T-fal Optigrill XL Review
The widespread availability of indoor grilling equipment means that your cooking plans no longer are forced to rely on nice weather, sunny skies, and warm temperatures. We’re now able to enjoy the taste of a chargrilled steak in the middle of winter or in the midst of a thunderstorm from the comfort of our own kitchens!
There are countless brands of indoor grills on the market, and each of these has several different models offering a huge variety of features and amenities. Today we’ll be focusing on one: the T-fal OptiGrill XL. It is an indoor electric grill with a larger cooking surface than most.
Users can easily cook for a crowd if they choose, or they can simply utilize its powerful and fast-preheating plates to whip up a quick meal for one. Let’s get into some specifics.
The T-fal OptiGrill XL uses an 1800 watt electric power system. What sets it apart from the standard OptiGrill model is its large cooking surface that has room for up to 8 servings of food at a time.
It also features several more manual temperature mode choices (keep warm, low, medium, and high), whereas the standard model only has one (high).
It also has 9 automatic programs, compared to 6 for the regular OptiGrill. Both grills have presets for burgers, poultry, sandwiches, sausage, red meat, and fish, but the OptiGrill XL also has options for pork, bacon, and shellfish.
This slight differentiation might not be a huge difference to most consumers, but if you’re somebody who frequently cooks those meats and prefers the convenience of automated cooking equipment, it is something to consider when making your purchase.
The regular OptiGrill also only has one manual temperature setting, and that setting is high. This can definitely pose an issue for cooking something delicate, or something that would benefit from a more low-and-slow cooking process.
A really great feature that the OptiGrill XL has is its Automatic Sensor Cooking technology. The grill can actually detect the number of items being cooked on its surface.
It also measured the thickness of the meat and automatically adjusts the temperature within a given program to suit your particular cut of meat. This is extremely beneficial when cooking something like a steak, for instance.
A one-size-fits-all cooking temperature and time would probably leave a one-inch thick New York Strip rubbery and a two-inch thick Filet Mignon completely raw inside. Another way that the OptiGrill avoids this issue is by using its indicator lights, which show you when your meat has reached rare, medium, and well-done.
Taking the guesswork out of cooking your meat allows you confidence to spend your energy on preparing the rest of your meal.
The OptiGrill XL also has some convenient settings for frozen food. It offers a “frozen defrost” mode as well as a “cook from frozen” mode.
This makes it the perfect tool for a busy weekday night when you get home and realize you forgot to take your meat out of the freezer (don’t worry, it happens to all of us). Another point of convenience is the ease of cleaning the grill.
The cast-aluminum nonstick plates won’t hold on to food residue, so there won’t be any tedious scrubbing for you to look forward to after your meal. They can go straight into the dishwasher after a quick rinse, and so can the handy drip tray.
The T-fal OptiGrill does have a few areas where I feel it falls short when compared to some of its competitors. First, it is what many of us would consider a “George Foreman” style grill.
While this is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you intend to use it strictly for meat grilling purposes, many other indoor grills on the market offer so many more features at a similar (or even less expensive) price point.
Some other indoor grills also have numerous other uses such as roasting, baking, dehydrating, or even air frying. The nature of this press-style grill means that it can really only be used for that sole purpose. Another point of contention is the grill’s price tag.
As mentioned previously, many competing products can do so much more and cost even less than the T-fal OptiGrill XL. Even the smaller T-fal OptiGrill is not that much less expensive, and it performs the same functions as the XL version.
Regardless, the T-fal OptiGrill is still a fantastic choice for your indoor grilling needs. This press-style grill will give a nice sear on both sides of meat simultaneously, and its many smart detecting features make it a foolproof way to enjoy delicious grilled meat at home.
You won’t have to worry about under- or overcooking your meat and can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a perfectly great home cooked meal.