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Panini Press/Waffle Maker/Griddle/Grill Recommendations?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone,

I'm turning 18 in March and I have been cooking meals very frequently for my family for the past 5 years. My dad said he would buy me a high-quality professional grade panini press/waffle maker/griddle/grill that has at least a minimum of 1500 watts power. It is ultimately crucial to have that much power for evenly distributed cooking. My budget isn't entirely limited, however I'd like to stay around the $200 range.
Thanks so much everyone, this decision needs to be made by tonight to have it ordered by my birthday! :D I'm super excited!
post #2 of 14
Well, it's not a waffle maker and it doesn't have the power you're talking about, but I like the Cuisinart Griddler as a panini and smooth sandwich press cum medium sized electric griddle.

Let us know what you find,
BDL
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post #3 of 14
I got curious about this and did some research myself.  I wasn't able to find a good quality unit that did all the things you want.  I'd suggest that you get two pieces of equipment, a panini/sandwich maker/grill and a waffle maker.  You will be able to keep your budget where you want, and will end up with better stuff that does exactly what you want without compromise.

I found this panini/sandwich maker that has the power you want and seems very versatile.  While I have not used this unit myself, I have owned a lot of Krups equipment and like it very much.

Krups Panini Grill


Click here for the Krups Panini Grill


As for waffle makers, the decision is partially what size and shape waffles you want to make.  This link will bring you to a great selection so you can find exactly what you are looking for:  Waffle Makers

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
post #4 of 14
Let me apologize in advance if I seem to criticize someone else's recommendation, or if I seem to insistent on my own.  This isn't meant to do either.

The Krups is a sandwich press only. 

The Cuisinart GR-4 Griddler is a combination sandwich press (smooth and panini), and griddle.  The Cuisinart is also rated at 1500W.  That's actually not a lot of power -- more like the maximum for a 15 amp circuit, if you don't want to trip the breaker while having another appliance running.  In other words, home kitchen -- not pro.

Because it's a griddle as well a grill, the Cuisinart offers temperature control.  The Krups is one speed only.  My experience is that the Cuisinart's hottest setting is not best for pannini making -- I'm not sure how that works with the Krups.

I normally am not big on user recommendations.  Generally, they're no better than the reviewer's sophistication and knowledge. That is, they tend to reflect fairly narrow experience which restricts their value for comparison; and, all too often, they seem to be written for the purpose of validating the reviewer's reasoning by convincing someone else to follow it.   Almost by definition, they tend to point to the reviewer's needs instead of the prospective user. 

And, unless I know enough about the reviewer to impose a fair amount of trust, I distrust reviews which are overwhelmingly positive.  Afterall, nothing's perfect.  

That said, we've owned a Cuisanart GR-4 Griddler since about the time they first come out.  It's given outstanding service as a sandwich press (smooth and paninni) and as a (small) griddle.  It does have the same sort of hinge as the Krups (and any number of others) and will automatically adjust to sandwiches of any thickness. 

It's speed is limited by its 1500W power, but it's fast enough. 

As a sandwich press it's big enough to handle two large sandwiches at a time. 

As a griddle, it's well enough made that the two sides can function as a single griddle -- with a temperature control.  By the way, the three controls on the front do not mean separate controls for each side.  One is on off, and the other are linked temperature controls with different markings.  

Using both sides, the griddle size is big enough for a couple, but if you're making a family sized meal, you'll have to cook in batches.  

Hope this helps,
BDL
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post #5 of 14
Let me second BDL's endorsement of the Cuisinart Griddler.  It's one of the more thoughtfully- designed gadgets I've used. He mentioned that it folds out flat to provide two fairly large griddle surfaces or, what I especially appreciate, serving warmers for hors d'oeuvres or other small servings. A lot more versatile than the usual HotTray warmer, which has no variable temperature. You can use 'em as servers to cook or just to keep stuff warm.

I managed a buffet for 60 people a week ago and brought my Griddler  to hold and keep hot a 4-gallon pot of clam chowder for self-service. The big pot didn't fit real well, but it did the job.

Its non-stick grill plates  - both flat and ridged - come out for dishwasher cleaning. (I recall a post that said these should not be soaked overnight, since the non-stick finish may turn white.)

