How Long Should You Leave A Grill Press On Food?

For meals in which you would like your food to have perfectly seared grill marks and be evenly cooked, a grill press can become your secret culinary weapon. Yet as easy as it might seem to wield these handy metal tools, a bit of finesse is required. Knowing exactly when to remove the press from the surface of your sizzling ingredients can mean the difference between an aesthetically pleasing cut of steak and a sad, deflated mass of disappointment.

The weight of a grill press will flatten whatever ingredient is beneath the tool as it cooks, and heat will be distributed more evenly when compared to a piece of meat that has simply been slapped onto a grill. With the added compression of a grill press, your overall cooking time will be reduced — as much as 30% — so you'll want to stand by as your dinner heats up. Instead of placing the grill press on your proteins and sturdy vegetables and walking away, watch the heat of the flames and adjust for the thickness of your ingredients as your fillets and shanks sizzle on the grill. Ideally, you'll want to leave the press in place for a few minutes, then remove to flip.

A faster route to lots of flavor

Grill presses are ideal for heartier meat and fillets, yet flakey fish and less dense burger patties can crumble beneath the weight of a press. Consider using the culinary tool to quicken cooking time for thicker pieces of meat, meat alternatives, and veggies like bell peppers and asparagus. With the even weight of the press, your ingredients will be cooked and ready to serve with extra time to set the table. 

These handy devices aren't just to be used on grills, either. Chef's presses can be set on top of foods that are placed to cook in cast iron pans and skillets. The same principle applies, however: After placing the weighted press onto any cooking ingredients, keep careful watch. Food will brown more quickly than without the added weight applied. Similar to watching food cook on your backyard grill, observe the surface of your food turning golden brown in your pan, then flip when ready to make a two-sided sear. Dinner will be ready faster than you'd expect.