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Before deciding to buy the Griddler Jr. I called Cuisinart (and got someone on the line within a few minutes) to ask about the wattage rating of this product, which I could not find listed on Cuisinart's site or in the manual for this product (which is available in PDF format at their site). It's 1200 watts. The GR-4, which I guess is Griddler "Senior," is rated at 1500 watts. The tiny Hamilton Beach indoor grill (with NON-removable grills) that I used before getting the Griddler Jr. is rated at 750 watts.

According to an article titled "Grill Power" in the February, 2006 issue of Prevention Magazine, Steven Raichlen, host of Barbecue University on PBS, says, "The lower the wattage [of indoor electric grills], the less likely your meat will taste like it came from an outdoor barbecue. It'll taste like it was steamed, instead." The author of the article, Amanda Pressner, suggests choosing an indoor electric grill "at least 1000 to 1500 watts. Smaller appliances usually use around 750 watts; that won't get hot enough to really brown your food or apply grill marks."

So far I have cooked chicken, salmon, lean ground beef burgers, petite sirloin steaks, vegetables, panini, chicken quesadillas, beef quesadillas, plain old grilled cheese sandwiches, and Oscar Mayer Turkey Smoked Sausage on my Griddler Jr. Boneless chicken breasts come out juicy - really juicy - with serious grill marks and tasting great. Panini - wow; comes out great. Quesadillas come out great, with grill marks, and they go straight to the table nice and hot.

Before learning about the importance of wattage, my main reason for wanting to upgrade from the Hamilton Beach to the Cuisinart Griddler Jr. was because the Griddler Jr. has removable grills to facilitate easy cleaning. But the Griddler Jr. has so much more going for it... With it's stainless finish (all of the exterior but the handle and base are stainless steel), it's a handsome kitchen appliance. If your kitchen has room for it, you'll want to leave it out where it can be seen. It's "floating lid" allows you to get a thick piece of poultry or meat inside it or a thick sandwich or panini, and the top and bottom grills will make even contact with whatever is being cooked. And although this is the "Jr." sized model, it is a good size. The surfaces of the grills measure (by my own measurements) 7 1/8 X 11 1/8. The entire unit, when you include the handle, etc., fits in a footprint that is approximately 13 X 12.

The Griddler Jr. has a red "on" light to the left of the heat control knob, and a green light to the right that comes on when the grills have reached the setting you've turned the knob to. At the highest setting, the grills get very hot. I find that I can cook a panini so that it is hot on the outside with melted cheese and warm to hot insides in about 6 minutes after the green light comes on, with the dial set to the medium temperature setting. Cooking a boneless chicken breast at that setting takes about 10-12 minutes (I use a fork-type battery operated thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken).

It is so easy to clean. When done cooking with it, turn the knob to the off position, unplug the unit, and leave it open to cool while you eat. After 30 minutes the unit is completely cool and the grills can be easily removed for washing, and if all you've cooked is panini and there's not a big mess on the grills, they can probably be wiped clean without removing them.

Before getting the Griddler Jr., I ordered a full size Griddler model GR-4 from Amazon's Warehouse Deals, where it was sold at a reduced price and listed as an open box unit. When I received it the handle was broken, and so I returned it. Getting to see it made me realize that it was larger than what I needed, and I didn't really need the two-sided grills that the GR-4 comes with. I mention this because it is obvious that both the full size Griddler and the Griddler Jr. are manufactured up to the same high standards. The Griddler Jr. is just that, a junior or smaller and less functional version of its parent (less functional in that it doesn't have reversible grills), as opposed to a lower quality version. The same high quality is there.

I love it. I'm so glad I got it. I'd recommend it without hesitation to anyone who is in the market for an indoor grill.
55 comments| 225 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 26, 2009
The unit is small enough to fit almost anywhere. It cooks very well and sometimes too well if you have the heat on too high. I have used it to cook steaks, pork chops, hamburgers, bacon, sausages and grilled cheese sandwiches. And if you like hash browns but want to avoid immersing it in grease (bad for cholesterol!), get the shredded type and cook it in this unit. Works very well!

