Cuisinart’s foray into the portable outdoor grill market hasn’t exactly been straightforward or easy. It’s fair to say they’ve been on a rocky road. Models like the CGG-200 All-In-One and the GR4CU were pretty popular. But they just didn’t create the kind of culinary masterpieces necessary to shoot them into the top five of the bestsellers list. They were also overly complex to set up which is something nobody wants when they’re out camping. Quick + tasty food is the order of the day in this market, so Cuisinart went back to the drawing board. The result was the Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Gourmet Portable Tabletop Gas Grill, Red. They promised simplicity, they promised great food and they promised a cheap price. In short, they promised a lot, but did they finally deliver? Find out here.
by Cuisinart [Cuisinart]
- 145 Square Inches of Cooking Space
- Cast-Iron Grates
- Comes Completely Assembled
- Cheap Price
- Low Running Costs
- Easy to Clean
- Nice Design
- Gets Quite Hot
- Stamped Steel
- Low Power
Reviewers like myself are constantly scolding manufacturers for making exaggerated claims about products. So it was quite refreshing here that Cuisinart’s title for this Grill represented a major undersell. They called it a Tabletop Grill, but while you can set it on any flat surface for cooking food, the CGG 180T is also a Standalone Grill. You just pull out the legs to their maximum length, and you’re grilling without the need for tables. It’s pretty sturdy too with its locking legs, so if you’re camping in a windy place, there’s no chance of this model falling over despite the weight of only 13 pounds. And at 13 pounds it’s one of the lightest portables on the market so it’s easy to get into the car. With its measurements of 12.50 inches, by 18 inches by 12 inches, the CGG-180T doesn’t take up much room either. The buzzword at Cuisinart was ‘easy’. Make it easy, portable, light, and fun. Make a no hassle compact Grill. And they’ve largely succeeded in that. But the downside of all of this is that they used Stamped Steel in the design of the outer-shell, instead of Stainless Steel which is more durable. So you are going to see some wear and tear on this model. It’s definitely not as long-lasting as some of its heavier higher grade Steel competition.
Amazingly, given the measurements, they’ve managed to squeeze in a 145 Square Inch cooking surface. This means the CGG 180T is one of the larger portable camping grills on the market. Great news for those who have families of more than four. You now don’t have to do two lots of cooking. But this is a double-edged sword. To achieve the size, they’ve thinned down the Steel on the lid so this model does get quite hot while in use, meaning you’ll need to keep the children away when you’ve got meat on the Grill.
The Grates are made out of wonderful heavy Cast Iron and they’re right up there with the best in the market. These really are of excellent quality and so they will disperse heat evenly across the cooking surface. They are also Porcelain-Coated so food won’t stick. All this equals great tasting juicy food. The Grates actually represent 3 pounds of the 13-pound total weight, so you could say Cuisinart went all out in the taste department here.
There’s a downside to those terrific Grates and it comes in the form of the low power output. You only get 5500 BTU’s per hour here meaning food is going to take longer to cook than on other models and you’ll also need to give the CGG-180T time to warm up before you start cooking. Is this worth it for those wonderful Grates? Only you can decide that.
Something worth pointing out is that you don’t need to buy much Propane per-cooking session. It uses standard 1 pound disposable Propane bottles which are perfect for camping and one of these will do all your cooking. So it’s incredibly cheap to use. It’s cheap to use because it doesn’t use much power and we’ve discussed the drawbacks of this above, so take those into account before you buy.
There’s no drip tray so juices and debris can build up beneath the Grates producing some cleaning time. But with the whole thing being Porcelain-Enameled all of the grease just falls away after a simple wipe. Five-minute job.
Cuisinart have learned the lessons of previous models and so the CGG-180T comes you to fully assembled. You literally have to do nothing. Slide it into the car and go.
With the use of Stamped Steel and some plastic parts inside, the longevity of this Grill is questionable. It’ll last 4 years but hoping for any more than that might be wishful thinking. Instead of creating something that you’ll have for a decade, they went all out for simplicity, ease of use, great food and size. And they get top grades in all of this category. It’s so small so you can slide it into the backseat of the car. So light that a child can hold it easily, and with the Cast-Iron Grates, you do get tasty food. So it’s fair to say that Cuisinart did what they set out to do.
At a price of just over 100 dollars, this model is dirt cheap. I also like that it uses very little Propane. But I’m the kind of laid back guy who doesn’t mind waiting around while this low power model warms up. Maybe you want a Grill that’ll cook faster and so you’ll require something else. But remember this model has 145 Square Inches of space meaning you can cook 8 steaks in one setting instead of doing 4 and starting again.
It’s for casual campers who like taking the family out for the weekend without having to worry about things like assembly, heavy lifting and big time cleaning jobs. So are you that kind of person? If you are, you’ll like the CGG-180T 🙂