Customer Reviews: Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler, Silver, Black Dials
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Style Name: Griddler Silver, Black Dials|Change
Price:$79.97+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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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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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.

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on April 22, 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.
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on December 29, 2014
Hi, ok so I looked at this Griddler again and again, I Googled it and I looked at YouTube video reviews and then I just decided to buy it. So let me just tell you that those people who call this Griddler CRAP, just don't know how to cook! They probably work for another company that competes with Cuisinart so they post all these negative reviews. This Griddler is awesome! It is sooooo easy to cook with and clean. I got it for my fiancée because he loves making grilled cheese, and Cuban sandwiches! I figured we could just use it as a panini press but let me tell you, after we did delicious grilled cheese and how fast and easy it was, we decided to make burgers on it. We grinded our own ground beef and put the Griddler on “Sear”. It seared the beef right away, all liquids were pouring into the container, it was draining excess fat perfectly and it took probably 5-7 minutes to make the burger well-done. It was juicy and delicious!
Cleaning was a piece of cake! I don’t know why people complaint that it’s a crap or that it’s hard to clean. Well obviously you don’t scrub the plates with forks and metal scouring pads! If food got dried so badly on the plates, soak them in hot water for a few minutes and that’s it. Another complaint that I saw is about plastic clips that hold the plates. Okay, I honestly wonder where this people bought this Griddler. It either a Chinese knock off of it or something else, maybe different model.. The one I bought is the one with dripping tray that goes inside under the Griddler and I have metal clips. Other people complaint that it splatters everywhere, okay, does your skillet splatter when you cook? It’s a hot, open surface, so when you put a piece of juicy something of course it’s going to splatter! Every single griddle does that! Or somebody said that it would turn off on its own or something like that, well it’s probably an electrical problem, it happens. I got an expensive table lamp and it did not work, I returned it and ordered another one, the same exact one. Things like that happen, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad product! Maybe it got damaged during shipping! I’m just mad how people find one thing they don’t like and say it’s crap. It doesn’t have timer like some George Foreman Grills, but it doesn’t mean it’s a bad Griddler. It is not some super-duper fancy Griddler but it does perfect job in anything. It is a GOOD Griddler, It is super easy to cook with, super easy to clean. And don’t freak out if it splatters a little when you put a piece of steak on it and then give it one star and say "Oh my God, I hate this product!"
Out of 4,076 reviews only 290 gave it one star. That’s pretty good. So just use your common sense and don’t rely on those reviews that say It’s “crap” or “doesn’t work”, and make sure you get the right model.
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on July 14, 2010
I raved about this product to my friends when I first got it, but after fewer than perhaps 15 uses, the plastic (PLASTIC!) locking clips for the HOT metal plates MELTED, and rendered the otherwise well-designed product completely useless (and ruined my dinner, and I burned two oven mitts dealing with the hot metal plates and the food on them and on the floor).

Obviously this is the Achilles heel of the machine -- and a MAJOR design flaw. (See all the other one star reviews having the exact same problem.)

Fortunately I bought this at Sur la Table and they were able to look it up on the computer and take it back for a full refund to my credit card.

I regret I can't replace it with the same thing with improved locking clips, but such is the state of affairs at Cuisinart.

I expected better from the company, and frankly they have to know there's a problem by now and should have addressed it. This is so dangerous (not to mention the landfill factor). Just shameful.

The same short life occurred with my Cuisinart rice cooker. I just don't buy their products anymore, especially since they ruined their food processors, which used to be the state of the art.

Don't throw away your money on this. You'll regret it.

I replaced this with this and it's been stellar, with no problems ever since: Breville BGR820XL Smart Grill
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on May 31, 2015
I hated this thing.

I was looking to replace a ugly foreman grill with something that looked nicer and possibly easier to clean. The versatility of flipping the plates as a flat grill was appealing, but primarily I was just looking for a nicer Foreman grill replacement.

And it was not. What I thought was going to be a great idea having the grease trap underneath and out of view - was absolutely useless. I had wondered prior to purchase as to how that would even work. In reality it doesn't. It has a tiny little slot in the rear that if the planets are are in the correct alignment that a few drops of grease may enter.

Instead any and all grease just pools up on the bottom plate (that which isn't splattered all over the counter). Fun.

Yes, my plans were to cook hamburgers on this thing. Using anything other that super low fat content beef and this thing is a horror show. I usually use 80/20, or 85/15 ground beef, and both just make for a mess on this machine.

I imagine if you are using this for Kale Panini's or anything not meat related, this grill might work ok for you.

Also - the cord on the machine seemed to get very (very) warm. I've used plenty other counter top machines, and this was the first one that I was concerned with. I don't want this thing in my house.
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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.
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VINE VOICEon February 16, 2005
This griddler rocks! The first day I had it we made panini sandwiches.. yummy! they were perfect! Then, having read the one review on here and seeing the splatter photos I wanted to try some meat on the griddler myself. So I cooked burgers on it. These were thick steack burgers and they grilled to perfection on this griddler! There was no splatter mess at all, the drip cup worked great and, even better, cleanup of the griddler itself was a snap. Perhaps the reviewer who had issues had the griddler on too high, I dont know. But I've had no problem at all. Tonite we're making steaks on it!

You won't be disappointed with the Griddler.
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on September 24, 2010
Do NOT buy this product! The cord & plug overheated after just three uses. If I hadn't been in the kitchen while the griddle preheated, it would have resulted in a fire. As it is, I will have to replace the receptacle. I found other complaints of the cord overheating, some with more disastrous results.
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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.
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