Monday, September 11, 2017

The Grill to Beat

Last weekend my daughter I headed out to an estate sale being held by some friends just outside of town. Outside was mostly bigger things like a car dolly, riding mower, (... mostly guy stuff) and went on inside. We started in the basement. Some furniture (my house is pretty full) and a couple of long tables with kitchen stuff, some camera equipment (that held my interest for a bit, being a photographer that stuff, even older, is hard to pass up), and some tools.

My daughter pointed out a toaster oven with attached coffee pot. I hadn't seen one of those before. I already have a toaster oven but it was worth a look just because ... although the coffee pot only held one cup. It would be great for a student, or even camping.

Next to it was an electric grill ... you know, the kind you cook meat on in your kitchen. Like a griddle, but with a ridged cook plate. I opened the lid, closed it. Walked away a couple of steps and then went back. Okay, I didn't really need yet another electric kitchen appliance, not at all. Still ... it might be more useful than a couple of others I had. The price was right so I picked it up.

After we got home I cleaned up the grill (mostly clean, but there was stubborn grease I wanted to get off) and that's when I realized there really wasn't much in the way of controls - just a timer knob on the front. Nowhere to set a temperature like my others have. And the timer knob didn't have a lot of minutes on it either. Weird.

I had 3 boneless/skinless chicken breasts thawed out for dinner, so I decided to try out the grill. I didn't expect a lot really because it wasn't like some big name brand - oh, it's a name brand but not like Kitchen Aid or George Foreman, or anything. I tossed the chicken breasts on (they were an average size, but really thick - maybe 3/4") and that usually takes about 25-30 minutes in the toaster oven.

Checked the chart for cooking time, opened my eyes wider when it said 7 minutes, and thought
"yeah, right".  I turned the knob to 8 minutes. Made my salad while the chicken was cooking, and when the timer went off I went to check.

I was really expecting to have to cook them longer than that. Humph. They were overdone at 8 minutes!  Okay, lets just say I was astonished at that. 7 minutes!  Didn't heat up the kitchen, didn't make a spitty mess all over the stove, whisked away all the grease/fat (didn't really use any grease to begin with since it's got a non-stick surface but any fat in the chicken didn't get back on the chicken as it cooked) ... can I just tell you that at this point I virtually dancing around the kitchen.

I don't like to cook that much, but my mind was already wondering what else I could cook on that grill in such a short amount of time with almost no work at all.  To say I was impressed was an understatement.

That thing was more than worth the money I paid for it ... and knowing what I know now about it, I'd probably pay more for it. After dinner I sat down and read through the book (which I didn't do before) that came with it. Steak ... in 4 minutes! Pork chops from frozen in 8 minutes. Yeah, I'll be cooking more soon ... the book has some interesting recipes in it too.

I checked on Amazon for the unit, and they have one by the same name & brand, but it doesn't look exactly the same - slightly different style, so maybe a little newer. They did have the older one listed, but it says "currently unavailable" ... that often means that particular style/model was discontinued, or replaced by a newer one.

The grill's booklet calls it "Hamilton Beach Meal Maker Express Grill". The newer unit is listed for about $40 US, so it doesn't exactly break the bank: Amazon

For for my money, this would be a purchase worth making.

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