Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Gotham Steel Low Fat Grill

I bought myself one of the Gotham Steel grills "as seen on TV".  I don't normally buy a lot of products advertised like that. Commercials like that always make me wonder if the products are as good as they say, or at least work the way they say.

My dad used to run out and buy all those "StarFrit" products that you used to see on TV.  He loved odd little gadgets like that but he didn't cook so he didn't really use those products. My mom would try them but in the end, she'd use the things she already had.

I don't really know what possessed me to order it. I have a grill that I love and use all the time (see The Grill to Beat) - actually I have several grills and griddles. Too many for a house that has 2 people living in it.

The cost came to about $45 (Canadian) and it arrived surprisingly fast. Stuff like that usually takes 4 to 6 weeks shipping time, but I got it in about 2 weeks. I'd have to say the order process wasn't the best experience I had - I didn't order it from the TV, but went to their website advertised in the commercial (for us that was

The TV commercial also said you get a bonus frying pan with the same non-stick coating, but it isn't really "free" ... if you want to include it in your order it's an additional $6.95. I think that just covers the shipping because I know the frying pans are $19.99 (at least they were at Ollie's in the US). You do get the choice of including it, or not, and I didn't bother (I have at least 8 LaGostina non-stick frying pans so I don't think I need anymore).

The thing is you complete the order form (see the button on the first page of their site) and then it takes you to another page asking if you want the frying pan. I clicked no, expecting to go to the shopping cart to pay, but no ... I got yet another page asking if I wanted to order the larger grill.

What? Wait ... there's a larger grill? Yeah, apparently. I thought about that and hoped the one I was actually ordering was the one shown on the commercial. After thinking about it I said no. After all, I don't need to cook more than 2 pieces of meat for 2 of us. Okay, so onto the final page, right?

Nope. There were two or three (can't remember) more of those individual pages with a question on them before I got to the final page to order. After I completed the order, there was only a blank page that said "your order is complete".  Eventually though, I did get an email receipt.

I have to say that after going to through the order process, I really wondered if the product was as good as it says on TV, or if it was going to be some chintzy gadget-type thing. When it arrived, it was big enough for 2 of us.

The first thing I cooked was a half-inch thick steak - fairly large (one was enough for both of us). That cooked in about 8 minutes to a nice medium rare. The surface needs no non-stick sprays (I took them at their word and tried it without, just tossed the steak on and closed the lid); the grill also does what it says on TV when it comes to searing in the juices ... so much so that there wasn't a drop of juice or grease in the drip-cup below the grill.  The steak was awesome.

There was some crusted on stuff on the grill plates after cooking, BUT ... again, the TV commercial was right. Let the grill cool and wipe it down with a dry paper towel and the stuff just wipes right off. That impressed me almost as much as as how well it cooks.

For now, I give it a thumbs up, and I'd definitely order this again.

There is a caveat though ... there are a few things that were disappointing, and maybe that's because I already had the Meal Maker Express Grill from Hamilton Beach and I was comparing the features.

The Meal Maker has controls on it. Not much, but when you plug it in, it doesn't heat up till you choose a setting on the knob. The knob is a timer - you set it for 3 minutes, or 8 minutes, and it cooks that long and shuts off with ding. It also has a drip tray that slides into a slot in the side of the unit. If you pick up the unit the drip tray says in place.

The Gotham Steel Low Fat Grill has zero controls, if you plug it in, it's going to heat up. In order to cook stuff, you need a timer of your own because there's no timer on the unit. I found that inconvenient. Thankfully, I have a timer on my stove. The lack of timer that also acts as an on/off switch is a drawback. It leaves the unit lacking a little functionality from my point of view.

The drip tray doesn't have a slot to slide it into. You just place it under the front of the unit, so ... if you move the unit back a little, you have to remember to move the drip tray too. It also makes it easier to lose the drip tray. On the other hand, if you do lose the drip tray, almost any small dish or tray can be used in it's place. (I have noticed that a lot of the used offerings for the Hamilton Beach one are missing the drip tray, and it's hard to find something that fits there.)

The Gotham Steel grill also doesn't come with any sort of recipe book or anything else. There is a booklet they call a "user manual" ... and it leaves a lot to be desired. It's six tiny pages (including front and back covers) and it seems to repeat some instructions over 4 of the inner pages of nothing-ness.  The only thing that was slightly helpful was a little cooking chart which can help you figure out how long to cook stuff. The thing is, if I didn't already have a better book that came with the Hamilton Beach, I'd be having to cook on this using trial and error to find the timing for each type of thing because the chart from Gotham Steel only covers a couple of items.

Oh, and the chicken breasts came out wonderfully tender and juicy ... again with nothing in the drip tray.

Yeah, go buy this if you need an indoor grill.

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