2,468 of 2,514 people found the following review helpful
Cuisinart upgraded the Griddler, and it's better than ever,
This review is from: Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler (Kitchen)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
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.
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Showing 1-10 of 86 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 1, 2010 1:31:42 PM PST
R. Roth says:
Thank you for your very helpful review. I am in a similar situation--have happily used the previous model for years and am now thinking of replacing due to the non stick finish wearing out.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2010 5:55:46 PM PST
This newer one seems to heat more evenly than the old one. I haven't cooked that many things, but so far I'm favorably impressed. Thanks for the feedback.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2010 7:03:50 PM PST
I've just purchased the old model with the two cups for grease and I'm not satisfied with the thermostats. Unit comes up to temp. and shuts down for several minutes as the temperature has to go down before it'll come back on again. You don't mention that aspect of the new model.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2010 7:23:27 PM PST
To tell you the truth, I haven't noticed a problem with the unit turning itself off, so I really can't offer any words of wisdom. Sorry...
Posted on Nov 19, 2010 4:27:19 PM PST
BS Finder says:
How many of these reviews do you write ... saw this same review at another site with a different name ... mmmmmmmmmmm ...
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2010 6:53:20 PM PST
Not true, I've only recently purchased this grill. Called cuisinart for a new thermostat and it's out of warrenty even though I haven't had it 90 days.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2010 7:12:04 PM PST
We are looking seriously at this model compared to the older GR-4. Can you tell me if they did anything on the GR-4N to help prevent grease from the upper plate dripping off behind the lower plate? The reviews I have read for the original GR-4 on another site mentioned that problem a lot.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2010 7:19:12 PM PST
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2010 10:13:28 AM PST
Iam very surprised that you only got 5 years out of this product and it did not bother you. I have a GE, 40 years old and still going strong !! The plates are working fine so is everything else. No one says where this one is made,. That has a lot to do with it . Probably China .
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2010 12:51:32 PM PST
If it wasn't for the non-stick coating peeling off, I'd still be using my old one. There was no problem with the functionality of the device.