You should play your Kohl's specials and coupons carefully - we parlayed their ever-present discounted "sales" with a 30% coupon and got ours for about $85, instead of the list price of about $150. It ain't a bad deal for the $150, but you should try to game the system!

But, it doesn't do waffles. 

Mike
travelling gourmand
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post #6 of 14
Excellent information about the Cuisinart Griddler.  Sounds like a winner!

BDL and Mike - may I use your comments in a blog post, please?
post #7 of 14
Jeanette, 

Yes of course you can on condition that you credit my remarks to me as Boar D. Laze.  It's not conditional but I'd consider it a kindness if you could also provide a link to my site in your post.

BDL

PS.  Don't forget to send me a link to your post when you upload it. 
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post #8 of 14
Jeanette-

Sure, feel free.  I'm happy to be considered an authoritative source!
travelling gourmand
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post #9 of 14
I'm not sure what Boar_d_laze said in the middle of his post, but I certainly agree with his and MikeLM's assessment of the Cuisinart Griddler.

Christmas before last I gave my 3 grown children Cuisinart GR-4 Griddlers and bought one for myself.  I parleyed the Khol's discounts and paid about $85 just like MikeLM did.

My Kids have used them extensively and love the griddler.  I too have given ours a good workout and have no complaints. The temperature controls let us properly cook just about everything and the grill plates clean up very easily. The griddler  is well built and the price to performance is good.

I looked at a lot of reviews on the web before I purchased the Cuisinart and they were overwhelmingly positive with respect to the Cuisinart.
post #10 of 14

The Cuisinart Griddler S-T-I-N-K-S.  It cant control the temperature.  We tried 3 off them and they all did the same thing.  Sent them all back for a refund.  They cant maintain a constant high enough cooking temperture.  DON't buy.

post #11 of 14
Posted by ex griddler View Post
The Cuisinart Griddler S-T-I-N-K-S.  It cant control the temperature.  We tried 3 off them and they all did the same thing.  Sent them all back for a refund.  They cant maintain a constant high enough cooking temperture.  DON't buy.

 

We're on our second Griddler.  It's our second not because of problems with the first, but because my wife gave our first away and replaced it with a Breville Panini Duo (as a present for me on someone's well meaning advice).  The Breville was fine as far as it went, but the ribbed plates are fixed, I (as head cook) wanted the option of using flat griddle plates as well, so we gave the Breville away and bought a new Griddler. 

 

For our purposes, light household use -- panini, grilled cheese sandwiches (so much better pressed!), hash browns (great for hash browns), pancakes, sausages, and the odd hamburger -- the Griddler has plenty of control and heat.  But... As with all other appliances relying on thermostats with wide deadbands, give the Griddler a thorough pre-heat before using.

 

It does an adequate job of grilling meats as long as you don't require really high temperatures.  If you're looking for something good for searing fish and steaks, the Griddler doesn't have enough power.  I'm not sure that any household electric does, and suggest using a stove top plate like a Lodge cast-iron griddle/grill.

 

The Griddler is not a professional press, a professional griddle, or a professional anything.  It's a light duty household appliance and does a good job with many tasks.  I don't know what problems ex-griddler had, but his experience is certainly different from ours.  I can't and won't speculate whether he was unlucky, tried to get the machines to do things they can't do, didn't give them the extra few minutes of pre-heating they need to get rid of hot spots and stabilize, or is so much a better cook than me he spots problems beyond my abilities. 

 

 

BDL

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post #12 of 14

bdl, is this the model that you have now?

 

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/71659/cuisinart-gr-4n-5-in-1-griddler#post_396872

 

santa has already asked me for my wish list and I put this on my azazon wishlist

 

I really want a press that the plates are interchangeable as well as dishwasher safe

from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

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from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

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post #13 of 14

Today - Nov.24 - Bed Bath had a 20%-off coupon on the internet and listed a Cuisinart GR-4 griddle for $100. Brings it down to $80 which is a good deal.

 

Would be worth looking around for it if that's the way you want to go.

 

Mike

travelling gourmand
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post #14 of 14

I am thinking to buy a Cheff Budy 3 in 1, anybody has tried one before? 

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