1 Store395 Reviews
Pros: Small, easy to use, long-lasting
Cons: Tricky to clean, smashes your sandwiches, no power or temperature controls.
I've had my George Foremand "Champ" grill for about 6 years now. It was one of the first appliances my wife and I received when we got married and moved into our own place.
I remember it was during the IMac craze and it is a hideous see-thru blue. Despite it's looks, however, it was a little workhorse.
I'm a firm believer that hot dogs and hamburgers taste the best on an actual grill...but in the middle of winter no one wants to go outside. The George Foreman grill was able to combat that. Only taking up a small amount of space, the grill could be stored in a cabinet and pulled out when needed.
While it lacks an on/off switch, it is quite easy to use. Simply plug it in and place your food on the grill and wait. Waiting is the worst part of this device, however. While hot dogs are easily cooked...any of your other major meats take a bit longer. Without an actual temperature gauge or timer you kind of have to play it by ear. This involves letting it cook and checking the center of the meat at regular intervals.
The device will operate for a few minutes, then go into a "standby mode" for another minute before starting it's cycle again. My thought that this is to prevent the device from overheating. It's in a constant state of cook, cook, cook, cool down slightly, then cook, cook, cook, again. This can make your more dense meals take longer to cook than on a traditional grill....but at least you don't have to go outside.
So what are the other alternatives? Oven? Stove top? Sure, they can be done, but in the end after all the grease cooks out, you're left with a huge mess in your pans.
Ah yes, the patented "George Foreman grease drip pan". The makers of the grill thought of the problem with grease as well. While originally to be used to help "cook the fat out", it actually serves a higher purpose of helping to remove grease while cooking so as not to cause flare-ups or nasty grease burns on your arms from popping grease and fat.
I've recently found that the grill works awesomely for cooking bacon. While it's size is only large enough to handle 3 strips at a time, it does take most of the work out of bacon cooking. You don't have to cover a pan, the grill has a lid. You don't have to drain the grease every few strips of bacon, the grill has grooves that drain the grease down into a plastic pan.
Lastly, for cooking burgers it also has a "bun warmer" on top that allows you to put a hamburger bun to get it nice and warm. Once you've crammed the store brand bun into the hatch and tried to close it without clipping the corners off the bun, you leave it in until the burger is ready and find that your bun is now warm. Not that you can't just stick the bun in a paper towel and nuke it for 10 seconds in the microwave...but it's all about options.
Other than pressing your sandwiches completely flat (grilled cheese? more like grilled wafers), it does a good job at everything else.
Overall our grill doesn't get enough constant use, but we do pull it out every few months when the need arises. It's a little workhorse with no removeable parts to worry about losing. The other real major disadvantage is that it's tricky to clean. Because everything is attached, you can't sumbmerge the device, so you end up having to take a sponge to the surfaces to take off any residue. We've found that it works best to clean it while it's hot. The heat and water create steam which helps break off any stuck on stuff...but with a "non-stick coating" it does a good job of not keeping much on it long.