but it also keeps more of the patty's surface in contact with the heat. The press also provides insulation to force heat back into the patty, so the burger cooks faster. This is how a restaurant can serve a well-done hamburger in half the time of a similar burger cooked at home.