The name George Foreman is a part of popular culture, but very young people might associate his name more with the famous grills he created, than the face that George Edward Foreman was a professional boxer, and two-time World Heavyweight Champion as well as an Olympic gold medalist, along with his credentials as an entrepreneur. He retired in 1997 at the age of 48, with a final record of 76–5, including 68 knockouts. But champions are known for many things, and Foreman, the entrepreneur, is also is known for his promotion of the George Foreman Grill, which has sold millions of units in a variety of styles and netted him more than $138.00 for the naming rights to the grill in 1999.
Laugh all you want at info-mercials and “as seen on TV” but ask, and you’ll find that plenty of your friends have a George Foreman Grill. I never really thought much about purchasing one, because I have a small kitchen and don’t eat a lot of grilled beef, but when I was asked if I’d like to review the George Foreman 5 Minute Burger, the small size and ease of use enticed me into a “YES!”
There’s a lot to like about this little grill. For starters, it’s little. There are larger versions of the George Forman grill, but at 5.5 x 8 x 10.2 inches, and a just 3 pounds, this one really isn’t much larger than a square box of pasta or a bag of chips. It holds just two burgers, or perhaps one nicely sized piece of fish or two small chicken breasts. so it’s great for two people (or one person with a heartier appetite) but it won’t take up much room on your counter.
All You Need Is 5-Minutes: The unit is called the 5 minute burger, and it will make a perfectly cooked burger, as advertised, in 5 minutes. Put two small to medium burgers om the BPA-free, non-stick classic plate grill (you can place your buns on the top toastiong place to toast and keep the buns warm while the burgers are cooking–it’s an option, you don’t have to use it if you don’t like crispy buns and not everyone does). Turn the unit on, pre-heat for a moment, and the power indicator light will turn GREEN when the burgers are done. But really, this isn’t just a burger grill. You can grill any kind of meat, fish or poultry on it. Use a non-stick tool to lift the burgers off the non-stick grill. They didn’t stick like a regular burger would, and that was a great plus. Like all the George Foreman grills, the big feature is that it removes up to 42% of the fat in your food, depositing it into a (non attached) drip pan on the bottom of the unit. I can’t say for sure how much fat the grill removed during cooking vs. normal grilling, but it seemed to be quite a bit (and I used turkey burgers and Cluck ‘N Moo half beef/half chicken burgers in my test, not 100% beef–more on that below).
How Long To Cook: The guidelines for a well cooked burger is 5 minutes with this grill, but you will quickly discover that how long you really need to cook your food depends upon what kind of meat you are using, how dense it is, how large the portion is, and how well done you like your food. At 5 minutes the burger was completely done without flipping with no color whatsoever in the burger. It wasn’t dry, but I prefer a bit of pink in mine. A thin patty of lean meat seemed better at about 3 1/2-4 minutes. Experiment. Do not try to cook it over 5 minutes or you will end up with a rubbery patty.
The Sloped Design and Drip Tray: The George Foreman 5 Minute Burger Grill has a patented sloped design that lets the excess fats and oils fall into the drip tray. This, I liked a great deal, but I also found an issue with it. If you are using a lean meat such as turkey, or the combo of beet/chicken as I did with Cluck ‘N Moo, you won’t get a lot of fat in that drip pan, but the fact that the unit is sloped and the drip pan isn’t attached, makes the unit a bit unsteady when you are trying to open the top to get the food out or look inside to see if it is done to your liking (you may not want your burger cooked for 5 minutes, depending upon the size and your taste preferences). Steam will rise out of the top of the grill and that drip pan is now full of hot fat and liquid. The grill is HOT! You must use a hot mit, and since the grill is small and is not secure to the counter when the top is open, there is a potential for burning yourself. You need to be careful when using this, and I would not allow a young person to do it unsupervised.
