Not so long ago a grill was something buyers used to make dinner, and then they'd eat the leftovers either later that night or over the course of the following day. These days buyers want to use their grills morning, afternoon and night, and so manufacturers have had to respond with grills that can make a wider variety of foods. Whereas you used to be able to satisfy buyers with great meats; now they want Panini's, Pancakes, Waffles, Vegetables and Eggs. When you want this huge variety, you begin to flirt with 3 in 1's, 4 in 1's, and even 5 in 1 grills. The problem is that there's a lot of room for error, the more a grill tries to do, and so many multi-tasking grills fall short of expectations. I heard the Cuisinart GR-4N was pretty good and I'd been a fan of previous Cuisinart models, so as an expert in grills and grilling I took it upon myself to compile a review for buyers to use when deciding upon a purchase.
by Cuisinart [Cuisinart]
- Easy to Clean
- Easy Set-up
- Large Cooking Surface
- Good Temperature Controls
- 5 in 1
- Great Tasting Results
- Under $100
- Not exactly the most beautiful design
- Will last 5 years max
Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler Review:
The design looks kind of like a metal suitcase and at first glance, if you're walking along the street with it you'd be mistaken for a businessman going to work, rather than a person on their day off going to a cookout. It's a metal box basically and as you might expect for a grill costing around $90, they cut costs on the materials. The metal used will last around 5 years and then you'll need to replace it. Better news comes in the form of the measurements. At 17 inches by 13 inches by 10 inches the Cuisinart is a very small grill that can be moved easily and transported without undue burden. The weight of only 8 pounds certainly helps with the portability, although if you are taking it outside you'll need a longer cord.
The G4 range of multi-tasking grills started in 2005 and some considerable changes have taken place since then. For example. they used to supply buyers with two complete tops. One would be ridged to be used as the grill, and the other as a flat griddle. Now they give buyers one top with a grill side and a griddle side. This cuts down on the storage space needed to own one and less parts means less chance for buyers to lose one. The quality is still the same so I view this as a positive change.
What is your definition of a Panini Press? Mine would be something you can fit a Panini into before closing a lid down to begin heating. This was Cuisinarts definition so they've supplied a grill with a lid. The problem is that it's not really a unique selling point because by this definition, most grills with lids could be used to make Panini's. The quality is there; Panini's taste great on the GR-4N, and Cuisinart helpfully recommend for best results that buyers use the ridged side, but you could really make Panini's like these on most lidded grills.
Where the GR-4N really achieves excellence is when you start using the other four functions. The full grilling area is 200 square inches, which is pretty large for an Electric Grill and massive for a grill under $100. But imagine you want to cook some eggs, while grilling meat. On the older G4 models you wouldn't have this option because you could only use either the grill or the griddle. On this on however, the space is split between hinges so you could grill meats on 100 square inches of space and cook eggs on the other 100 square inches of space because you've turned one half round to the griddle side, prior to cooking. Alternatively, if you wanted to cook bacon, pancakes and eggs you'd turn both sides round to griddle. The possibilities are immense on the GR-4N and the quality is excellent but then you'd expect this from Cuisinart.
Another great inclusion was the integrated grease catcher, which unlike on some Electric Grills, is not a separate part to be placed by the buyer underneath the grill when in use. So, you can't forget to use it and therefore the possibility of grease dripping all over your countertop does not present itself. Performance here is rather good, with the tray being easy to clean along with the rest of the unit. Temperature gauges are easy to read and temperature is easy to set precisely, leading to fewer mistakes during cooking. There's simply a Panini setting, a grill setting, a griddle setting and manual control so make your knob selection based on what you're doing and choose the temperature you want.
Results speak for themselves and the quality of meals you can create on the GR-4N is incredible for such a low-priced grill. It's a little bit of a stretch to call it a Panini Grill, because any grill with a lid could do what the GR-4N does, but Panini's do taste great and you have a specific gauge for Panini's so they're never burnt. As far as variety goes, the Cuisinart can cook almost anything from Eggs, to Chicken to Waffles and Pancakes. The cooking surface is pretty large too, with 200 square inches when being used as a full grill or griddle. And, the option is there to make Eggs at the same time as meats with the split hinged cooking surface. Despite the horrible looking design i'd highly recommend the GR-4N as an excellent electric option and although the metal will degrade so it'll only last 5 years, that's longer than most relationships and it'll be five sweet years.