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Breville BGR820XL Smart Grill
|Price:||$284.95 & FREE Shipping. Details|
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- Removable, dishwasher safe plates with Element IQ
- Opens flat to 'BBQ Mode'
- Voltage- 110-120Volts,1800 watt embedded heating design. 310- 450F variable temperature control with Low, Panini, and Sear Modes
- 6 adjustable height settings
- Integrated, removable drip tray. Removable, dishwasher-safe plates.
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This item Breville BGR820XL Smart Grill
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|Sold By||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Huppins||Sur La Table, Inc.||LY Berditchev Co.|
|Item Dimensions||6.5 x 15 x 16 in||13 x 14 x 6 in||10.28 x 13.39 x 0.93 in||14 x 18 x 7.5 in||14 x 18 x 7.5 in||7.17 x 16.93 x 14.17 in|
|Item Weight||22 lbs||11.6 lbs||3.4 lbs||20 lbs||23.38 lbs||13 lbs|
|Material Type||stainless-steel||Stainless Steel||Aluminum||Stainless Steel||Steel||n/a|
The Breville Smart Grill's Element IQ technology bridges the gap between indoor and outdoor at an unrivaled new level. Heat sensors embedded in the grill plates compensate for the temperature drop when cold food is placed onto the pre-heated surface. The sensors then detect this heat drop and compensate by injecting heat for rapid recover back to the desired cooking temperatures. The 1800-watt embedded heating design ensures maximum heat into the plates for faster cooking and reduced pre-heating time. This creates a BBQ-quality sear and sizzle. The flat bottom plate is suitable for eggs and pancakes while the top plate is ribbed to sear meats. Plate positions are interchangeable and can be extended into an opened, flat 'BBQ Mode.'
Why the Breville Smart Grill?
Every Breville product begins with a simple moment of brilliance. The Breville Smart Grill began with the simple fact that searing meat requires continuous high heat. What kind of machine cooks as well as a barbecue, but cleans fast like a frypan? The answer is the Breville Smart Grill, which allows you to sear meat indoors at a high consistent temperature without making a mess. It uses Element IQ technology and an 1800W heating system to electronically detect heat loss and provide rapid heat recovery.
Maintaining High Heat for Better Cooking
Countertop grills experience a drop in temperature when the cold meat or ingredients are introduced to the pre-heated surface. Even if they start off at the right temperature, most countertop grills can’t recover from this heat loss, heating up again slowly. This means less efficient cooking and tougher meat. The BGR820XL uses a smart technology called Element IQ to detect the drop in temperature and inject more heat for a rapid recovery back to the desired cooking temperatures.
Also, embedded elements in its grill plates help the grill maintain intense heat and recover from heat loss. The elements are cast into the plates themselves, which means that most of the heat generated by the elements is transferred to the plates instead of being lost (see below). That means less time to pre-heat and also rapid temperature recovery.
Other Features: Easy cleaning and Versatility
In addition to Element IQ and embedded plates, the Breville BGR820XL Smart Grill has numerous features: the top plate has six different adjustable heights that can be used for large sandwiches, small sliders, open-faced melts, or anything inbetween; the plates are removable for easier cleaning and can be interchanged depending on your needs (so the ribbed plate is either on the bottom or the top). The plates are nonstick plates made from cast aluminum coated with titanium infused Quantanium, for oil-free cooking and easy clean up. The housing is stainless steel, with die-cast arms.
The base can be tilted at an angle to drain, or lay perfectly flat for eggs, pancakes, and paninis. You can use it closed and use it to grill like a Panini press, or open it 180 degrees into barbecue mode, in which fat is drained from both plates into the drip tray. There are three different temperature settings (low, Panini, and sear, ranging from 320F to 450F), temperature and time control dials, and a countdown timer and sound alert.
Exposed Heating Elements vs. the BGR820XL's Embedded Heating Elements
Exposed Heating Elements: Heat loss
Many plates have exposed heating elements, where the grill plate sits directly on top of the heating element. Exposed elements lose much of the heat that they generate, instead of transferring the heat to the plate. This means the grill requires more time to heat up and more time to recover from heat loss, which extends cooking time and yields tougher meats.
Embedded Heating Elements: Heat transfer
The BGR820XL has grill plates with integrated heating elements, where the elements are embedded in the plates themselves. Rather than losing much of the heat that they generate, the heat is transferred directly to the plate. This means the grill requires less time to heat up and less time to recover from heat loss, which decreases cooking time, increases searing temperatures, and yields tenderer meats.
