Numerous years ago when my husband and I first started living together, I occasionally used a George Foreman indoor grill of his he had in his college apartment. The thing wasn't old, but was well-used (likely for things other than food from time to time). I liked how easily it would cook food (like burgers or fish), but it was small and the plates weren't removable, which made cleaning it a chore.
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When we moved down south a few years ago, we threw out the old George Foreman. Then, were without one until we moved back up north a little over a year ago, and I decided to buy another one, this time, upgraded.
Target had the model on sale I'd been eyeing up, the GRP4B. This model has the perfect capacity size (without taking up a ton of space), and best of all, removable plates! The removable plates were a hands-down must-have when I sought out a new George Foreman.
This particular George Foreman Indoor Grill is all black. There are upper and lower removable plates. Both plates are non-stick and ribbed, and the lower plate has slightly larger ribs which get a bit bigger at the bottom of the plate, which is where any grease or other fluids drip off of the plates and into the drip pan.
The drip pan is simple plastic (comes with the grill). It's easy to clean and store. It also came with a plastic scraper for the grill, but I rarely use it.
Cooking surface measures at roughly 12" long and just over 6" wide. The middle is a bit wider than the edges, but not enough to make any real difference in ability to cook. The plates are slanted downward, which helps drain fat and fluid away from food as it cooks.
The back of the grill has the nifty aspect of expandable hinges. That way, when you have a thick piece of meat, veggies, or fish, it'll still close and evenly cook.
The lifting lip on the front to open it up is about 1", so you have a decent amount of space to lift it open. If what you're cooking produces a lot of steam, be careful when opening, because that hot steam can burn you. Use an oven-mitt.
The plates come off via two handles on either side of each plate (top and bottom) and have a little part you slide to the side to life off. It's super easy. When you put them back on the heating element, you slide the two pieces again, set it in place, and you're done, they're locked in there. It's pretty easy to tell when the plates aren't aligned right, there's very little room for error.
Even when the grill is hot, you can touch the side plate handles and not get burned. Those pieces stay cool, so you can actually remove the plates when they're hot if you really want to.
The cord on the George Foreman Indoor Grill (model GRP4B) is short. That's one aspect I'm not crazy about. It's just over 18" long. I like to have the grill out towards the edge of my counter, so the steam doesn't go straight up onto the upper wooden cabinets, but where the outlet is compared to where it's safe and best to have the grill means my cord stretches fully. A little extra cord would have been really nice.
When you plug the George Foreman in, it's on. There is no power button or controls at all, it's either on or off. A light on the lid of the grill is lit when it's heating, and goes out when it reaches highest temperature. Just be aware that if you unplug it when the light is lit, you'll get some sparks. I try to wait until the light goes out to unplug, the sparks kind of freak me out.
Initially, it takes about 5 or 6 minutes to fully heat up. Then it cycles on and off to maintain temperature. There is no real sound to the grill, just a little intermittent clicking as the plates heat.
I've cooked numerous different things on my George Foreman in the over a year I've had it. Most things cook so well on there, I cannot imagine not having my grill. It saves time because it cooks from both sides at once, it reduces fat by draining it as it cooks, and there's no need to oil the surface, as it's non-stick. Just a side note to that, it states in the booklet to never use a cooking spray on it, the propellant in the spray will damage the plates and render the non-stick ineffective.
Let me go through the things I've cooked on this George Foreman.
- Hot-dogs. The most basic, summer-time classic food cooks well on this grill. Just roll them now and then to get all parts of them cooked.
- Burgers. Another classic food is cooked up well and evenly. Turkey burgers also do well. With the size of the plates, I can fit two large burgers or three smaller ones. As for turkey burgers, I used the frozen, pre-formed ones, and can only fit two at a time.
