Some of the products reviewed here are country specific and may not be available in the Amazon US store
After you’ve got your barbecue grill and your tools, your heat resistant gloves and your meat thermometer, some of you might be considering buying some accessories to enhance your barbecue experience. After all, feeding family and friends with great BBQ food, is hard work. To do it properly calls for some additional equipment. Not expensive equipment, we hasten to add. But good quality equipment.
You can buy burger patties ready-made from your local butcher or supermarket. Yet somehow, they seem to cost more than the same quantity of mincemeat, even if they just pure meat. Or they may contain some rusk or filler. They might even have some preservative or be “gas flushed” and “packed in a protective atmosphere.” But what they don’t usually have is seasoning, spices, herbs or flavoring.
Now of course you can make or buy sauces to put inside the pun with the burger. But as we’ve said ad nauseum here at mybbq.life, the flavor should be cooked into the food.
Thus, in the case of burgers, we would advise you to add some herbs, spices and seasoning as a matter of course, but not to stop there. We would add grated onion and maybe a little bit of grated carrot or even celery. After all, it is a well-known fact that celery adds a note of sharpness to the food. Or if you’re really brave, you could even try grated horseradish - my personal favorite.
And why stop even there? The vegetables will add flavor and zing to your burger, but they might make it a bit loose and prone to disintegrate. So, what do you add to it to hold it together?
Well the bricks in houses are held together by mortar or cement. The traditional “cement” in cooking is usually eggs. But eggs can make the mixture looser or gooey, so it needs something else, more solid. Just as Portland cement is actually a dry ingredient that is combined with the right amount of water to make it an effective binding agent, the real binding agent in burgers is rusk, breadcrumbs or (our favorite) matzo meal. This is combined with egg to bind the meat together. (See Tips and tricks: So, not your ordinary burger then)
But once you’ve mixed these ingredients together, how do you press the burger into the right shape? And do you make it dense enough not to fall apart/ You can try to do it with your bare hands, or a spoon and a flat surface. And if the mixture is thick and dry enough (that rusk, breadcrumb or matzo meal), it might just work. But a better way is with a proper burger press. In this section, we review what we think are the ten best burger presses on the market. All presses we review here are cheap compared to the cost of your BBQ or grill. And it’s worth those little extras.
This is an excellent, robust, easy-to-use burger press. You just put in a sheet of separator paper, put the meat into the round-shaped tray, close the lid and press the spring-loaded plunger. That’s it. The burger is made. Then you just open the press and the plunger pops out to free your burger. It’s that simple and straightforward and it works a treat!
We’re not sure if the embossed shape of bull horns is really a useful added feature It comes over as more of a gimmick. Firstly, they actually looked more like antlers. Secondly if one makes the burgers thin, then the embossing can be a liability, because it weakens the structure of the already thin burger.
However, this leads to a more positive point. With this press, it is very easy to adjust the thickness of the burger. In theory, you can make burgers up to 1½ inches thick, although in our experience, thin burgers cook best and absorb the most flavor from the smoke. I’m not necessarily suggesting making them ¼ inch thick. But we’ve found ⅜ inch to be perfect for getting the maximum flavor without running the risk of the burger falling apart.
In fact, with a pure beef burger with 20% fat it can hold together even at the minimum thickness. With 10% fat, it was bit more iffy. But even then, if you press hard and squeeze the air out, you get better results. Also remember that if you chill (not freeze) your burgers for at least half an hour beforehand (2 hours is ideal), they tend to stay together better on the grill.
You can of course create larger burgers, weighing in a whopping 10 ounces. But the problem is that these take longer to cook through, and even when you do, the flavor is mostly on the outside. And of course, the diameter is of course fixed: 4½ inches (11.5 cm). I mention this because there seemed to be some confusion as to whether the diameter was 11 cm or 12 cm.
If you are one to work to a prep sheet or formula, rather than a calibrated eyeball, it is easy to get the weight right. There are markings on the handle and you can just follow them.
Made of heavy-duty aluminum, it is built to last. To clean it thoroughly, it is best to unscrew the handle. This ensures that otherwise inaccessible parts will be cleaned properly.
We highly recommend this burger press.
