Product Type: George Foreman electrical appliances
Newest Review: ... I cook a lot, we also use it to make toasted sandwiches and my other half uses it to cook some meat products however that is just for h... more
A Mini and Mean Looking Grilling Machine!
George Foreman 14066 Compact Grill
Member Name: hanmillie
George Foreman 14066 Compact Grill
Advantages: Quick and easy cooking, easy clean, compact
Disadvantages: Slightly dodgy hinges
We all know the slogan 'lean, mean grilling machine' and it was with this principle that former professional boxer George Foreman developed his range of grills designed to drain away the fat that is so often left in many meat dishes. There are a number of George Foreman grills on the market and these vary according to the number of people you plan to cook for, in essence the larger the grill the more people it can cater to.
As is always the case the price of the grills varies according to the size, the smaller ones costing less than the larger and more bulky models and so we turned to the George Foreman compact 14066 grill to cater for our occasional toasted sandwich cravings plus the meals for two that we cook most nights.
The George Foreman 14066 Compact Grill is a small grill designed to cook for around two to three food portions. As with many electrical products this one is no different in packaging, being packaged in a cardboard box which upon opening is filled with polystyrene padding, great for grill protection but less great for the environment and my limited bin space. Upon prising from its 'polystyrene prison' the grill looks, in my opinion rather interesting as externally it almost resembles a cumbersome shiny black monster, and I can fully see where it gets its 'mean' reference from. However, this appearance seems to dwindle when placed on the side of my kitchen worktop where it became just another black appliance amongst many.
On the top the grill features the words 'George Foreman' and has a large oval shaped light the importance of which is given later. Upon opening the grill, which can be done using the lip of the top section of the machine, there are two grill plates on the top and bottom of the machine with which quite simply you place your food between to cook. These plates slope towards you when cooking meaning that the fat can collate and run down the grooves and out onto a prepositioned drip tray. This grill is, as its names suggests, very compact and its vital statistics are 140mm high x 324mm long x 250mm wide. This compactness however seems to extend to the dimensions of the plates which are quite tiny. Good for cooking small chicken breasts but less great for more than one toasted sandwich.
This grill has a number of features which include non stick plates, removable and dishwasher safe plates, a drip tray, non slip feet, a temperature ready indicator, non slip feet and a floating hinge to enable thicker food to be able to fit between the two plates. Suggestive of the quality of this product, it also comes with a 2 years manufacturers guarantee.
==Price and Availability==
I was fortunate to buy my grill as part of an Argos sale and it therefore cost me a bargain £29.99 as oppose to the current price of £44.99 at Argos. However, it can also be bought more economically online from retailers such as Amazon for around the £30 mark.
==Cooking and General Use==
This grill is easy to set up. Simply remove the protective sleeve, extend the cable and plug in to the nearest socket. The cable is quite short in my opinion and you will therefore need to position the machine next to a kitchen socket as oppose to a metre away. Upon plugging in an orange light will come on at the top of the machine, and this light stays on whilst the plates heat up to the desired temperature before it goes out. In my experience this usually takes a couple of minutes before it is hot enough to go.
Before placing anything onto the grill you should position the drip tray along the front of the machine. The drip tray is simply a small plastic curved tray which is entirely separate from the body of the machine. I would have thought it would be useful if this tray formed part of the body of the machine as it could easily get lost with all the other kitchen utensils; however I guess the advantage of it being separate is that it is easier to clean.
When ready to go, the food can be laid onto the plates and then sandwiched between them for the desired cooking time. The cooking time required is given in a small leaflet accompanying the machine which outlines a list of foods which can be cooked using the appliance including meat, vegetables, toasted sandwiches and Panini's. Unfortunately this machine fails to incorporate a timer into its black body and I therefore rely on my cooker timer to tell me when the food is cooked through.
I must admit, I have only used my grill for cooking sandwiches and the odd pair of chicken breasts (excuse the pun) and it has been adequate for both. When cooking sandwiches I lightly coat the sides of the plates with olive oil before positioning the sandwich in the centre of the plates and pressing the plates together. The leaflet recommends sandwiches are toasted for around three minutes which upon opening produces a lightly toasted sandwich and therefore for deeper cooking I simply add an extra minute. With chicken I follow the same process and lightly coat them in oil before putting between the plates. They usually take around 8 - 12 minutes for thorough cooking and the oil and watery fat deposits from the breasts simply run out into the waiting drip tray.
This method of cooking is, in my experience very easy to do and produces deliciously grilled food in minutes without the need to turn an oven on, wait for it to reach heat and then bake. It is therefore a quick and easy way to prepare food however I have yet to try it on vegetables yet. The quality of the grill is quite good however I was not too impressed with the hinges on the back of the two plates as in my opinion they felt quite flimsy when lifting the two plates apart.
The easy cleaning method is what drew me to this grill initially as the plates are entirely removable. To do so is simply a method of unhinging the two clasps at either side of each of the plates. I then use some very hot soapy water to clean both plates and the drip tray. The clasps at either side of the plates make them easy to remove but less than easy to put back on and it really is a case of trial and error to make them fit back onto the main body.
I have enjoyed using my George Foreman Grill and it has been an eye opener in terms of finding alternative ways of cooking everyday food. This grill is quite compact although adequate for two people; however some of the design features weaken my evaluation of this product such as the dodgy hinges and the difficult plate clasps. Despite this I will be recommending this grill purely based on my own experience and the fact that it has made cooking for me somewhat simpler and quicker than it normally takes in my oven.
Based on the above I am therefore awarding this grill four stars out of five.
Thanks for reading! x
Summary: A useful purchase for sampling the grilling experience