The Taste Test: The slogan for this grill used to be (and maybe still is): “lose the fat, not the taste.” This turns out to be the case. The little grill was great at grilling. It doesn’t taste like barbequed meat but it was quick and easy, and rivalled the oven grill pan or a frying pan or flat top. The cooking was consistent throughout and impressive. The burgers were moist, even though they were more done that I would normally like. Cleanup was easy. Simply turn on the grill for a minute, put some wet paper towels on the grill plate, steam for a second, and wipe clean. Again, use an OvenMitt or risk burning yourself. The drip tray can go in the top portion of your dishwasher if you prefer.
Who Will Love It: This is a small grill, meant for one person or two. My husband commented that it would have been the perfect gift for my recently widowed dad, who had no idea how to cook anything, but still wanted to eat some meals at home. It would also be great for a first apartment, a college student, newlyweds, or anyone who is just lazy about cooking, especially cooking healthy. It is tailgating time, so consider bringing it along for your tailgate “a deaux.” The holidays are coming, and this would make a great gift, and it’s affordable, too!
Build a Better Burger: I normally prefer turkey burgers to beef and for my test on the George Foreman 5-Minute Grill I used home-made and seasoned turkey burgers, and a product that was offered to me to taste-taste called Cluck’ N Moo, half chicken, half beef. I am reviewing that product below, but for those who love 100% beef burgers I’m including a recipe from the George Foreman recipe web site for a 100% beef burger:
George Foreman Grill Beef Burger Recipe
- 1lb lean ground beef (85% lean makes a great choice)
- 1tsp Worcester Sauce
- 1tsp Liquid Smoke
- Fresh chopped parsley (parsley flakes will work)
- Salt/pepper to taste
- Fresh kaiser buns
Recipe Directions: Preheat your George Foreman Grill. Combine ground beef, Worcester sauce, liquid smoke, parsley and salt/pepper in a bowl and mix all ingredients by hand for about 1 minute. Make sure to mix all ingredients well and evenly. Shape into 3 patties of approximately 1/2 inch thick. Place patties on preheated grill and cook for approximately 3-5 minutes for medium rare, 5-6 minutes for medium, 6+ minutes for well done. Cooking times will vary depending on size of burger and grill. You’re really going to want to keep an eye on the burger in the 3-5 minute range. That’s the best average cooking time, especially for a 1/2″ think patty.
When burgers are done to your likeness, remove from grill and toast buns for 2 minutes on inside. Buns can be brushed with butter or margarine if desired.
Serve with your choice of toppings including fresh iceberg lettuce, beefsteak tomato slices, onion, ketchup, mustard.
CLUCK ‘N MOO IS GOOD FOR YOU! along with my own, home-seasoned turkey burgers, I was sent some unique burgers from Cluck ‘N Moo™ is the first and only half-chicken (50%), half-beef (50%) burger, made from antibiotic and hormone free, humanely raised chickens and grass-fed cows. The company claims that Cluck ‘N Moo offers that same beef burger taste we all crave, but without the large amounts of artery-clogging fat. Cluck n’ Moo’s innovative “Smashed Burger” blend offers 52% less fat, 34% less calories and 57% less saturated fat than a regular all beef burger. Of course I wanted to try it. I cooked up the Cluck n’ Moo burgers without seasoning because I wanted to see how they tasted “as-is.”
I gave some to my toughest critic, my husband, who truly only liked 100% beef burgers and just barley tolerates a well seasoned turkey burger. To our surprise, these burgers, really did taste like a regular beef burger. If they had been seasoned and “dressed” like a regular burger, cooked on the George Foreman 5-minute grill. I doubt anyone could have distinguished them from an actual 100% beef burger. The consistency was a bit more dense, but otherwise, the same. But, as you can see from the nutritional information, these are much leaners burgers. A “Bubba Burger” pattie (popular frozen beef burger brand sold in supermarkets) has more than twice the fat and calories. However, the Cluck and Moo Burgers” may be a bit pricier than your local beef brand, depending upon what you buy and where you shop, You can also just get the Cluck ‘N Moo meat in a package (not in patties) and make your own.
Visit the Cluck ‘N Moo web site to learn more.