2,557 of 2,606 people found the following review helpful
I bought a G4 Griddler from Amazon in 2005, and used it a couple of times a week (at least) until it had to be put out to pasture in 2010 due to failure of the non-stick coating on the plates. (The coating started to bubble and peel, and no one wants that in their food...) I loved it. (See my review of the Cuisinart GR-4 Griddler Stainless-Steel 4-in-1 Grill/Griddle and Panini Press) It was still working great, but replacement plates were not available.
I was elated when offered the opportunity to review its smarter younger brother, the GR-4NAM Griddler. I could hardly wait for it to get here and run it through its paces.
At first glance, the GR-4NAM looks virtually identical to the G4. However, closer inspection reveals that it has been totally redesigned, and for the better.
Improvement: The grease catcher used to be a little cup that had to be set under a spout on the side of the bottom plate. If it was positioned incorrectly, (or forgotten about), greased dripped out on the counter. The grease catcher is now integrated into the Griddler as a drawer-like device that can be pulled out to clean, and then put back in place for the next use.
Improvement: The original G4 had two sets of plates - one flat set, one ridged set (for paninis). There is now one reversible set of plates (ridged on one side, flat on the other), and therefore no need to find a storage place for the plates not in use. The new plates have a good substantial weight. I don't have the old ones here for comparison, but the quality of the plates certainly was not cheapened.
Improvement: It used to be a little tricky to put the plates in place and to remove them. There was also a difference between the top plate and the bottom, so you had to be careful not to try to put them in the wrong way. The plates now have an identical shape, so they are interchangeable, and the release buttons activate a spring-loaded mechanism that pops the plate loose for easy removal.
Now, to see how it cooks: The Griddler takes about as long to warm up as a good-quality waffle iron. Just when you start to get impatient with it, it's ready.
The first thing that I cooked was a no-no in the eyes of Cuisinart - a bone-in, skin-on leg and thigh chicken quarter. Too thick, they say. HA! says I, because I am a bit of an anarchist. I marinated the chicken in olive oil and rosemary, heated the Griddler to Medium. I cooked it on the panini plates because I love those little fake barbeque stripes across my food. It worked just fine. (I should have taken a picture, it came out looking beautiful. But I was hungry.)
Word of warning: Do not cook thick or fatty meat on High - you will get grease spatters all over the place. Medium works just fine in such instances.
I discovered from my old Griddler that when cooking meat it's best to turn off the heat before it's done, and let it finish cooking with the residual heat in the plates. That way the meat does not get overdone.
For clean-up, I let the plates cool down, and then put a wet paper towel across the bottom plate and close the lid and let it sit for a while. The dampness softens anything that is stuck to the plates, and then it can be easily washed off with a sudsy sponge or dish wand.
Today for lunch, I made myself a sandwich with sliced sourdough bread, cooked sliced chicken breast, fresh grated parmesan cheese and dried basil. I followed the panini directions in the small cookbook that comes with the Griddler. Well, I sort of followed the directions... Cuisinart recommends brushing the outside of the sandwich with olive oil. I prefer to use melted butter on panini because it makes the sandwich crisper.
I preheated the Griddler on High, placed the sandwich inside, and applied light pressure for about 30 seconds, and then let it cook. The directions say to cook panini for about 4 -5 minutes, but my sandwich was ready to eat in 2 minutes. Maybe the butter makes the bread brown faster than olive oil.
In any case, it was beautiful - evenly browned, crunchy and delicious, and I did take a picture (see product images).
How durable will the GR-4NAM be? Good question. From everything that I can see so far, Cuisinart has only made the Griddler better. But time is the real test of quality. I will report back from time to time regarding durability.
Right now, I'd say this looks like an excellent buy.
UPDATE, January 2011:
The Griddler is still in great shape. Granted, I am not using it as frequently as I did my original one, but that's because there are fewer mouths to feed in my household now than there used to be. I have no cautionary tales to add to the review. Hmmm... I think I'll go make a grilled cheese sandwich....
Additional thought: Do not spray the non-stick plates with Pam or similar non-stick coating. I did not realize that this was not a good idea until I purchased some high-end non-stick cookware, and the manufacturer stated that doing so may leave a residue on the coating that destroys the non-stick properties.
1,092 of 1,135 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2005
I have tried the Villaware Uni panini grill, the Delonghi open countertop grill and another panini type grill (approx $90), and returned them all (ouch, those return shipping charges hurt). I never considered the Geroge Foreman grills because they always felt cheaply made to me, not to mention many unfavorable reviews).
None of the grills/panini presses that I tried got hot enough to work well for me. They just did not grill as much as steam,bake cook the food, and they all took a longer time to do so than I was willing to wait.
