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A grill press is a flat weight, usually made of cast iron. It can also be made of other heavy materials such as glass and aluminum. There is a handle attached to the upper side of the flat weight. The concept behind a grill press is to keep food flat as it cooks and distribute heat evenly. Many grill presses have raised strips on the underside to impart grill marks to the food. Grill presses are sometimes known as steak weights or bacon presses. Although grill presses are often used on outside grills, they can also be employed inside with a skillet.
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Purchase a grill press that fits within the area of the skillet's bottom. Skillet diameters are measured at the rim, but the bottom is usually smaller.
Buy a preseasoned grill press or season a cast iron or cast aluminum press yourself by coating it with vegetable shortening, not oil, and heating it in a 325 degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, wipe the press to redistribute the shortening and put it back in the oven for an hour. If you do not season it, meat will stick to the press.
Place the skillet on the stove or grill. Place the grill press flat on the bottom of the skillet. Preheat the skillet to cooking temperature before you add the food.
Remove the grill press. The handles are generally designed to stay cool, but if the handle is made of metal, use a potholder to pick it up. Set the grill press on a heat-proof surface such as another burner of the stove or another area of the grill.
Place the food in the skillet. Many food items can be cooked this way, including steaks, pork chops, hamburgers, chicken halves or bacon strips. In addition, you heat and flatten a panini sandwich with a skillet and grill press.
Set the grill press on top of the food immediately. Cook the food to the desired doneness. Since the grill press is applying heat to the top of the food, the cooking time will be shorter.
Remove the press and let it cool completely. Clean it with paper towels only, unless food has stuck to it. In this case, wash with a sponge dipped in warm, soapy water. Do not submerge the press in water. This leads to rust.
Buy a grill press heavy enough for the food you want to cook. For example, lighter weight grill presses may be too light for flattening panini. Some grill presses are not big enough to cover entire strips of bacon. Round grill presses cover the bottoms of skillets more completely. Ridges or screw indentations on the bottom of grill presses can make it harder to clean them. Do not press down on the grill press. Pressing down on the food with force causes juices to run out and the food to become dry.