Looking to grill year-round without having to worry about the mess of charcoal, or potential flare-ups common with cooking over open, gas flames? Check out the George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor 15+, an "apartment approved," electrical option with some serious potential. This grill top offers a huge cooking surface, with incredibly consistent cooking temperatures thanks to a 5-setting, electric probe. While it is tied to an electrical cord — and therefore not nearly as portable as other options in this review — it is particularly versatile, easily transitioning from the porch to countertop grilling. If you aren't allowed to have an open flame in your living space, this is a suitable substitute.
George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor 15+ Review
Cons: Tied to an electrical cord, no ventilation, “fat-removing” design
Manufacturer: George Foreman
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Our Analysis and Test Results
An over-sized, flat-top based on the same design as the classic George Foreman grill press, the Indoor/Outdoor 15+ will ensure you can dish out grilled food at your next party, no matter the weather conditions. Sporting an enormous 240 square-inch, non-stick cooking surface and humongous dome lid, this grill makes cooking and cleaning up large meals easy. Although an electrical cord limits portability, the George Foreman easily detaches from its stand, and easily transitions to countertop cooking in the kitchen.
The George Foreman is a stand-out as the only electric option included in this review — this will undoubtedly be a positive for some apartment-dwelling cooks, and a no-go for other backyard-grilling enthusiasts. Similar to an electric wok, this grill is controlled by a temperature probe with five settings. Although its output is not measured in BTUs like the gas grill selections in this review, the 1600 watt power unit is capable of drawing a pretty significant amount of power. In our heating test, with the grill cranked up to 5 (the maximum), we were able to achieve a 450℉ grill surface within a matter of ten minutes.
The consistency of an electrically controlled grilling surface allowed us to cook most meats to near perfection. However, uniformity is not always what you want when it comes to the art of grilling. This grill succeeded in evenly browning dry-rubbed chicken — providing a cooking experience almost more like a gentle pan fry — but it wasn't ever able to come close to the blackened flavor and texture we really wanted.
Thanks to an easily adjustable control unit, the George Foreman does an impressive job with maintaining a consistent temperature — although it does seem to vary slightly across vast the cooking surface. We noted minimal fluctuations when checking temperatures with an infrared thermometer, regardless of whether or not the lid was on. While this grill sports a huge cooking surface, it is not very versatile without the ability to finely tune heat zones — unless you plan to cook large quantities of the same type of food.
For example, chicken and burgers might benefit from longer cook times on lower settings (in the 2-3 range), but this was simply too low to properly grill vegetables. Alternatively, you may want to sear steak on 5, but also want to slow roast vegetables, like asparagus, on a lower heat setting. We believe this model could greatly benefit from two separate temperature probes — one for each side — so that you could control each half of the grill individually.
In considering the portability of the George Foreman, we felt it was necessary to also incorporate the versatility of this grill into scoring this metric.
From the portability perspective, this grill has a very obvious drawback: it is tied to an electrical cord. So in order to allow for any freedom of movement, this grill requires a pretty lengthy extension cord. But even with this additional purchase, you are still tied to a power source — home electrical outlet, RV, or generator. This makes the George Foreman perfect for grilling on the patio of an apartment, but less-than-ideal for camping.
But what this grill lacks in terms of portability, it makes up for with versatility. The indoor/outdoor grilling surface easily detaches from its stand and can be carried from the backyard into the kitchen. We found this feature particularly fun on a fajita night, where the covered grill-top can be brought inside and placed right in the middle of the table — keeping the food piping hot and your dish load to a minimum. When removed from the stand, the electric grill sits on four, sturdy legs with rubber feet. This low-profile setup is perfect for countertops, so you can grill from the comfort of a warm kitchen throughout the winter months.
As we stated above, the George Foreman boasts a significant cooking surface: at 240 square-inches, it is easily one of the largest in our review. While we don't quite agree with the namesake claim that it can fit 15+ servings — not unless you are exclusively cooking hot dogs, or ⅛-pound burgers — it is still noteworthy, especially considering the space afforded by giant dome cover.
The cook surface is finished with an easily cleanable, non-stick coating — we suggest treating this grill top more like your Teflon pan. Just like most grills in the George Foreman lineup, this one is designed with their proprietary sloped surface that "helps remove fat during cooking," funneling it into a middle groove and down into a large drip tray.
As expected, we found that this grill is really, really good at pulling fat out of food. Unfortunately, this extraction process also includes most of the good juices that include much of a meat's flavor. Whether it is the special cooking surface, the lack of ventilation that creates a steamy atmosphere, or a combination of the two, this George Foreman grill sucked dry most of our meats.
The George Foreman slightly resembles one-half of the Death Star, and equally, it is nearly as impenetrable when it comes to wind. Without burners or coals, we believe you could confidently cook in gale-force winds with this electric grill, even on the lowest settings.
For the versatility of this indoor/outdoor design, we believe that the George Foreman is a valuable option for all-year grilling. Some might argue that as an electric surface, this doesn't qualify as a "real grill." We would argue differently, as this grill still effectively produces dry heat in the quantity that is key to achieving the Maillard reaction — albeit through direct conduction instead of thermal radiation. For the price, it's a worthy purchase to decide for yourself.
While the George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor 15+ may not excite the grilling-purists out there, we found it to be an incredibly versatile solution to clean, year-round grilling. From the backyard to the kitchen, this grill top was one of our favorites for entertaining groups of hungry friends.
— Aaron Rice