I never was bothered by cleanup, though. I always just wipe the hot plates with wet paper towel, let it then cool a bit, and wash with wet sponge. Works on them all.
So I just gave up and bought some stovetop grill pans and have used them for the past year or so. They do get as hot as you want but you do have to turn the food to cook both sides.
Being a kitchen appliance junkie, I decided to try the Cuisinart Griddler this year.
I love the size (great for just 2 people, though) as I do not anticipate using it in the full open position. And it is handsome as handsome can be to me. Very commercial looking on a very small scale. (I was chef/owner of a restaurant for 13 years.)
And cleanup is easy. Although I still use the wet paper towel and sponge for immediate cleanup, the removable plates (very easy to take off and put back on) make washing in sink or dishwasher other options, Although the plates are nonstick, it is best to use vegetable spray or oil on the food (I prefer this rather than spraying the whole plate.)
There are 3 controls--griddle temperature selector, on/off to select either griddle or panini/grill, and panini/grill temperature selector. There is no timer so there is a small learning curve to learn when your food is cooked. Expect to overcook many things at first as the griddler really cooks quickly.
There's a short electrical cord, about 34" usable length. Solid construction. Hinged top does settle squarely on the food. Because there the griddler is flat with no slope like the Foreman and other grills, vegetables will not roll off or toward the front.
It takes about 5 minutes to preheat and then, wow, it really grills. Salmon took just 3 minutes. I overcooked my halved zuchinni in just a few minutes.
You can hear the instant sizzle sound but don't go to far away as it cooks more quikly than you might be used to.
We don't eat fatty meats (like burgers) so I cannot comment on the grease/drip factor but with fish, seafood, chicken and vegetables, there is absolutely no splatter.
It can cool down quickly if left open, a disadvantage while cooking but an advantage for cleaning.
Again, the most important factor for me was how hot the grill got (and quickly as well) This, of course, leads to perfect grilling on both sides.
I just love my griddler.
1,253 of 1,334 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2006
We have had this product for over 1 year. This product has a few of great features:
1. The interchangeable nonstick plates that are dishwasher safe.
2. The unit opens up to a large griddle.
3. The cooking plates are dishwasher safe.
However, the nonstick surface has started peeling off of the plates even though the plates have never been abused, and we have never used metal utensils on them.
Our biggest complaint is the thermostat. The unit will reach the desired temperature, and then turn off. The cooking plates will actually cool off so much that the food will stop cooking. The thermostat will then kick back on and take about 3-5 minutes to get back up to temperature. It is very annoying, and doesn't always produce good results with food.
There also is a large temperature difference between the two plates when the unit is opened as a large griddle. This causes items being cooked to finish at different times.
This could have been a great product, but Cuisinart seems to have gone "cheap" in areas that are integral to the function of the griddle. I would not purchase this item again.
443 of 482 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2010
Improvements over previous model are the reversable grill plates that snap in and out very easily and now you do not have 2 extra plates to store somewhere. The grease catch pan is integrated into the bottom and removes very easily for cleaning. Cleanup is a snap: take off the 2 grill plates and they wash and cleanup so easy I don't bother putting them in the dishwasher. Clean the drip tray and you are done. Fast & easy.
I disagree with those that say it is great for cooking small meals or for a small family. It cooks the meat so fast, you better not walk away. First thing I cooked were good sized hamburgers & they were at 180° in 5 minutes. The next 4 were perfectly cooked at 4 minutes. Used the Sear setting per the instruction book with the grill preheated. New York Strip sirloins were done in 3 1/2 to 4 minutes on the Sear setting. Fast cooking & the meat is eye appealing with the grill marks on both sides. Batch number 3 will be pork chops tonight.
Granted, it doesn't quite do the job my Weber grill does outside, but when it is 15 below zero, the Griddler is very nice to have for indoor winter usage.
Great indoor grill, cooks fast, easy cleanup... I highly recommend it.
188 of 207 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2010
I liked the griddler despite the fact you can't clean the cooking plates well because of the so called non stick surface. I used it often according to the coking instruction booklet that came with the appliance. After a short time the plastic locking clips that hold the removable plates in place became brittle and broke off. The top plate will not secure to the lid rendering the appliance useless . This is an expensive throw away.
306 of 341 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2010
The grill works great, BUT, the non-stick finish was peeling off one of the grill plates after just one week of use!!! I sent several emails to them regarding this, and despite their pat "we will respond shortly", I never got ANY response!!! I went on-line to register this product as soon as I got it, and was expecting a response AND a new grill plate, but got neither!! I will never purchase a Cuisinart product again because of their piss-poor customer service.
