As a proud owner and lover of the original, white “toilet seat” George Foreman Grill, I jumped at the chance to review the new 360 Grill (GRP106QPGP). This eponymous cooking machine seeks to improve on the line with removable plates for easy washing, a floating hinge to accommodate fatter cuts of meat, adjustable temperature, and tilt control. But what looked great in the mind’s eye flopped in reality, searing my soul with its shortcomings.
Unboxing was a cross between Christmas and opening a treasure chest. The main unit is accompanied by two grease collectors, two “scrape-ulas” for cleaning between the grooves of the grill surface, and five removable plates: two standard plates, two quesadilla plates, and one flat grill plate for cooking eggs, pancakes, frittatas, and so on. When it’s all laid out, the vista of culinary possibilities looks endless.
Unfortunately, that’s where the fun ends: Just about everything about the 360 is a disappointment. The adjustable flimsy heat switch feels like a strong flick will snap it off. The plates are hard to secure to the heating elements, and they rattle around even when after getting attached. And the big sticker on the top telling you how great the 360 is tears off unevenly, leaving a gluey mess on the lid — for the love of the FSM, take it off before heating the unit up for the first time.
On its maiden voyage, the Grill started stinking like an electrical fire while preheating — not terribly appetizing. When I opened the lid to check on the food, the top plate practically jumped off and made a beeline for my foot. Some of the handle broke off when it hit the floor, leaving me with the dangerous task of getting the half-broken, piping-hot plate back onto the housing to complete the cooking process. Granted, you should confirm that it’s securely attached before firing the thing on, but I was entirely sure that I had. And at any rate, the latches should be idiot-proof — idiots should only get injured when they step on the thing — kinda like Michael Scott from “The Office.” As I nursed my bruised instep, I did take comfort in the fact that the grill had perfectly cooked some delicious pork loin, mozzarella, and caramelized-onion panini with heirloom tomato and field greens.
Aside from poor design and borderline-unsafe cooking conditions, the Foreman cooks well, and the flat grill plate makes it a versatile cooking instrument for people who don’t want to fire up the stove — or those who don’t have a stove in their illegal in-law unit or filthy dirty dorm room. I know Mr. Foreman will not be pleased with this review, but when he shows up at my door to introduce me to the business end of a haymaker, I’ll booby trap my house with a network of these grills — let’s see Big George catch me with a pair of scorched, bruised feet.