- Fish. Salmon is best on the George Foreman. High moisture content fish like haddock doesn't do so well, it falls apart and makes more of a mess than a cooked fish filet. But a salmon filet is great. My hubby likes really dry salmon, so after it's cooked, unplug it and just keep the salmon on the grill for a bit, that achieves his ideal texture.
- Shrimp. While nothing is better than shrimp skewers on an actual grill (to me, anyway), throwing them on the George Foreman still gives it a grilled flavor and texture. I don't do this very often, but it's good if you're going for a no added oil meal.
- Veggies. The George Foreman is ideal for grilling veggies inside. Zucchini is probably my favorite. Sliced in half, then in half again if they're really thick, you can cook up a zucchini until it starts to brown on the edges, then put it on a plate with shredded cheese on top, and yum! Mushrooms are delicious that way, too. Just don't forget your drip plate, because a lot of moisture comes out as they cook. Also, cut the shrooms in half and put the cut side down on the bottom plate, helps keep them from rolling off as easily.
- Bacon. This was my newest cooking experiece on the George Forman, this morning actually. And it worked really well! Both hubby and myself like really, really well-done, hard and crispy bacon. Anything less than that isn't worth eating. I just cut the bacon slices in half to fit better and cooked. A lot of fat came out, too. The only downside to the bacon is it's too thin for the top plate to really cook the top, so you have to flip it over a few times while cooking to cook evenly. Not a big deal, though. Best of all, no grease splattering everywhere as it cooks!
Whatever I make on there, cooks pretty evenly. I do notice that the edges don't cook quite as fast, I guess they don't get as hot. Not usually an issue, though. I just don't cook meat on either side (portion without the ribbed area) just for ultimate food safety.
Most foods don't really take long to cook on the George Foreman. Thaw out your salmon fillets, and they'll be done pretty fast. The bacon took awhile, but mostly because of how well-done (pig leather) we like it.
The removable plates on the George Foreman make cleaning pretty easy. In fact, the plates are dishwasher-safe. Now, I've not put them in the dishwasher, I just soak it in hot soapy water then clean it by hand, which works. My parents have one and they put theirs in the dishwasher, and state it comes out very clean and hasn't harmed the plates. They said the dishwasher chemicals have oxidized the back of the plates, but that only changes the color, doesn't cause damage.
If washing by hand, I recommend a good grease-cutting soap like Dawn Direct Foam or something similar. Helps when what you've cooked was really greasy. Food doesn't really stick to it enough to make it difficult to clean, but a five-minute soak will make cleaning a little easier. You have to be sure to wipe down every little area, it's easy to leave a little food somewhere on the ribbed areas of the plate.
No matter how much soap I use, how long I soak, or how much I scrub, there will always be a little food odor the next time I heat it up. I can usually tell what I've cooked last. The thing can look completely clean, but there's an odor. My dad stated theirs is like that too, even after dish-washing. Some of that could be on the actual grill (versus the plates). I clean that too, but if I miss one little area, I guess that would heat up the next time and release the food odor.
I keep my George Foreman Indoor Grill in a cabinet when not in use. The cord isn't really long enough to effectively wrap around the grill, so at times it agitates me.
I've had this particular George Foreman for over a year and it doesn't look a day old. It still works great, cleans great, and the plates are pristine. Granted, I take care of it and never use metal on the plates, but still, it seems to be well-made.
I paid $40 on sale at Target last year. Normal price is more than that, but worth it.
Even if you have an outdoor grill, an indoor grill is great for smaller meals, a quick grilling, or when the weather doesn't cooperate to grill outside. We don't have an outside grill, so this is perfect for us. If you have more than two people, it could take awhile to cook a whole meal on one, so you may want a larger size, but for just the two of us, it's great.
Like I previously mentioned, my parents have the exact same one as well. I had actually talked my mom into getting it after raving about how much I loved mine last year. They have an outdoor grill and my dad is a grill master, but my mom still uses the George Foreman (mostly in the winter) and they both love it.
Amount Paid (US$): 40