With the great success of the Pressburger chain, where they cook the burgers on both sides at once, in a big press, we wondered if we could do something like that at home.
Well, we have a sandwich grill where both sides are heated, so we tried to cook our burgers on it. Our grill is a Cuisinart Griddler, but any sandwich grill will do.
We set the grill to 375˚ F, and let it heat up. Then we buttered a couple of hamburger buns and toasted their insides on the griddle, and then set them aside to keep warm.
Then we weighed out two burgers. We like our burgers at a little more than ¼ pound, so we weighed two lumps of meat to about 4.25 oz. Then we seasoned them with salt and pepper and put a little pat of butter on each one.
Then we flipped the two of them onto the griddle and closed the lid, pressing down on the meat to form it into patties. We set a timer for 1 minute and opened the grill. If you like them a little darker, 90 seconds is plenty.
We checked the interior temperature with an instant-read thermometer, finding it already about 152˚F. We put a slice of cheese on one and let it cook another 15 seconds or so and then put them both on buns.
The burgers were tender and juicy, and delicious. By cooking both sides at once, you loose less moisture and get a moister burger!
They were so good, we’ll probably continue to cook them this way.
But what if you have a crowd? We’d suggest toasting all your buns ahead of time and keeping them warm, while you cook the burgers 2 or 3 at a time. Since they take only a minute, you can have them all on the table before the first one comes off the gas grill!
Of course, if we’re in a hurry, we’ll still go to Pressburger!
Pressburger quietly opened in Wilton last week and more people are finding it every day. This is the third Pressburger in Connecticut: they also have stores in Norwalk and New Canaan. The menu is fairly simple: build-your-own burgers, a few specialty burgers, hot dogs and grilled cheese. But they are all prepared to order on the spot. They anticipate adding a few more items in the future.
So what is a Pressburger? They start with fist sized balls of fresh ground beef, lay them on the grill and close the lid, pressing the meat into a patty. This amounts to cooking the burger on both sides at once, and sealing in the flavor more effectively. This is shown in the pictures of the press in use and what the press looks like when they use it. That latter photo is from the Taylor Company web site. They add the cheese shortly before they taken them off the press grill.
While the burgers are cooking, they grill the Martin’s potato rolls on the open griddle, and then ask you which toppings you want. There are about a dozen free choices (Lettuce, Tomato, Raw Onion, Pickled Red Onion, Grilled Onion, Pickles, Pickled Cucumbers Jalapeños, Pickled Jalapeños, Dill Pickle Relish, Potato Chips, Hot Cherry Peppers, Old Bay Seasoning, Pickled Carrots) and a few specialty toppings (Thick Cut Bacon, Chili, Grilled Mushrooms, Sauerkraut, Cheese Sauce, Onion Crunch) that cost extra.
You also have a choice of quite a few free sauces (House Sauce [Chipotle Aioli], Mayo, Sriracha, Sriracha Aioli, Ketchup, Yellow Mustard, Honey Mustard, Dijon Mustard, Spicy Brown Mustard, BBQ, Smoky BBQ Aioli, Buffalo Sauce, Old Bay Seasoning, Malt Vinegar).
Then they wrap the burger and you pay and go. Or you can eat there, as a number of people were doing when we visited.
In addition to beef burgers, you can order Veggie burgers and Beyond Meat burgers, and a gluten free bun or a lettuce wrap. Hot dogs also come in beef, chicken or Veggie.
Their menu includes a house salad, kale Caesar salad and banana pudding or whoopie pies for dessert, as well as four flavors of milkshakes. You can select from a number of specialty beverages from a chilled display or get one of the Coke products from a fountain dispenser.
So, how are these burgers? We’ve been there twice and are pretty impressed with food, service and the pleasant staff. But that’s not enough. How do they compare with the competition?
