The wielder of mighty Mjolnir, Thor himself, would be hard pressed to find a better kitchen tool for his bbq arsenal than that of a swine-emblazoned Bacon Press.
You may be thinking, do I really need a bacon press? Yes, yes you do. And, you don't need to be a Norse God to benefit from owning the most enchanted of all grill tools.
There are distinct benefits to using a grill press. For starters, the bacon weight will add some heft, allowing the bacon strips to cook evenly. It will also keep the bacon flat, which will reduce curling. However, the biggest benefit to using a bacon press is the reduction in splatter. Trust us, your forearms will thank you for the purchase.
The protein cooks faster than the fat renders. This happens because a fry pan will only apply heat to one side of the meat, unlike the even application that an oven provides. This is why you need the weight, to provide heat to both sides of the rashers simultaneously. An added benefit is a reduction in overall fuel (gas/electricity/firewood) consumption and in overall cooking time. No one wants to sit around waiting for cooked bacon. They want it, and they want it now!
You may be wondering, how do I care for a bacon press? Care comes from seasoning, cleaning, and storing your bacon press properly. Cast iron cookware requires seasoning. You will need vegetable oil, a cast iron skillet, a rag/paper towel, and a half hour of your time. During the process, you will want to run your stove fan to remove any smoke. Also, don't use a frying pan with a teflon coating, as the teflon will scratch the cast iron press.
The seasoning process is as follows:
The cleaning process:
The cleaning process is less involved. Hand wash the press in hot water and dry thoroughly. Hand towels and paper towels are acceptable. You don't want to use detergents as they will ruin the cast iron.
As for storage, there is only one rule:
Keep your bacon weight within arm's reach of your stove or grill at all times.
A meat press is one of those handy gadgets that you never knew you needed until you had one. And, if you don't keep one in stock on your countertop, you're missing out. Beyond cooking bacon, a cast iron press is good for grilling hamburgers, making homemade quesadillas and tortillas, and, serving as a makeshift panini press. It will even help you pan-sear veggies. So kiss your Breville goodbye, your new steak weight demands satisfaction.
Your typical cooking situation is the most important factor when buying a bacon weight. Will you be cooking with a grill pan? Will you be outside on your patio standing at the barbecue grill? Bacon cookers need to weigh in on a few key factors before tossing a new press on the ol' credit card. Another thing to consider is packability. If you are going camping or renting a ski house (places where mass quantities of bacon get cooked), then bringing along a 3lb heavy metal pig (heh, heavy metal!) might not fit into your plans.
Look for presses and related products that are made out of cast iron. They are a little extra work, but well worth it in the long run. Your next best bet is stainless steel, followed by aluminum.
A wooden handle should be top of mind when acquiring steak weight because a wood handle does not conduct heat. The stainless steel spring handle press isn't too bad, you just may have to wear an oven mitt or use a potholder if you're cooking for long enough.
It really depends on the shape. There are rectangular presses, round weights, and even unique shapes, like the Norpro porcine-shaped press. Rectangular presses generally keep a 4 inch side, along with a with a range of 6 to 8+ inches for the other. Round weights come in 7, 8, and even 9 inch dimensions.
As low as 8oz and up to a couple of pounds. The Chef's Press keeps the weight low (8oz) because they are stackable. The big pig-shaped presses can come in upwards of nearly 3lbs.