Do you remember the George Foreman Grill? I had one of these babies in my college dorm room, and even though it was against the rules, this little baby grilled me up a piece of chicken breast or burger on many a night.
Officially called the “George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine,” or simply referred to as the George Foreman Grill, this cooking device is a portable, double-sided, electrically heated grill. Manufactured by Spectrum Brands, it is promoted by the world-famous, two-time World Heavyweight boxing champion, George Foreman.
The grill was created in 1994 by Michael Boehm of Batavia, Illinois, intended to be an indoor grill that would reduce cooking time by cooking both sides at once. The second benefit was reducing fat content in burgers and other fatty meats by draining the fat into a separate reservoir. Boehm designed his grill with a floating hinge and slanted grilling surface to accommodate foods of different thicknesses and as a way to drain away grease and fat.
The grill was initially presented as “The Fajita Express” but saw little market traction. After a year of several trade shows, the grill was pitched to Salton, Inc, a manufacturer of all things kitchen-gadget related. Salton sent samples of the grill to several celebrities, one of them famously being pro-wrestler Hulk Hogan. Hogan turned down the concept in favor of the Hulk Hogan Meatball Maker.
Yeah, I never heard of that one, either.
When George Foreman saw the grill, he leaped at the chance to endorse it. Since 1994, he’s promoted the grill on countless infomercials and 30-second ad spots. His likable personality and the unique features of the grill made it a smashing success. The infomercials were so popular in the 90s that George’s tagline “It’s so good, I put my name on it!” became an oft-repeated part of popular culture for a time.
The grill is still being sold worldwide today, having gone through a few new “generations.” In 2006, the “Next Grill-eration” was launched, featuring detachable grill plates for easier cleaning. In 2014, it was updated again to the “Evolve Grill,” where the machine features different interchangeable cooking plates.
In all, the George Foreman Grill has resulted in sales of over 150 million units. Foreman has never confirmed exactly how much he has earned from the endorsement. Still, in 1999, Salton, Inc. paid him $140 million to buy his ownership stake and the rights to continue using his name in the company. Previously, he was said to have made 40 percent of the profits, earning him $4.5 million a month in payouts during its peak, so it’s safe to say Mr. Foreman has earned over $200 million in endorsing The Lean Mean Grilling Machine.
Did you own one of these? Do you remember the infomercials? Let us know in the comments!