Saturday morning and you are the first one up….what do you do? Do you make yourself a cup of coffee, flip on the TV and then find yourself watching a 30-minute infomercial? I do.
I get mesmerized by the way things are presented and the food always looks so good.
So this past month, I was given the challenge of trying a T-fal OptiGrill to review. (It is also available at Wal-Mart.) I don’t normally do reviews but this is one of those products that caught my eye on a Saturday morning. If you haven’t heard of it (or if you actually sleep in on Saturdays) the T-fal OptiGrill is “a revolutionary indoor grill that features a cooking sensor to ensure a perfectly cooked meal every time by automatically adapting to the thickness of your food and delivery perfect doneness from rare to well-done to create a nutritious and delicious meal.”
Pretty big claim, right? So I thought I would take 5 of their key points and in the spirit of the new school year test them out and grade them.
1. Cooks evenly on both sides. Grade: B
This is pretty spot on IF your food is evenly sliced/cut and the grill touches all of it. I had used eggplant as my tester food and am not the best slicer. I had some fatter pieces on the OptiGrill with some skinny pieces.
The skinny pieces got cooked on the side that touched the grill but obviously not on the side that didn’t touch the grill. This is a human error so not a product error.
2. Cooks from frozen. Grade: B
I am a pretty organized home cook so it is rare I cook something from frozen. So it was hard for me to deliberately cook something (pork chops) from frozen but I did it.
To my surprise, it did work. I did feel that I wasn’t able to season my food well since it was frozen but the OptiGrill did what it claims and my pork chop was cooked to perfection.
3. Dishwasher-safe, removable grill plates are easy to clean. Grade: A
Holy cow, this part was awesome. I would cook with this on a busy night just for the easy clean up! (But I wish there was a latch to keep the lid from flying open when you try to store it on the side.)
4. Fat drips into extra-large tray for healthier eating. Grade: B
The loss of fat does make for healthier eating but I missed the fat flavor. I did another experiment with some pork chops. I cooked half on the OptiGrill and half on the stove.
The OptiGrill pork chops were cooked perfectly but I missed some of the richness that comes from the natural juice that is in the pan. The pan chops were cooked well (because it isn’t my first time at the rodeo) and had a bit more flavor.
5. Simple to use with guaranteed results every time. Grade: B
I agree that the OptiGrill was easy to use. I would press power, pick my meat from the buttons on the front and then press start. It let me know when it was done pre-heating. (There is a manual button for veggies.)
As for perfect results, you have to put some room in here for error. It does indicate when your meat is done rare, medium, or well BUT if you aren’t in the room with the machine, you may miss the moment to take it off the grill.
So would I recommend the T-fal OptiGrill for everyone? It depends…I think there are a few groups I would say would love it.
If you have a crazy busy schedule, this would be great for you.
In addition, people watching their fat intake would love the ease of healthier eating with the OptiGrill. (I made salmon burgers on the OptiGrill and they were perfect!)
Also, if you live somewhere you don’t have a grill, this is a great substitute.
Who wouldn’t like this?
People who like to plan. I did not like that I didn’t know when my food was done. I needed some more numbers to help me design the rest of my meal. (The cookbook that came with the OptiGrill was very helpful but didn’t answer this question for me.)
I also thought it took up a little more space than I would like in an appliance I wasn’t going to use every day. (If this were your main cooking source, it wouldn’t be an issue.)
Finally, I wouldn’t really think this would be good for larger families. It can hold about 4 good size chicken breasts and that is it. I tried to put more on it and I actually had a chicken breast slide off!
Thank you to T-fal OptiGrill for providing me one of your grills so I could try it. I think a fair overall grade would be a “B.” It does live up to the claims on TV but people need to know that it isn’t magical and there is some room for human error. Check out their Facebook page to hear more opinions and stories on this product.
Hmmmm, what will I obsess about next Saturday morning?
By using the OptiGrill, can I reheat meat that is already cooked?
I am not 100% sure. I would think it would overcook it if it is already cooked. You might want to check with the manufacturers.