If the bacon is too long, you may have to cut it in half (minor irritation) to fit but otherwise it does a great job.

The main problem as others have pointed out ... GREASE DRIPPINGS! ... Aaaargh! Those drip cups are next to useless! They could have at least done two things to make it better. Design the DRIP spouts (where the grease drips from)a bit longer with a better lip or design the drip cups higher so it fits perfectly under the drip spouts.

The reason they didn't is because the metal gets hot that the plastic will melt if it touches the plates. I know cause I toasted one of my plastic measuring cups. So, why not make the drip cups out of metal?

Other than that, the unit works very well! But cleaning the grease all over the counter and especially under the unit can be very aggravating if one has to do it after every use. #@$!%$# and more explatives!

Inspite of that I gave it four stars simply because it works well and best of all, it's easy to clean the removable plates! Wait till it's cool, run it through some hot water while brushing it lightly with a soft brush with some dish soap .. dry it and you're done!

Addendum: (12-22-2009)
In regards to the drip spouts, I think that had they made it another 1/4" longer and angled it down, it would help in avoiding the drippings from running underneath the spout and down against the unit.
0Comment| 54 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I'd been looking at panini grills for years, but had never found the perfect model. Many of the grills I looked at in stores seemed very cheap and poorly built. One clear exception was the Cuisinart grill, which was very well constructed, but it was very expensive and also very large. When I saw this new Cuisinart Junior, I decided to take the plunge. It has become the hit of our kitchen. Making fancy grilled sandwiches has become a highlight of our weekends. My teenage kids love the sandwiches off the grill, and they don't seem to notice that they're eating healthier than before. The quality of panini sandwiches off this little grill is far superior to the paninis we get at our local restaurants.

Here are the features that make this grill a winner for me:

- The grill plates really are nonstick. I've never had to do more than wipe them clean, even when drippings seem to have burned on. The plates remove super easily, and also snap back in very easily.

- The grill pre-heats very quickly. I turn it on before I start making the sandwich, and it's always hot enough by the time the sandwich is assembled.

- The grill always creates the perfectly grilled panini. When I used to make grilled sandwiches in a frying pan, getting them perfectly grilled without burning was hit or miss. With this grill, I just set the dial a bit shy of medium and every sandwich comes out perfectly grilled.

- The hinged lid let's us make fairly huge sandwiches (a few inches thick). This might not sound like a big deal, but it's key to having fun with the grill, since it let's you make creative sandwiches that you could never cook all the way through or flip in a frying pan.

- The small size is perfect. It cooks one very large or two smaller panini, and it doesn't take up a ton of counter space. It's small enough that I can leave it out all the time, which makes it a lot more convenient to use.

One thing to be careful of: The lid does get hot. Make sure you only use the handle for opening and closing. I wouldn't let younger kids work the grill by themselves.

I have not tried cooking meat with the grill. We use it strictly as a panini grill.

I don't generally get excited about kitchen appliances, but this little grill is downright fun. Any gadget that can get my teenagers psyched about going to the grocery store to find wacky things they can turn into grilled sandwiches is a hit in my book. (BTW, our favorite sandwiches so far are: tomato and fresh mozzarela with basil pesto; chicken, apple, and raspberry with provolone; and pear with brie. My apologies if I'm not spelling some of these foods right.)

Great purchase. Getting used more heavily than our stove. I'm hooked.
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on February 11, 2008
This product looks great but it drips grease everywhere. First, the grease clings to the side of the unit as it attempts to drip into the drainage cup, leaving a mess all over your counter. Secondly, when you open the unit to remove food or let it cool, grease will drain from the top griddle and drip down the back of the unit. We returned ours and are looking to upgrade our George Foreman griddle which has served us well.
33 comments| 71 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon June 18, 2009
My wife and I tend to try to justify purchases to ourselves by sort of over-blowing how much use we'll get out of them. This process was no different, as we talked about how easy and often we'd just slice some sourdough, toss something like sliced turkey, cheese, and a little raspberry preserves in between, and grill it up into nice hot crunchy sandwiches. Inevitably, few of our predictions actually hold true as the novelty wears off, and even tools you love are pulled out a little less frequently as time goes by. This has not been the case with our GR-3 Griddler Jr.

