George Foreman grills have come a long way since the "Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine," the first model, began to "knock out the fat" in 1994. The grills come in sizes ranging from 36 square inches to 133 square inches. And, although Foreman's ritual of eating two hamburgers before boxing matches made his namesake grills synonymous with beef, they cook fish, chicken and vegetables with equal effectiveness. Though the aesthetics of the Foreman grill has changed over time, the thing it does best—drain fat away from food during cooking so you end up with less during eating—hasn't.
Wipe the cooking plates with a moist cloth and dry with a paper towel. Close the grill cover.
Place the drip tray in the slot under the front of the cooking plate. Plug the grill in and let it heat automatically—an indicator light will illuminate. If your Foreman model has a variable temperature control, slide it to the MAX position.
Take the burgers out of the fridge or freezer while the grill heats and season them to taste. Open the grill using a potholder when the indicator light goes out.
Oil the cooking plates using a brush or towel moistened with vegetable oil if desired, but don't use cooking spray. The cooking plates are nonstick, so the oil just adds a slight crispness to the outside of the burgers and is optional.
Place the burgers on the bottom cooking plate. The number of burgers your Foreman holds varies with the model and how large you make the patties, however, you must space each burger at least 1/4 inch apart for even cooking on all sides.
Close the grill without smashing the burgers. The top of the grill sits on the burgers by its own weight, so just lay it on the burgers without pressing.
Cook 1/2-inch-thick burgers 3 to 5 minutes for medium-rare, 5 to 6 minutes for medium or 6 to 8 minutes for well-done. Cook burgers thinner than 1/2 inch about 1 minute less and burgers thicker than 1/2 inch about 1 minute longer.
Open the grill using a potholder and transfer the burgers to a plate using the supplied spatula. Toast the bottom of the hamburger buns on the bottom grill plate, if desired. If you want to add cheese, place a slice on each burger and cover with a lid to melt.
Unplug the grill and let it cool completely. Scrape the food debris from the cooking plates using the supplied spatula into the drip tray.
Remove the drip tray and discard the drippings. If your model of Foreman grill has stationary plates you can't remove for cleaning, so the next best option is to wipe them with a warm, soapy sponge, then wipe them clean with a non-soapy sponge. Dry the plates with a paper towel.
If you have a model that allows you to remove the grill plates, detach them from the body and hand-wash them in warm, soapy water or in the dishwasher.
Wash the drip tray and spatula in warm soapy water and let them air dry. Return the drip tray to its slot and close the grill. Wrap the cord and store the grill.
You can incorporate the same ingredients you would use on burgers grilled outdoors in the burgers you cook on your Foreman grill. For example, Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke mixed in the ground beef give the burgers a smoky, charred, open-flame flavor you can't get on an electric grill.
Saute burger toppings, such as sliced mushrooms and onions, alongside the burgers. Mushrooms and onions usually take a minute or two less than the burgers, so add them after the burgers or remove them a couple minutes before you remove the burgers.
You can cook chopped ground beef on a Foreman grill, just cook it until the juices run clear, about 3 to 4 minutes.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends cooking hamburgers to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.