Two modes for two different cooking styles
In Panini mode, use the top and bottom plates to press Paninis or grill ingredients on two sides at once. The height of the top plate from the bottom is adjustable, allowing you to press both large sandwiches and small sliders. There is a ribbed plate and a flat plate, and both plates are removable and interchangeable so you can choose the plate that suits your cooking style and clean the plates more easily.
In barbecue mode, open the grill plates 180 degrees so the Smart Grill lies flat, and use it to grill and sear meats and vegetables. This doubles your cooking area, and also presents the option of grilling on both the flat plate and the ribbed plate. Additional ribbed plates and flat plates are available for purchase on Amazon if you'd prefer to have a uniform cooking surface in barbecue mode.
Temperature Control and Timing
Timer Control Dial
(Located on the left side of the Smart Grill front) You can set the timer for your preferred cooking time, and the Smart Grill will alert you when time is up.
Temperature Control Dial
(Located on the right side of the Smart Grill front) You can set the Breville Smart Grill in three different temperature settings: low, Panini, and sear, which range from temperatures of 320F to 450F. If you'd prefer to view the temperature in Celsius, flip the temperature conversion button.
Element IQ auto-adjustment
Element IQ detects the drop in temperature when you introduce cold ingredients to the pre-heated surface and automatically injects more heat to bring the Smart Grill back up to temperature and compensate for heat-loss.
Top customer reviews
(1) Many cooking sites and independent reviewers complain that these type of grills are often too small and too underpowered to really cook food effectively. That is where the Breville is superb, at 1800 watts, and isn't that what a grill is for -- fast, hot, and effective cooking? But high and even heat is an integral part of the Breville design. The biggest difference between the Breville Smart Grill and the Cuisinart Griddler is that the heating elements in the Breville are embedded *inside* the Breville plate itself. The underside of the Breville plates shows the embedded element, and the electrical connection is on the underside, that plugs into the Breville itself. This means the Breville plates heat directly; heat faster; heat more uniformly; and include their smart technology to detect cold meat and immediately turn up the heat. With the Griddler, the heating element is exposed and open and is not part of the plate, and lacks any of this technology. The Breville definitely heats up faster and I measured more consistent heating across the plates as compared with the Griddler. I believe that the Foreman works the same way as the Griddler with regards to those Foreman grills with removable plates, but I can't definitely verify that. Why would anyone buy those models of Foreman with plates that can't be removed for cleaning?
(2) This means that the Breville must have two separate sets of plates, one with ridges for grill and a flat one for griddle. So that means you must buy two more plates to get the same advantage as the Griddler since the Griddler plates are reversible. But the Griddler plates lack the built in and embedded heating elements. So you get what you pay for.
(3) The hot heating element of the Griddler is also directly cooking the non-stick surface of whatever side is "reversed" and on the inside of the Griddler. A store that sold both suggested that this might explain why some have had problems with the non-stick surface of the Griddler. (But I suspect that most problems are caused by the caustic soap of dishwashers. I hand wash my Breville plates with the Foreman sponges (see below) and they wash off in a snap -- less than one or two minutes of washing.)
(4) Both the Breville and the Griddler have a lid that can be set flat, for doubling the griddle surface. Do any Foreman grills do that? I don't think so. This is a really useful feature that doubles the usefulness of these appliances.
(5) The Griddler has no tilt for the grease and juice to roll off. So with the Griddler the juice and grease just sits there during cooking. The Breville tilts down like the Foreman grills, and it really works when cooking three or four hamburgers. But the Breville can also be set to be flat when used as a griddle for pancakes or eggs, so the pancake batter doesn't also roll off! I believe that *only* Breville included this feature -- to be set at either an angle, for grease, or perfectly flat, for pancakes.
(6) The Griddler includes a small grease tray that pulls awkwardly out from the side. Breville has a really large tray that pulls straight in and out from the front, and that is far more convenient if you have limited counter space -- especially on the side that the tray pulls out on the Griddler. Foreman grills are bigger losers in this regard, with a grease tray that just sits on the front, waiting to be tipped over.
(7) Both the Calphalon and the Breville have a feature whereby the floating lid can be set to ride higher than the bottom plate, so the lid doesn't mash down the food. The Cuisinart lacks this, and just mashes down the food. But look at both in a store. This feature on the Calphalon is not very sturdy and looks like it would break. The Breville is rock solid when set to hang over the food, and can therefore be set way above the food, for open-faced sandwiches. 8) I'm not an expert on non-stick surfaces, but the Breville surface appeared thicker and more durable than the Griddler.
(9 Finally, the Breville is larger than the Griddler, and big enough to cook for more than one or two people, but is not that much larger than the Griddler. The Griddler, in my opinion, is too small. The Breville is just the right size for more than one person.
(10) Buy the Foreman sponges when you order the Breville. The grooves in the Breville grill plate match those on the Foreman sponges perfectly.