Because of its greatly reduced footprint (it takes up less space than our Krups 4-Slice Toaster), we've been able to leave it out on the counter right by our bread board, so it's always quick and convenient to turn it on, and make any sort of sandwich we like within a few minutes.

The unit is easy to clean, both the top and bottom plates are easily removable, and while they have that somewhat gritty type of non-stick surface, even burnt on cheese or preserves require no effort whatsoever to come out from between the grooves. It heats evenly and quickly, the hinge allows even thick sandwiches to be pressed (or not) evenly, and for us it's churned out perfectly grilled sandwiches.

We haven't used it for anything but, so I can't and won't speak to its efficacy as a George Foreman replacement. It seems to be that people who are used to those, and switch to real panini presses often come away disappointed because large quantities of grease aren't handled well. If you want to make sandwiches, and aren't cooking for more than a couple of people (perhaps no more than 3), then I highly recommend both this make, and the model. If they ever come out with alternative flat grilling plates as an add-on, it will be the perfect press -- even without those, it's worthy of each of the five stars I'm giving it here.
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on November 8, 2010
The Cuisinart Griddler Jr. is the worst appliance I can ever recall purchasing. It doesn't get very hot and can only be used for sandwich / bread grilling, and then only if you are very, very, very patient. I tried cooking some veggies on it and after 20 min. they had only very faint tan grill marks on them. Gave up after 30 min...they never cooked. Guess I shouldn't have been surprised since there was no "sizzle" when I placed the veggies on the grill.
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on September 5, 2008
I have had my Cuisinart Griddler Jr. for about a month and I love it. I have made breakfast paninis, lunch paninis and dinner paninis and they have all turned out great. My husband says everything I make in the Griddler makes my old recipes taste better!
The cookbook that came with the Griddler Jr. has limited recipes so I purchased another one from Amazon titled "200 Best Panini Recipes" by Tiffany Collins. It is the best panini recipe book I have found so far and well worth the money.
The Griddler works much better for paninis than my old George Foreman. The floating lid makes it easy to cook thick sandwiches and it heats up faster and is much hotter than the Foreman so food takes less time to cook.
It is a breeze to clean, especially because of the removable cook plates, although I do not put them in the dishwasher. Some of the cookbook authors suggest that it is better to clean them by hand.
My daughter was so impressed with the Griddler that she purchased on too.
I would definitely recommend it to anyone, especially working people who are short on time.
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on September 6, 2008
I didn't need a family-size grill, so I went with the Cuisinart Griddler Jr. It's just the right size. I liked the fact that it had removable (and dishwashable in top rack) grill trays, multiple heat settings (low, medium, and high), and an adjustable hinge so that bulky sandwiches don't have their contents squished out. It does a great job of cooking and is very versatile.

Update March 16, 2011

I've had the grill about 2-1/2 years now, and it's still going strong. I never owned a Cuisinart appliance before, but this has made me a believer. It's unbelievably easy to use and easy to clean up. I highly recommend this device and have moved my rating from 4 stars up to 5.
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on January 4, 2010
Overall I love this product. I have had the Foreman for years and this one is better. Besides the handy removable grill plates, the grill has deep groves which helps drain off the fat and/or marinades which leaves nice grill marks. I always had issues with the Forman not giving me that "grilled" satisfaction. The adjustable heat setting is also a nice feature. I dont think the upgraded version with the three knobs is necessary. This does a great job with one knob.

Why not 5stars? well, the drip tray is useless. If its not PERFECTLY postioned, it just drips down the side of the grill. The cup should have been taller the spout longer.
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on April 29, 2011
Although this would be a handy grill, their ad seems to imply that is has a Flat Side Grill like the larger version. However, when you take out the grill pieces they do NOT have a flat side so you cannot cook eggs, pancakes, etc. like the larger version. Just so everyone understands, the grill pieces are removable for cleaning but each side is ridged. Fine for steak, burgers, etc. for one or two people.
0Comment| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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