The nice folks from Burger Pocket Press sent me one of their stuffed burger makers to try out and review. In spite of being warned that I don’t do a lot of burgers, prefer to smoke them instead of grill them, and am generally skeptical of additional gadgets that take up space in the kitchen (where we already have way too many gadgets). This must make them nice folks that are comfortable with their product, because they went ahead and sent one in spite of being warned.
I’ll let you go to their site and get the history of the Burger Pocket Press yourself. While you are there, you can watch their videos, get some recipe ideas for stuffing your own burgers, and find links to some of the other reviews that have been done. And for all you FCC types out there that might be personally concerned about my opinion of this product, go back and read that sentence about them sending me one. For free. Now go away and bother someone else.
Now that Big Brother is off elsewhere saving the world from bloggers with bias, lets get on with the first part of this review. It’s the first part, because my tests today led me to conclude that to be fair and compare it with the monster stuffed burgers I made awhile back I would have to smoke them, and tonight was about grilling.
Opening the box led to the discovery of four colorful pieces of dishwasher-safe plastic and a small set of instructions. Which not surprisingly to those that know me, I immediately set aside without reading. I have to admit I did read over the instructions on their web site at some time in the past; as it turns out I probably should have read them again before using the press as I ended up having to refer to them anyway. So much for my street credentials as a former engineer…
The four pieces consist of the Bowl, the Pocket Press (fits tightly in the bowl), the Ring (looks suspiciously like some plumbing fittings I’ve seen in Home Depot, except for the color), and the Flat Press (which fits tightly in the ring). The Ring also fits in the Bowl without going all the way to the bottom, which turns out to be important a few steps into the assembly process.
The idea is to take about 1/4 pound of meat to form each of the patties. This small piece of information was noticeably missing from their instructions, but something I derived (after the fact) from reading their recipes online. First you form the top of the burger by loading up the Ring over a piece of wax paper and then pressing it with the Flat Press. A bit of twisting is involved to flatten it out and distribute the meat with it, but when you are done you have a nice even flat burger patty that is just the right size for most commercially-baked burger buns on the market.
For those that want to crank out a bunch of evenly formed burgers made from their own ground meat this portion of the press works as advertised; quickly and precisely. Now that I think about it, you could also adjust the thickness of the burgers simply by adding more or less meat. I assume there is a bottom limit, but the top limit might be a pretty large burger. I might have to give this a try at some point in the future…
The next step is to load up the Bowl with some meat, then press it into a “Pocket Burger” (their words, not mine). Unfortunately I neglected to take a picture of this step, so you will have to imagine a burger patty with a 1/2 inch depression in the middle and vertical sides about 1/2 inch thick. Into this you are instructed (if you actually read the instructions) to put your stuffings. Tonight I used chopped mushrooms, diced green chilies, and a Mexican shredded cheese blend.
The next step is to press the Ring down into the bowl (with the bottom burger patty and fillings still in it), then fit the flat burger from step one into the Ring. The last step is to use the Flat Press to squish it all together, being careful not to press too hard. Removing the assembled burger was pretty easy; it involved twisting the Ring while holding the Bowl stationary. The burger sticks to the inside of the Ring and can be easily transferred to a plate while the other burgers are assembled.
The assembled burgers displayed a need for more sealing around the edges, something pointed out by one of the other reviewers, and something I avoided doing as the goal was to touch the meat as little as possible (at least for forming purposes).
The assembled burgers went on Bubba Ho-Keg running at about 400°F. I purposely kept the temps lower as I was concerned about the insides cooking properly (and I hate charred burgers). When it came time to flip the burgers, it appeared that some additional separation was occurring.
They did seem to seal up ok after being flipped. I didn’t notice a lot of leakage, in spite of the fact you could still see the obvious separation in the burger halves.
And for anyone out there that might be wondering about them taters, those are original recipe Trashbag Potatoes. It turns out that Costco is stocking the McCormick’s Lemon Pepper Salt again, and I stocked up. But back to the burgers…
When all was said and done, the burgers turned out pretty good, in spite of my preference for the smoked variety. As for the Burger Pocket Press, it’s a handy little gadget for those that are so inclined. As I mentioned about, it’s great for stamping out uniform flat patties. I was less than impressed with how the burgers sealed, but I suspect that might have something to do with using barely thawed ground beef. I suppose it wouldn’t have hurt me to take a few extra seconds per burger to work the sides together after the burgers came out of the press.
Having said all this, the jury is still out for me. This gadget has its positives and negatives, and I want to give it one more shot before passing judgement one way or the other. So stay tuned, as I am on vacation this week and when I get to feeling better have plans on smoking some pork butts. Sounds like a perfect opportunity to use the extra space on the WSM for a stuffed smoked burger or two.
Who knows, I might even read the directions a bit closer next time and watch the videos. I don’t want my wife accusing me of being too dumb to figure out how to use four pieces of plastic, especially when they are similar colors to those used by Fisher Price in their toys…