(11) The Breville doesn't include a grooved spatula to push through the grease, as does Foreman and Cuisinart. I ordered some of the Foreman spatulas, and they work on the Breville. Breville should include those plastic spatulas, as does Foreman and Cuisinart.
(12 Yes, Breville should include two more plates as the other reviews have indicated. The Breville and two additional plates (for a set of two grill and two griddle plates) is $399, and that is a lot to pay for an appliance like this. That is four times more than the Griddler. Breville should include the plates to be more competitive in the marketplace. It should be noted, though, that the Breville as packaged for $299 with one grill and one griddle plate would give you the grill marks on the top side of your meat, and the hamburger or steak would cook on the bottom side on the griddle just fine.
CONCLUSION -- But you get what you pay for in this case. If you want the best, it is the Breville. But it does cost three times more, as compared with the Griddler, with one grill and one griddler plate. Breville needs to include two more plates, for two griddle and two grill, and do so for $299. But like others who reviewed the Breville, I purchased the unit with the extra plates for $399 and highly recommend it.
ADDITION OCTOBER 24 2011 -- Additional plates can be purchased from Breville or William Sonoma. Additional grease drip trays can be purchased from, using a standard web address: (I hope Amazon leaves this up, since you don't sell the part)
BGR820XL/107 Drip Tray Assembly.
I then have extra sets of plates and trays, and just wash two sets of both in the dishwasher once a week or so. I'm single and it takes me that long to fill a dishwasher even part way. However, all of these parts hand wash very easily, especially with the George Foreman sponges that fit the grill plate grooves perfectly. But I'm lazy and prefer to use the dishwasher.
I just put this in the trash today after over a year of deciding if I wanted to spend even more money to get it fixed. It wasn't worth fixing for such a short-term warranty (on someone else's repaired machine). It pained me. It worked very well until it didn't, and it was so expensive to buy with the addition of two more plates, this is really something I was sad to see go, but I'm literally amazed at how well two inexpensive square Lodge grill pans make up for it -- and without heating/electronics issues in the future and warping plates. Had I known how this was going to be, I would not have bought this item, even though when it performed it performed beautifully, and then one day it didn't, and it just wasn't worth fixing.
This grill works very well and is easy to clean.
Perhaps a year into the three or so years I've owned it one of the plates slightly warped so it won't snap in and stay in. No problem. I just use that plate on the bottom and the other one on the top.
Last night while heating it up to start cooking it flashed an error code for the first time and then when I unplugged and re-plugged it never did reach it's temperature and beep.
I continued to use it and noticed my chicken breasts were only caramelizing on the bottom (meaning the top plate isn't heating fully anymore).
I washed the plates this morning, and tried again. It never did beep to signal it was ready for cooking and the plates never fully heated.
The reason I'm writing this is I want people to know that this lasted between 2-3 years of very occasional use (perhaps twice a month).
The Breville web site was a complete mess and you can't get anywhere with it unless you have a code stamped under the machine (that's very hard to read on mine) AND the date of purchase (which I don't know anymore). There's no way to get past that situation but to call.
So I did call, and the maze of choices was hard to get through with an Australian accent that didn't speak clearly and wasn't loud enough. I finally got through to a real person (an American somewhere on the west coast since they note their hours are Pacific time).
What I learned (and want prospective buyers to be aware of) is that when this machine breaks they'll give you a 20% discount on a new one (that's the same thing I can get with a Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupon) or for $129 they'll send you a mailing label with FedEx and you can send the machine back to them (that includes the shipping but not any boxing or packing materials). They'll either fix it or replace it within 10 days and send it back is what I'm told, but note that after all that it still only has a 6 month warranty.
Keep in mind that after buying an extra set of grill plates so I could have ridged or flat surfaces on both sides I'm already up to over $400 for this, and now I should pay another $129 for only 6 months of warranty service? How long until the replacement fails too (if they can't fix yours they send you a refurbished unit).
This machine is convenient to have, but it's also very expensive considering the cost and that it lasts only a couple years (of occasional use).
I'm still deciding what I want to do about this one, but if it's going to be this expensive I may just try to simplify my life and use a couple of Lodge grill pans on the stove instead.
If I were paying $129 knowing the problem would be fixed and stay fixed, that's one thing, but only a 6 month warranty seems like Breville doesn't have a lot of faith in their repairs or their products, so why should I?
Beyond that, I was really amazed to learn how bad the Breville web site experience was to deal with (in comparison to how good the machine was when it worked).
I don't really think I want to buy anymore Breville products after this. This was great when it worked, but on a cost per use before breaking basis, it's very expensive for an item that's headed for landfill.
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