Walter Shillington writes about products he knows firsthand. His articles focus on healthcare, electronics, watches, and household items.
About 15 years ago, I purchased my first George Foreman grill. This device could quickly cook my favorite foods—hamburgers and chicken breasts—and, because the grilling surface was slanted, feed the waste grease into a plastic container.
After a year, the non-stick coating began to wear away, increasing the effort required to clean this appliance. I eventually replaced it with a bigger model and, when the same problem developed, purchased yet another of their grills.
When the third grill also became a pain to clean, I checked out George Foreman’s competition, looking for a better-quality appliance that operated similarly. My final choice was Cuisinart’s Countertop Griddler.
A hinged, floating cover and a pair of removable and reversible cooking plates convert the Griddler into a contact grill, panini press, full grill, full griddle, or half grill/half griddle. It is equipped with dual temperature controls, non-stick plates, integrated drip tray, and a cleaning/scraping tool.
The Cuisinart Griddler is 13.5 inches wide, 12 inches deep, and 7 inches high. Its cooking plates measure 11.5 inches across and 9 inches deep. This appliance is fitted with a three-foot power cord.
While primarily composed of metal, the upper section of the Griddler’s handle, its drip tray, and the three control knobs are plastic.
- Manufacturer: Cuisinart
- Name: Countertop Griddler
- Model: CGR-4NC
- Weight: 8.6 kilograms (18.9 pounds)
- Dimensions: 34 x 30.5 x 17.8 centimeters (13.5 x 12 x 7 inches)
- Cooking plates: 29 x 23 centimeters (11.5 x 9 inches)
- Exterior color: Brushed stainless steel
- Accessories: Cleaning/scrapping tool and guide with an assortment of recipes
- Plate surface coating: Non-stick
- Maximum power consumption: 1500W
Cuisinart is trademarked by Conair Corporation, an American company based in Stamford, Connecticut. Conair markets small appliances, personal care, and health and beauty products. This company was founded in 1959 and has since expanded to include 10 product divisions.
Brushed stainless steel appliances always suggest efficiency and ruggedness, and the generously sized cooking plates will appeal to those that plan large meals. I am also partial to the stove-like rotary controls, which jut aggressively from the front of this grill.
Design is first rate and construction appears to be good. My biggest concern with an appliance of this type is the longevity of its non-stick coating. Up to now, this surface treatment has held up well but, when the coating does start to wear away, I will update this article.
The Cuisinart Griddler can be used as a contact grill, panini press, full grill, full griddle, or half grill/half griddle.
I use mine generally as a contact grill, shoving hamburgers, chicken, and steak between the two plates and turning the temperature up high. The Griddler cooks these items at approximately the same rate as my old George Foreman grill. The temperature can be varied for items that are best cooked at lower heat settings.
When I grill chicken breasts, I sometimes press down on the handle that straddles the Griddler. I love the sizzling sound, and this extra pressure ensures that meat clinging to the bones is appropriately cooked.
Up to now, my panini press items have consisted of grilled cheese sandwiches. Sometimes I spice up the recipe—yes, I have a limited imagination—by adding a slice of ham.
In full grill mode, the appliance is flipped open, allowing both cooking surfaces to be utilized. A full grill is handy for those grilling large numbers of hamburgers and hot dogs. Because only one heated surface is in contact with what is being grilled and more heat is lost to the air, cooking time will be noticeably extended.
In griddle mode, the flat side of the heating plates is used for cooking items such as pancakes or eggs. I suppose this would work well enough, but a stove-top frying pan would be a more convenient option.
Everything I tried in this grill cooked quickly, evenly, and well. The chicken breasts, especially, tasted great. I should note, however, that my old George Foreman grill also excelled at these tasks.
Cleanup and Maintenance
The reversible cooking plates can be easily removed and dropped into the sink to soak. Although this appliance ships with a cleaning tool, I’ve found that a dishcloth was all I required. Dishcloth cleaning ensures the non-stick coating will not quickly wear away.
I slide the drip tray from its slot after each use, dumping its contents into my green bin and tossing the container into the sink for washing.
This appliance cooks hamburgers, chicken, and steaks quickly and evenly. It is also useful for those that grill sandwiches. What I like best about the Cuisinart Countertop Griddler are the design touches that allow the appliance to be cleaned with a minimum of fuss. This grill is recommended.
© 2020 Walter Shillington