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I'm a food writer, and this $20 Cuisinart press is the secret to summer burger success

I feel slightly ashamed to admit this in the midst of all the plant-based goodness at our fingertips, but I can't help craving a really good burger. If you've ever traveled to the West Coast, you're probably familiar with the In-N-Out burger chain, which is famous for its smash burgers, and for good reason. They're so flavorful (and dare we say addictive?) because said smashing puts more surface area in contact with the griddle, which creates a crisp, caramelized, mouthwatering crust. What's the best way to get that crust at home? With this handy burger press from Cuisinart! For just $20, you (or Dad — Sunday is Father's Day, FYI) can make burger history.

This cast iron six-inch press will give you the burger of your life in five minutes...flat. 

$18 at Amazon

All you need to achieve burger heaven is a cast iron skillet or griddle, this burger press, some parchment paper and some seasoned ground beef, and you're good to go. Once you've formed each loosely packed ball of meat, place a piece of parchment paper over the meat before smashing it down with the burger press on that screaming hot iron. You'll get crispy edges and a juicy center each and every time.

Cuisinart Smashed Burger Press
Make Dad the Man of La Plancha this summer with a little help from Cuisinart. (Photo: Amazon)

More than 27,000 Amazon reviewers have given the Cuisinart Smashed Burger Press their five-star seal of approval, so don't just take my word for it.

"You can't make smash burgers with a spatula," explained one happy customer. "This is a game changer."

"This little tool helps my grill/griddle master husband make THE best smashburgers!" according to one adoring spouse.

Another rave reviewer shares their thoughts on this tool's ease of use and amazing versatility: "It holds up very well and is super easy to clean up when you're done. I can’t stop using it now and wish I bought one a long time ago. Works great for bacon (covers the whole strip), burgers, sausage patties, chicken breast, even pork chops."

This five-star fan really sums it up, "This is the perfect burger press. They got it right. It has a completely flat bottom with no lip. I bought a different one which had the lip, and it was useless for making smash burgers. Model CISB-111. Smash away, burger lovers."

Isn't it time you got a handle on your burger-cooking game? 

$18 at Amazon

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The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.