Deluxe Stuffed Burger Press with 60 FREE Burger Papers & EXCLUSIVE Recipe eBook. All in One Burger Maker, Slider Press & Hamburger Patty Press, BBQ Grilling & Gourmet Kitchen Tool – By Master Yeti
Until we tried the Patty Buddy, we had never heard of sliders. That is not to say that we hadn’t heard of mini-burgers. We just weren’t familiar with the American term sliders here on the east side of the pond.
This clever little, inexpensive tool set enables you to make ¼ pounders, ½ pounders or mini-burgers (AKA sliders). You can also use it to make stuffed burgers.
The sliders are about two inches across and when put into similarly small buns are just right for tiny hands and little mouths. The Slider Tray can in fact be used in two ways. It is designed so that you can simply use the palm of your hand to press the mincemeat down into it. But as an alternative, you can place the Slider Tray inside the main press and close the main press as you would for a normal-sized burger.
Another good feature of the patty Buddy is that it comes with an ebook containing 20 recipes. This ebook can be loaded onto a smartphone or tablet for you to look at while you’re cooking.
And of course, you’re not limited to meat with the Patty Buddy. You can make shaped fishcakes out of it. We used it to make both boiled and fried gefilte fish cakes (a Jewish delicacy). In fact, you can even use it to make confectionery!
Just to get you started, the makers also kindly supply you with 60 burger papers for your initial efforts. And of course, more supplies are readily available (see our review of Consumables).
Although not as powerful or flexible as the Weston (above) the Patty Buddy is easy-to-use and has one or two bonus features that the Weston is lacking - such as the Slider Tray.
As an entry level product, we recommend the Patty Buddy.
This hamburger maker is a relatively simple affair, almost like a mortar and pestle. That is, you put the mincemeat in the circular mold, put the lid on and press down with the handle. A simple manual appliance that does the job without bells and whistles, or gimmicks.
The interior ridges give the patties a seared effect and also prevented them from sticking to the grill. And while we’re on the subject, this strong aluminum construction has a non-stick coat so the patties don’t to stick to it and come out easily. The burgers themselves are 4½ inches across.
The handle is made of solid plastic and can be detached for easy storage. The press is dishwasher safe and should be washed before first use.
We had not heard of Allezola before. They are apparently a French brand with a very good reputation in kitchen tools.
This solidly-constructed burger press is similar to the Weston. Made from aluminum, with a non-stick coating, it has a similar screw mechanism to adjust the size of the burgers. It is slightly more expensive than the Weston, but they throw in a hundred wax disks. They also throw in a recipe card.
The burgers are 12 cm in diameter, with a variable thickness. The press is easy to use - like the Weston and the results were about the same. We recommend that you chill the burgers for at least half an hour before cooking time, to give them a chance to solidify and rest.
The GHOLE is another simple burger press following in the mold (excuse the pun!) of the Allezola. A non-stick mold made of die-cast aluminum (we’re not sure if it’s pressure-die or gravity-die) and a plastic handle. Also, as with the Allezola, the ribbed pattern gives the grilled burgers a seared effect and reduces the risk of them sticking to the grill.
The whole thing comes apart for easy cleaning and it is dishwasher safe. The makers even throw in 100 wax paper disks for separating the raw patties, before cooking. The patties can also be stored with the wax paper in the fridge or freezer.
The diameter of the burgers is 11 cm, provided you fill the tray, which is recommended. The maximum thickness of the burgers is 2 cm. Also, remember to wash the GWHOLE before first time use.
The comes with a 60-day money back guarantee and a lifetime warranty and the price is eminently reasonable.
In some ways, the Zyliss is like the Weston and the Oliphant, in that it has a hinged mechanism for opening and closing. On the other hand, it is made of plastic, which is somewhat flimsier than aluminum.
It consists of a compartment with a closable lid and a pull-out tray on the inside. It is the pull-out tray that makes the Zyliss so interesting. Instead of a spring-loaded mechanism, you just lift out the tray. Of course, if you use cellophane or wax paper, this shouldn’t really be necessary. But the pull-out tray gives you an added option and means you don’t even need paper. With this, you could literally form the patties right next to the grill and put them on directly
Also, because both the lid and the pull-out tray have a ribbed surface, this gives you the option of having grid lines on both sides of the burger - very important to minimize the risk of the burger sticking to the grill. And while we’re on the subject of sticking, although the tray is non-stick, it might be a good idea to put a little oil on it, and spread it, before using, to stop the patty sticking to the tray itself. This of course doesn’t apply if you’re using wax paper, cellophane or cling-wrap. Also, it is a good idea to chill the mince beforehand, as chilled meat is less likely to stick.