To find out, we bought a single burger from Five Guys, one from McDonalds and one from the Wilton Pressburger, all within 30 minutes and took them home to compare. We also weighed each of the three patties. Their cooked weight was
Pressburger — 2.36 oz
Five Guys – 2.01 oz
McDonalds – 1.13 oz
Pressburger wins. Our taste test of slices of the three burgers made it clear, that Pressburger also tasted the best. Pricewise, Pressburgers are competitively priced, with single patties for $6.99 (plus $1.00 for cheese). A similar Five Guys is $7.89 (plus $1.10 for cheese), and the teeny McDonald’s burger is $1.49. Fries at Pressburger are $4.99 while those at Five Guys are $5.99, and at McDonalds are $2.99.
As far as fries go, McDonald’s always receives high praise, but in fact it isn’t very long before they are limp and soggy. And while Five Guys gives you enough fries to fill a Motor Home, they deteriorate in just a few minutes. The crinkle cut Pressburger fries were still warm and tasty even an hour later.
Pressburger fries are cooked on the spot from frozen crinkle cut potatoes. And as Kenji Lopez-Alt has reported, frozen fries are actually better, because the ice crystals improve the surface of the fries when they are cooked. They also offer sweet potato fries
We think that Pressburger is a winner and are happy to have one so close by in Wilton!
A Patty Melt is the classier diner version of a cheeseburger, and you can find recipes galore. Rather then using a standard hamburger bun, the Patty Melt used bread, usually rye, and they generally use Swiss Cheese and top the burger with caramelized onions. The version published by The Seasoned Mom even suggests adding Russian dressing and sharp cheddar.
The Food Network version from Ree Drummond adds Worcestershire sauce and Simply Recipes adds apple cider vinegar and suggests mustard.
But the one I really liked the best is the Serious Eats version by Kenji Lopez-Alt. In his version, he adds American Cheese as well as Swiss, both made up of a number of torn up slices of cheese.
Our recipe is a small variation on Lopez-Alt’s recipe, where we speed things up by using our electric griddle. Lopez-Alt suggest just using a cast-iron frying pan, but this limits you to one sandwich at a time, where on a griddle you could make 4,6 or even 8 sandwiches at a time! And making the caramelized onions is way easier on the griddle.
Ingredients for 2 sandwiches
2 hamburger patties (about 4.5 oz)
6 Tb butter
4 slices rye bread (swirled)
3-4 slices Swiss cheese torn into pieces
3-4 slices American cheese torn into pieces
1 medium to large yellow onion, sliced
4 oz water
The whole trick to making these sandwiches is grilling the inside of the bread on the griddle to keep the bread from becoming soggy.
Heat the griddle to hot (375˚ F)
Melt 1-2 Tb of butter and place the 4 slices face down in the butter until they are brown, Don’t toast the other side yet. Remove the bread to a warm plate.
Make two somewhat oblong patties, weighing bit more than 4 oz. (This is a great use for a little kitchen scale.)
Melt 2 oz of butter, and cook the patties until they are brown. Add more butter and flip the burgers and let them brown until the patties are at about 140˚ F inside. Remove the patties and keep them warm. Leave and meet juices or residue on the griddle.
Add 2 more oz of butter and add the sliced onion. Cook the onions until they soften. Add an ounce or two of water and cook them down. This will aid in browning, and incorporate any meat residue with the onions.
When that water cooks down, add another ounce or two and cook the onions down again, until the are soft, brown and caramelized.
Lay out the 4 bread slices, browned side up, and add pieces of torn up Swiss cheese to two of the slices, and pieces of torn up American cheese to the other two
Place the burger on the American cheese and the browned onions on the Swiss cheese.
Carefully close the sandwiches, and add about 1 Tb butter to the griddle. Toast the sandwiches on that side, and remove them.
Add another Tb of butter and toast the other side of the sandwiches on the griddle in this new butters.
Remove, cut each sandwich in half and serve at once.
You will have melty American cheese and softly melted Swiss surrounding your delicious burger. Serve with French fries.