I have been in full on grilling mode recently. I can’t seem to get enough of recipes made on the grill! So as the end of summer continues to creep closer, I am trying to get in all of the grilling I can. As much as I would love to grill in the colder months, I’m a wimp and know I just won’t stand out in the cold.
I’ve used indoor counter top grills in the past and really wasn’t thrilled with the cooking results — it didn’t seem to heat up enough to get proper grill marks, all of the juices would flow out of the grill making for a very dry protein, and I’d always under or overcook the meat.
So when I was contacted to test out the T-fal OptiGrill as part of T-fal’s OptiGrill Blogger Bash, I had some reservations about if this grill would really live up to expectations. Well, I was really pleasantly surprised! What sets the OptiGrill apart is its Precision Grilling Technology that adjusts the cooking time and temperature depending on the type of protein and the thickness of whatever you’re cooking.
The T-fal OptiGrill has a cooking level indicator with a color changing display that notifies you when your protein has reached rare, medium, or well-done. It also beeps when your food reaches each of the cooking stages. (Keep in mind that if you want your meat to rest before slicing, it continues to cook. So if you wanted a steak at medium rare and planned to let it rest for 5 minutes, you should probably take it out when the OptiGrill hits the “rare” notification.)
The grill comes pre-programmed with 6 settings that adapt cooking temperature and times for different types of food: burger, poultry, sandwich, pork/sausage, red meat, and fish/seafood. There is also a frozen food function button so that you can cook your protein even when frozen; just push the snowflake button and then one of the 6 pre-programmed buttons. The grill will defrost and cook the protein in one easy step! When cooking fruits and veggies, just use the manual mode, which allows you to determine when the food is done cooking. The OptiGrill also takes into account the thickness of your food using an integrated thickness sensor so that the protein is fully cooked correctly.
The grill is made of brushed stainless steel with die-cast aluminum plates with a non-stick coating. The plates are removable for easy cleaning and are even dishwasher safe. The plates are angled so that drippings can flow into the removable drip tray, which surprisingly doesn’t leave the meat tough, dry, or chewy.
Want to see the grill in action? I decided to test it out with a yummy recipe from Cooking Light that uses both chicken thighs and chicken breasts. Chicken is so easy to overcook leaving a dry meal so I thought it would be a perfect way to test what this grill can really handle. This recipe also includes grilled pineapple so I was able to test out the manual setting as well. I made the marinade from this recipe for Jerk-style Chicken and the salsa from this recipe for Jerk Chicken with Grilled Pineapple Salsa.
I also am giving away one T-fal OptiGrill to one lucky reader, courtesy of T-fal OptiGrill! Details below the recipe.
Note: I was sent a T-fal OptiGrill to test for this review. T-fal is also offering one I Can Cook That reader the chance to win their own T-Fal OptiGrill. All opinions are my own.
- 1 teaspoon grated lime rind
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice plus 1 tablespoon, divided (about 3 limes)
- 1 tablespoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (substitute 1 tablespoon molasses to make paleo)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeño pepper
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 pound)
- 3 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 2 (1-inch) slices fresh pineapple
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1/3 cups sliced green onions
Combine the lime zest and juice. allspice, brown sugar, jalapeno pepper, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, ground black pepper, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg, and garlic cloves in a blender, processing until well blended.
Pour the mixture into a large heave-duty zip-top plastic bag. Add the onion and chicken. Seal the bag and marinate for 1-2 hours in the fridge, turning the bag half way through.
When ready to cook, preheat your grill. (Using the T-fal OptiGrill, turn the grill on and press the “M” button for manual. This setting will bring the grill to medium-high heat but will not alert you to your food being cooked to rare, medium, or well done.)
Place the pineapple on the grill and close. Grill for 6 minutes. (You’ll notice in my photos some parts of the pineapple do not have grill marks on them. Because some of the slices were thicker than others, the thinner piece didn’t reach the top grill pan. So keep in mind that whatever you are grilling should be the same thickness or you’ll end up with uneven grill marks).
Remove from grill and let cool for 5 minutes. Reset the OptiGrill to the “poultry” setting. Allow the grill to preheat.
When the pineapple is cool, chop and place in a medium sized bowl with 1/3 cup green onions, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, the bell pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss to combine.
When the grill is ready, add the chicken thigh pieces to the grill and close. Grill until the OptiGrill shows that they are well done (the indicator will be red).
You’ll notice some of the juices going into the drip tray. I was afraid this was going to make the chicken dry but it remained surprisingly moist.
Remove from grill. Reset the OptiGrill to preheat for chicken again. When ready, add the chicken breasts to the grill. Grill until the OptiGrill shows that it is well done. (I was pleasantly surprised to find that the OptiGrill took a bit longer to cook the chicken breasts than the thighs. That “thickness indicator” really works!)
Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Cut the chicken into slices and top with the pineapple salsa.
The T-fal OptiGrill kept the chicken really juicy and moist. And the jerk chicken marinade is so tasty and flavorful! Definitely a winner.
I really loved the Grilled Pineapple Salsa. I wish I had doubled the recipe to serve more on the side with some tortilla chips! To make this a quick dinner option, you can marinate the chicken overnight instead of for an hour. The day of would then come together in no time!
Want to win a T-fal OptiGrill of your own? Use the widget below to enter! Good luck!