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New to this site, and new to cooking, well cooking properly.

I have in my possession a George Foreman grill, not because of the advertising hype, but because I have a very limited space for cooking in my apartment.

My question is, just how effective is the George Foreman grill (or any other grill like it) in draining the fat off meat while cooking?

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There are a couple of fluff pieces on the web that appear to indicate the George Forman Grills remove fat from foods, due to the tiled bed allowing draining:

In my opinion, both have the feel of echoing press releases from the manufacturer.

Neither compares the effectiveness of the tilted bed grill to a more traditional grilling method.

Consider griddling a hamburger on a flat griddle or in a flat style panini press, with or without raised grooves. Even without the grooves, as the hamburger cooks, it expresses fat and other liquid as the proteins in the meat tighten. With a fatty hamburger, this can be a considerable amount, even though it is not draining away.

The issue in expressed fat is not the tilt, but rather the squeezing effect the cooked proteins have, forcing the fat out of the food. This happens regardless of the angle of the bed.

Consider also that it is the contraction of the meat that is important in expressing the fat. If the fat were simply liquefied but the proteins not fully tightened, less or no fat is expressed. This can be seen in low temperature sous-vide cooking. Adhesion and capillary action would keep the fat in the meat otherwise.

The logical conclusion is that the tilt of the bed is irreverent in expressing the fat, but does help clear it away and collect it. This may have some minor effect on the amount of fat adhering to the outside of the food item, but is not the major effect.

You can argue whether the clearing of the fat away during cooking is a positive or negative for culinary quality, but it doesn't affect the amount of fat.

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As a cook for about half my working life, for what was once pretty much started as a "gadget", the George Foreman grill isn't a bad thing to have, especially if, as you say, you have limited space in your kitchen. I have the same problem and also own a GF. More likely than not though, I use mine when I simply can't get outside to cook on my charcoal grill because of heavy rain or extremely cold temps. I'm talkin' around 15 degrees F and below, because if it's warmer than that, I'm gonna be right there at the grill anyway and get heat from it, plus in the summer, I'll grill out almost anything I can, for the education(since I don't work anymore, I have the liberty to experiment and I take FULL advantage of it too, believe me! lol), but mostly the flavor PLUS it keeps the un-needed extra heat out of the house!. I have a "chimney brick" that someone cut in halves for a meat press if I need it too. The weight of the top of the GF does the same thing, but a simple YES, with the constant weight on top and the slant, it DOES helps get rid of more fat than some high buck restaurants I've eaten at, and since it's got the advantage of cooking from both top and bottom, it cooks faster and more even too, if time is against you for some reason. If your apartment has a patio or balcony and you're allowed to have a regular grill, I'd recommend you get one of those first,(but ALWAYS use extra caution since a totally out of control fire, especially where grease is involved, can get out of hand in a second or two) but grill outside, if you can, if for no other reason.....the taste and the great smell of the smoke while you're cooking! Personally, I like drivin' my neighbors crazy while I'm grillin' outside hehe Hope this helps, and wasn't a scientific explanation :)

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I will recommend a George Forman ... I would not recommend a normal grill for an apartment, because in many areas they're just flat illegal to have a on balcony and have restrictions on how close they're allowed to be to 'multi-family dwellings' (anywhere from 15 to 40 feet). –  Joe Jul 9 '13 at 0:36
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(this is probably more appropriate as a comment, or multiple comments, but it was just too long)

As has already been mentioned, the George Foreman grill helps to drain fat by both squeezing slightly and the tilt (as you prevent the fat from pooling and being reabsorbed or just blocking other fat from coming out.

The squeezing and draining can also squeeze out other liquid, but the conveniece of the grill more than makes up for it. We break one out quite regularly, or a similar appliance from cuisinart that can be open as a griddle or close as a panini press (the plates remove so you can change to flat or ridged). They're different sizes, and have different cooking characteristics, so both get use.

I would suggest that if you use any of these fat- (and other liquid) draining devices that you give up on the drip tray unless you want to babysit it constantly; we use a sheet pan or something deeper as it's just tricky lifting the drip tray if you let it get too full. I know someone who used to use his so it drained into his sink, but that is a very, very bad idea.

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