How we tested
We’re always careful to shape patties gently since compressing and overworking the meat turn it tough, but we wondered if a burger press could make the job easier and the results more consistent. We tried out five models, priced from $6.90 to $22.17, making burgers of every size allowed by each press. Those designed like a waffle iron or tortilla press—load ground meat and press down the top to produce the patty—squished the meat, splattering it across the counter or onto our clothes, and the resulting patties had to be peeled from the press with a spatula and then reshaped by hand. It was no surprise that the resulting burgers were tough.
One model fared better. Made by the same manufacturer as our favorite adjustable measuring cup, its clear plastic barrel and plunger design works much the same way: Twist and lock the plunger to produce a 1/4-, 1/3-, or 1/2-pound burger; loosely pack meat into the barrel; and then push to eject the patty. Though the handling of the meat was notably gentle and produced tender burgers, the plunger required significant force, and meat clung to the crevices. Worse, ink markings on the plunger rubbed off onto the patties. We’ll pass on the press and just use our hands.