Just when you thought your barbecue was destined to spend the summer rusting in the shed, Mother Nature has kindly bestowed upon us some flamin’ good weather. I’ve been living off burgers and chicken drumsticks for almost two weeks now, but I’m not complaining… just a bit plumper.
Still, one thing I’ve never mastered on the barbie – or in a pan, despite Nick Nairn’s attempts to teach me – is the perfect steak. So I was very excited when the peeps at Tefal told me about their new OptiGrill, which promises perfectly cooked rare, medium or well-done steak, every time.
Turn it on, wait for the green light, then pop in your sirloin, rump or – if you’re treating yourself – fillet steak between the two plates. The OptiGrill automatically measures the thickness of the meat and adjusts the cooking time to suit, so all you have to do is wait for the light to turn yellow for rare, orange for medium or red for well done. There should be no worries about under or overcooking, no lifting up the plates to check on progress, or any need to cut into your food to check it’s done. Oh, and if you’re colour blind, it beeps between each stage, too.
So what’s my verdict? Well, I was concerned that Tefal, being a French brand, would serve up the rare steak ‘bleu’ – in other words, still mooing. However, I was promised that the grill has been thoroughly tested for the British palette, and therefore not as bloody as you’d find across the Channel. Still, I think the rare was a tad undercooked. What do you think?
I felt the OptiGrill was a lot more successful with salmon – another tricky thing to cook. The fillet I sampled had a lovely crisp skin but was melt-in-the-mouth moist in the middle. It also cooks other barbecue fayre such as sausages, burgers and chicken, so will come in handy when this hot spell inevitably turns into a rainy one.
I was also impressed with the design. The 600cm² bottom plate has room for four steaks and is angled by seven degrees so that any fat drips pleasingly into the detachable drip tray. You can wash off any cooking residues ready for the next batch of food by pouring a little water over the still-hot plates, but for a more thorough clean the plates detach with a simple click, and they’re dishwasher safe. Hurrah!
The Tefal OptiGrill is available now, priced at £129.99. You can find your nearest stockist at optigrill.tefal.co.uk