Top positive review
225 people found this helpful
on March 10, 2010
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.