2,511 of 2,559 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.
1,070 of 1,112 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.
1,228 of 1,306 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 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.
433 of 471 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.
80 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2010
I'm a single guy living in NYC and was looking for an easy-to-use appliance to make quick, delicious food. I could not be more pleased with this purchase. With a bare minimum of prep, I've made delicious paninis, burgers, steaks, ham and eggs, and pancakes, among other things.
The designers thought of everything when putting this together. The reversible non-stick cooking surfaces on either side are easy to switch and simple to clean. The top adjusts simply to any thickness for whatever you may be cooking, whether a flat panini or a thick steak, and provides and even heat on both top and bottom.
My favorite thus far has been to take a whole wheat sandwich roll brushed with olive oil, add a few basil leaves, roasted peppers, sopressata and provolone, and within 3-4 minutes I have a truly delicious panini cooked perfectly throughout. Once when I was stuck with no bread, I improvised and piled cheese atop roasted peppers and roast chicken pieces on the flat surfase and closed the top. The cheese melted and browned beautifully and when it came time to take my creation off the griddle, it didn't stick at all to either surface and I was left with a beautiful bachelor's special. I've also open the griddle completely and cooked fried eggs with salami and pimentos on one side and pancakes on the other (again, neither stuck at all and everything was simple to flip).
The only complaints I have are as follows:
- When it heats up, the whole unit gets quite hot (except for the handle) so you just need to be careful not to accidentally touch the top/sides.
- The edges to the removable cooking surfaces are not quite raised high enough so really juicy foods may drip/splatter over the edge a bit (it helps to ever-so-slightly tip the unit back so that the juices run towards the drip spout)
Other than that, I really appreciate the quality of the unit, the size/design, the ease-of-use and the price. Strongly recommend.
304 of 338 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!
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2004
i am lovin this item. in another review, there is a complaint that it only has one surounding heat coil on both sides. that doesn't matter. this thing heats evenly. this morning i cooked bacon, eggs, and pancakes almost all at the same time. and everything was nicely cooked and delicious. then i took the cooking platforms right off and thoroughly cleaned it in soapy water. something i can't do with my george forman(which is still a nice product, just wish i could submerge it instead of just wiping it off). this item came to me by way of ups with out any additional outer packaging. never the less, it was not damaged during shipping.
this item does and is everything it says to be on informecial.
no smokey flavor, but i hear i only need liquid smoke to give it that bbq flavor.
it's also pretty nifty looking.
with this amazon deal, i got free shipping, no tax charge, and an extra $25 off. i got it for only a total of $105.
183 of 202 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.
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
248 of 276 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2004
After two Foreman grills over the past 6 years (the non-stick surface eventually wore down) I purchased "The Griddler". Only time will tell if this unit stands up to repeated washing and "scraping" with plastic utensils. It is all it claims on the tv infomercial. Because it has a thermostat and variable temps, it cooks much quicker then my previous Foreman grill. (Yes, some Foreman's have a thermostat). Set up is easy. Since the plates are made of aluminum, they heat evenly and over the entire surface. The person who complained about uneven heating either has a defective unit or simply did not wait long enough or put the temp at the suggested level. Sometimes it's in the DNA - not reading or following directions!
It is a good-looking appliance in the retro design. Amazon.com has the best price with the $25 immediate rebate. Highly recommended.