Here it is, a little over a year since I got this product, STILL no reponse from Cuisinart regarding the non-stick finish peeling off, and NOW is does not matter as the CHEAP PLASTIC HOLDING THE PLATES IN MELTED!!!!!! Their customer service is USELESS and they do NOT stand behind their product!
446 of 500 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2007
I purchased the griddler as a Christmas (2006) present for my husband. Initially, he was thrilled. It worked better than we had anticipated. Our love affair with the griddler, however, was EXTREMELY short lived. By late January, it had begun to "act up." It would occasionally and unpredictably turn itself off. Not long after that, the griddler began shutting itself off every time the temperature was turned above "warm." Though I was shocked at how quickly the item broke, I was still optimistic. After all, "lemons" happen from time to time. I emailed Cuisinart asking what I needed to do to make a claim on the warranty. TWO WEEKS LATER, I received a response telling me to call or email with the model and serial number of the bottom of the unit. Given that their initial email response took so long, I called and was left on hold for over 30 minutes. When I finally reached a surly customer service representative, she informed me that they would send me a new unit for $10. I asked why I had to pay $10 when their unit was defective and was informed that it was a limited warranty. She told me that I should have read the warranty before purchasing the unit. I was further instructed to package the unit up with my contact info and a claim number the representative provided me. After they receive the unit and payment, they will send a replacement. Apparently, there was no way to tell me how long this might take. This experience has ensured that I will never purchase a Cuisinart product again and I thought I'd let others know about my experience in case they too do not like defective products and terrible customer service.
61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
This griddler rocks! The first day I had it we made panini sandwiches.. yummy! they were perfect! Then, having read the one review on here and seeing the splatter photos I wanted to try some meat on the griddler myself. So I cooked burgers on it. These were thick steack burgers and they grilled to perfection on this griddler! There was no splatter mess at all, the drip cup worked great and, even better, cleanup of the griddler itself was a snap. Perhaps the reviewer who had issues had the griddler on too high, I dont know. But I've had no problem at all. Tonite we're making steaks on it!
You won't be disappointed with the Griddler.
233 of 259 people found the following review helpful
I bought the Griddler in February of 2005 and have taken care to ensure it lasts. The Griddler is heavy and sturdily constructed. It heats up quickly, and cleans up even faster. We have used it for panini, grilling meat, and toasting burger buns. The unit can be used either as a panini/grill press with the floating top or opened up to use as a griddle.
The base of the unit heats up and maintains temperature better than the top. This creates uneven toasting of the Panini or other items. It's not so much of a problem using as a griddle, since one side will simply cook faster than the other.
After a year the nonstick surface has started pealing off of the grill plates. I have never used metal on the nonstick surface and have taken great care to preserve the finish. Perhaps it is in the design or a fate of nonstick coated products in general, but the now I will have to take care not to get pieces of the nonstick surface in my food.
The Griddler comes with interchangeable dishwasher safe griddle and grill plates with a lock and release system that is intuitive to use. The plates easily release with the press of a button for cleaning. To place the plates back on the Griddler, one simply rests the plates in the groves located towards the rear or bottom and snaps the front or top into place. The plates don't consistently stay attached in the top section like they once did. It's very annoying trying to reposition a hot plate back into place.
On the surface, the Griddler has the looks and design to be a great product. Cuisinart has some bugs to work out to attain even heating and plates that last. If I were to buy a new panini press, I would not look to Cuisinart again. As a matter of fact, I now enjoy using a Breville 800GRXL Indoor Barbeque and Grill instead.
Heavy and sturdily construction
Heats up and cleans quickly
Non-stick surface does not last
261 of 291 people found the following review helpful
We have had good luck with Cuisinart products over the years, so we decided to try this one, mostly based on the large number of favorable reviews here at Amazon. Clean-up is a dream. This product has an excellent non-stick surface, and even burned-on food comes right off with minimal effort. After reading the critique about the grease spattering all over, I tried a small experiment. I cooked salmon filets, marinated with lemon juice, dillweed and olive oil. No problem. I cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, also marinated with olive oil. No problem. So then I brought in the Big Guns - skin-on bone-in chicken thighs, marinated and cooked the same way as the breasts. It did make a mess. I cooked all of the above on High, however. The problem came from the fat in the skin, and the thickness of the meat - the lid sits farther open, so more splatters can escape. How to solve the problem? Put a couple of paper towels on the counter, and cook the meat at Medium. Just with any kitchen tool, there is an effective way to use it, and a dumb way to use it. A little common sense goes a long way. I am extremely happy with this grill.
Update: September 2008. I am still constantly using this grill - it's a winner.
Update: February 2010: I had to stop using the panini plates because the non-stick coating was bubbling up and peeling off. Very disappointing, but we all know that this type of coating has a limited life-span. Given how much it's been used, I can't get too upset about it. Time to get a new one.