Product Review

Anyone who hasn't heard of indoor grilling (or at the very least, George Foreman's line of indoor grills) has been living under a rock. These handy devices are popping up everywhere and even novice cooks are throwing a steak or burger on when the mood strikes. However, to get a model that will cook more than a small chicken breast, you often feel like you need to take out a second mortgage! The folks at Hamilton Beach are trying to lower the bar on the entry to family indoor grilling by offering a unique HealthSmart Contact Grill. HealthSmart Contact Grill
In a world of hundred dollar indoor grills, Hamilton Beach produces one that has:
  • Channels that drain fat into drip tray for low-fat meals,
  • A nonstick surface that wipes clean,
  • The ability to grill both sides at once for meals in 10 minutes or less,
  • A variable heat selector that offers maximum grilling versatility
  • A large 100 sq. inch surface that fits 6 hamburgers

All for a list price of $69.99 -- and a retail price that is usually around $40.

The Pros
The biggest thing this model has over comparable George Foreman and other indoor grills I've seen is price. You can stop off at Walmart on your way home from work and probably pick this model up for about $40 -- while you'll spend at least twice that on the celebrity-sold models. I guess they don't work cheap!

While grilling, it's nice to be able to see any extra fat slide off the grill and into the drip tray that catches grease while cooking and is easily removable and even dishwasher safe ... making cleanup a snap. Having heat applied from both sides makes cooking most items quick, usually less than 10 minutes!

A large grilling surface makes most steaks, chicken pieces and fish fillets quick work. Its floating hinged cover allows the top grilling surface to adjust to the thickness of the food you are preparing. While you can't pop a roast on it, it will take a porterhouse with no complaints! And the nonstick surface is very easy to clean.

The variable heat control lets you select the optimum temperature for the task at hand. High is ideal for quick searing and traditional grilling; medium can be used to cook thicker cuts of meat that require longer cooking time; and low can be used to keep food at the proper serving temperature. The HealthSmart Contact Grill can also be used to grill vegetables, steam fish, or toast sandwiches. Who says you have to purchase an expensive panini press and try to find space for yet another one-trick-pony appliance?

The Cons
Once hot, this little grill stays hot for quite a while. You're better off having dinner ... and probably dessert ... before tackling the cleaning task. Once cool, there's a bit of work in cleaning this model. You cannot put it in the dishwasher or even in the sink. Instead, you wipe any excess food off of it with a paper towel and then clean it carefully with soap and water. A bit of a mess, but it does the job. Resources
You can purchase the HealthSmart Contact Grill at any of these retailers:
  • Fleet Supply
  • Home Depot
  • Meijer
  • Menard Inc
  • Shopko
  • Walmart
Putting It All To Work
The Hamilton Beach HealthSmart Contact Grill is a useful appliance for those wanting quick meals without much work -- except, perhaps, after dinner when doing the cleaning. It's a great choice for those that don't have access to a real grill or would like to avoid turning on the broiler. With little effort, it puts out consistent results that will work with everything from fajitas to a simple grilled steak.

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