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I like my sausages, especially those exotic flavours, you know, chilli, leek, apricot, apple, that sort of thing. I particularly like them grilled, in order to kid myself that what I will be eating will be healthy rather than the truth, that they will be merely not quite so bad for me.
The trouble is, of course, the grill or, in particular the grill on my gas cooker. It's typical in that the space between the grill tray and the grill flames is somewhat small. This has resulted in my sausages and their released fat catching fire or, with the heat turned well down the sausages taking ages to cook and coming out dried up. Either way, the smoke alarm was regularly being called in to use, a particular pain this when you've just spent time and devotion getting the baby to sleep.
So when a few Christmas's back we were given a George Foreman GR20 I jumped on it. Well, not literally, but I couldn't wait to give it a go. It came complete with instructions and some sort of cleaning device. I quickly leafed through the instructions before tossing them aside like an impatient child with a new toy.
There really is little need for instructions. The machine is very simple and basic, two grooved hot plates connected by hinges that slope at an angle to allow fat etc to drain down to one of the two plastic bowls that come with it. There is no on/off switch or temperature control. You just plug the thing on and wait for it to heat up, which takes about ninety seconds. Pop the food on to the bottom plate before placing the upper lid on top. The weight of the latter pushes down on the food, forcing the fat out as it heats up, ending up in the fat bowl you have placed under the grill. You periodically check your food before taking it out and switching off the machine. It's that easy.
Now it's the only way I cook my sausages. They're delicious and if anything have more flavour than ever. I can fit eight of them at a time on the grill. One interesting thing I found is that the sausages bought at the delicatessen counter at my local Tescos leave a lot less fat in the fat bowl than those pre packaged on the chilled shelves.
Other food, however, I found fared less well. Chicken, for instance, tended to go hard on the outside very quickly, making it rather unappetising. Also, having a liking for crispy bacon, I found the grill somewhat lacking. Homemade burgers were also a problem, not so much cooking them, they came out very tasty, but the smallness of the plates prevented me from cooking more than four at a time. Grilling vegetables are no problem though, a tasty alternative to boiling or steaming.
One other criticism; the fat bowls catching the fat are rather shallow, making it difficult to remove and resulting in some messes on the kitchen floor that are a right pain to clean up.
Cleaning the grill is pretty easy as long as you do it while the plates are hot. I soon lost the cleaning gadget but I normally use a few sheets of kitchen towel followed by a clean damp cloth.
This grill is most suitable for grilling sausage and little else. However, it is very easy to use and clean. You don't need any fancy extras like timers etc. It is also hard wearing, ours now being used for some three years.
To those who, like me, are sausage freaks, or just cooking for themselves, this machine is pretty handy. For those cooking for more than two people I would recommend looking for a larger model. I would certainly consider cooking my homemade burgers on a larger plate.
However, I wouldn't be wanting to use this machine to cook any other food.