To vary the thickness, you just twist the lid. This gives you a choice between quarter pounders to half-pounders or anything in between. There is an arrow and marks on the lid to help you get it right. Best of all, this hinged, push down mechanism really compresses the patty nicely, despite the plastic construction.
The Zyliss also has a few other clever tweaks, like non-slip feet, to stop it sliding if you don’t press down directly. It can be assembled and disassembled for cleaning and is dishwasher safe. In fact, when we first got it, we found it to be a little stiff to open and close. But that is probably better (from the point of view of longevity) than the alternative.
It comes with a 5-year guarantee and a recipe book with some very interesting ideas, including some vegetarian recipes.
If you want to make a lot of mini-burgers (AKA “sliders”), this is the tool for you. It can produce three 6cm sliders at a time, weighing about 3 ounces each, perfect for little mouths and little hands. It is a simple two-part, non-hinged mechanism, like the Allezola and the GHOLE, except that this one can do three baby burgers at one time, instead of one normal-sized burger.
Like its bigger brothers, the tray is ribbed for that seared effect. Also, like the others of its kind, it was made of die-cast aluminum. It is easy to clean, with hot soapy water, but we wouldn’t recommend putting the press in the dishwasher, because it has a wooden handle and the heat and water would cause discoloration. The base can of course be put in the dishwasher.
One thing we must say about this mini-burger press: although the burgers it produces are small, the construction of the tool itself is very strong and sturdy.
This is a spring-loaded plastic burger press. It is easy to use, but obviously not as sturdy as the die-cast metal varieties. The maximum depth of the raw burgers is 2 cm, while the diameter is 9.5 cm (or 3¾ inches). However, once you cook them, they shrink to about 3½ inches (just under 9 cm).
The unit can be dismantled easily for cleaning. This is very important, because bits of meat do get pushed up behind the pressing mechanism and if you are too lazy to dismantle it to clean it, then this is not the burger press for you. But to those who are too lazy - and who take the trouble to read the instructions - it is actually very easy to pull of the plunger. This exposes the inner parts which can then be cleaned easily. And if you really want to make sure it is clean, it is also dishwasher safe.
It also comes with 100 wax discs to get you started.
While not as tough in its construction as the die-cast aluminum presses, this simple little gadget is a good way to get you started, before you graduate to something more hard-wearing.
This is a nice-looking, but essentially very simple device. It works ok, producing quarter pounders and half-pounders. But it is made of plastic with a transparent top and black plastic base. This makes it hard to justify the price-tag. Admittedly it does have the Weber name - which counts for something. But the name should reflect a continuing commitment to quality and not merely rely on an existing long-established reputation.
On the plus side, it is dishwasher safe and easy to use.
In conclusion, we can recommend this product, we’re just not sure if we can recommend it in the UK, at the current price. Please note however, that in the USA it is priced at $9.99 (at the moment) and we can certainly recommend it at that price!
This is the big brother of the Weston single burger press we reviewed at the beginning. Or maybe we should call it the Big Daddy of all burger presses.
Like it’s little brother / son, it is a heavy-duty construction of die cast aluminum capable of making 4½ inch diameter burgers that vary in thickness from ¼ inch to 1½ inches. The thickness of the burgers is changed by a rotating, threaded nut.
The burger is produced, by closing the press on the meat and pressing down on the spring-loaded plunger. The spring-mechanism on the plunger also helps to ensure the easy release of the burger, although we do advise the use of wax paper as well. It is however easy to clean, even if you do not use wax paper.
For some reason, it does not come with a manufacturer’s warranty. But it is covered by Amazon’s returns policy. In any case, you are unlikely to have any trouble with it. The construction is solid and reliable and it is hard to imagine a sturdier or more robust burger press than this one.
Whether you actually need a double press is another matter. Unless you’re cooking for large groups, a single press will probably suffice. But one key advantage of this one is that if you want to make burgers of two thicknesses on a rolling (on demand) basis, this one enables you to do so. You can have each compartment set up for a different thickness and offer your guests a choice of two sizes for a quick turnaround as you serve up your burgers on demand.
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