The Pitch: "Knocks out up to 55 percent of the fat absorbed during frying!"
April 2009. The George Foreman Lean Mean Spin Frying Machine, promoted by the former heavyweight champ, promises in its infomercial to spin the fat away from foods after frying. The commercial says the machine will get rid of "up to 55 percent of the fat," although the fine print says the average is 38 percent.
The spin-fryer really does get rid of a noticeable amount of fat, reviewers say. One blogger posting to UnamiMart.com who test-fried several frozen foods in the George Foreman said her french fries turned out perfectly. Her Korean dumplings looked pretty greasy, but they tasted oddly dry as if they had been baked instead of fried. Mozzarella sticks were dry, too, and the spinner damaged several during the spinning process -- a complaint we found in other reviews.
Unlike other fryers, the George Foreman fryer has a lot of parts (which feel flimsy, according to some reviews). The machine has a lid that remains closed during the frying and spin cycles. Reviews say this lidded design cuts down on spatters and odors, but it makes it difficult to stir or monitor food, especially since the viewing window gathers steams quickly.
Some users find the fryer basket too small, mainly due to the spindle in the middle. "You can forget about frying anything very large, like a fish fillet," writes Jessica Harlan at About.com. Like some other users, Harlan says the fryer "wobbled precariously" but did not tip or spill during the spin cycle. Some users say the fryer basket doesn't stay in the spin cycle position -- it keeps falling back down into the grease.
A Google search turned up plenty of glowing "reviews" for the George Foreman fryer that appear to be thinly disguised sales pitches -- a common marketing practice we've seen with products that are sold on TV or the Internet. But a cooking-equipment expert at About.com and a food blogger at UmamiMart.com both conduct reputable tests of the George Foreman fryer. Amazon.com offers informative reviews from real-life users; Walmart.com attracts very few user reviews, and most of the ones at Target.com are over the top, with no criticism at all and similar language, making us skeptical of their origin.
Harlan, About.com's guide to cooking equipment, fries chicken tenders in the George Foreman and gets good results. However, she finds several flaws in the fryer's design. On the spin cycle, the machine wobbles on her counter, which she remedies by using nonskid feet. She thinks the fry basket is too small, preventing users from cooking larger foods. Condensation builds up quickly on the viewing window, making it difficult for her to monitor the cooking process. In addition, she says the dials are unreliable and difficult to push. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Review of George Foreman Lean Mean Spin Frying Machine, Jessica Harlan
This anonymous reviewer tests three frozen foods in her new George Foreman fryer: Korean mandoo dumplings, french fries and mozzarella sticks. The fries turn out well, but some of the mozzarella sticks break and the dumplings retain too much oil. Although the dumplings and cheese sticks taste too dry after spinning, she recommends the fryer anyway. This review includes lots of photos of the fryer parts and the food.
Review: Appliance Review: George Foreman Lean Mean Spin Frying Machine, "Sonja", Feb. 1, 2009
The George Foreman Deep Fryer averages four stars (out of five) with about 40 user reviews posted here. There are a few questionable reviews here and there (one is identical to a review at Target.com) but several are extremely thorough, balanced and helpful. The majority of users are impressed with the fryer's ability to remove the fats from food, while preserving moisture and flavor. A few of the reviews do echo Jessica Harlan's complaints at About.com -- that the machine doesn't stay in place and the frying capacity is limited. Several users complain that the fryer takes up too much space and isn't very durable.
Review: George Foreman GSF026B Deep Fryer with Smart Spin Technology, Contributors to Amazon.com
There are only a handful of reviews posted here for the George Foreman fryer, and they are mostly negative. User complaints vary -- the frying capacity is too small, the basket doesn't stay in place and the machine itself is difficult to operate. The fryer earns an average score of two stars (out of five).
Review: George Foreman Lean Fryer, Contributors to Walmart.com
About half of the roughly 10 user reviews posted here are suspiciously positive -- they include buzzwords from the commercial ("Knocks out the fat!"), repeatedly criticize McDonalds' fried food, and the reviewers themselves don't review any other items on the website. Of the remaining two reviews, one is balanced and fairly positive, while the other finds the fryer's spin cycle scarily vigorous.
Review: George Foreman Lean Mean Fryer, Contributors to Target.com