This Christmas, my fiance' and I received the George Foreman GR144 grill. Having never owned an actual George Foreman before, I was actually somewhat excited to receive this, though my excitement seemed to pale in comparison to hers. Having owned a Hamilton Beach home grill before, I thought I knew what to expect with this, so despite my excitement, I was less than thrilled when she pulled it out of the box and requested that we go get steaks to cook on it and test it out. Now I'm all about having a steak dinner, but going to the grocery store in the middle of a snow storm wasn't at the top of my agenda, to say the least. Reluctantly agreeing though, I went out and purchased two New York strip steaks and brought them home to cook on our George Foreman GR144.
Recommend this product?
The first thing I noticed upon getting it ready was that unlike my old Hamilton Beach model, there wasn't a way to adjust the heat and that instantly made me wary. I read through the instruction book though, all the while she was fawning over how great she'd heard these things were, and finally came across an estimation of how long to cook our steaks for. It's worth noting that the instruction book that came with the grill was wonderful! It had cooking times for just about anything you could imagine putting on the grill, as well as detailed cleaning and operating instructions (not that it's complicated to operate).
After plugging it in and turning it on, I was pleased to see that it only took around 2 minutes to heat up. I placed the steaks on and began to wait. The instruction book said it would take approximately 6 minutes, but the steaks I'd selected were longer and thinner, so I assumed they would be done a bit quicker. It's also worth pointing out that the 2, 16 oz steaks I got, despite being wider and longer as opposed to short and thick, fit on this grill with plenty of room to spare. I may have even been able to fit a 3rd one on there if I squeezed them together a bit, and these were pretty big steaks. After about 4 1/2 minutes, I opened the grill to find 2 delicious looking, medium-well steaks waiting to be consumed (I wish I had opened the grill after perhaps 3 1/2 minutes, as I'm a medium rare kinda guy, but that's a different story).
After putting them on the plate, I noticed a rather large amount of smoke coming from the back of the grill, which I've noticed every time afterwards as well, but it works fine and doesn't smell badly, so perhaps it's just inherent with these kinds of cooking devices.
I then noted the high amounts of fat and grease that had drained off into the grease trap and was quite amazed. Even on my older Hamilton Beach model, I didn't ever notice it draining as efficiently as the George Foreman GR144.
After getting it to the table and beginning to eat, there was only one thing I noticed. The food was delicious!. It was cooked to perfection, and I'd definitely started wishing that I did try to squeeze a 3rd steak on there, because I wanted another right away. The cooking and prep time was virtually non-existent with this grill, which is a huge plus.
As for clean up, though it's always the worst part of a meal, it was actually quite easy. The grill cleaners they provide do a good job of scraping away most of the excess grease and remains. This grill is dishwasher safe, which is a huge plus for most, though I prefer to handwash everything myself. Handwashing was a breeze as well though, and honestly took less time to clean than it would have had I used a broiler pan or skillet.
In the months sense then, I've prepared hamburgers, chicken, more steaks, pork chops and even bacon on the grill and it tastes delicious every single time. It also has instructions on ways to cook various vegetables on the grill, and though I've not personally done that, there's no reason to think that they won't come out just as good.
Overall, I was admittedly wary about the lack of a heat control setting, and I didn't expect it to be much different than knock-off grills, but I was dead wrong. The lack of heat control makes no difference at all from my experience, and the ease of use, clean-up and overall good taste that I get when cooking on this grill puts its competitors to shame.
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Amount Paid (US$): 75