Do you like juicy, perfectly seared meats? Crispy, melty paninis? Devices that do only a couple of things, but do them well? If you said yes, then do yourself a favor and do not buy a fucking Cusinart Griddler.
Part of this is my fault, as I saw one in a store and registered for it for my wedding. Similarly, I don’t blame whoever it was who bought it for us, because at first glance it looks awesome. I mean, who wouldn’t want a countertop appliance that claims to have five different cooking functions? In a perfect world, everyone, that’s who. No company’s product has taken a bigger shit on humanity since Phillip Morris was founded.
For one thing, if you’re a product designer for a well-respected appliance company thinking of creating a device with “5-in-1 capabilities”, take your late night infomercial bullshit elsewhere and go fist yourself. The Griddler claims to be a “contact grill” (a shittier George Foreman without the helpful slant), griddle, full grill (a griddle with ridges), panini press, and “half grill/half griddle”. For one thing, calling a device both a “contact grill” and a panini press is like calling a serial killer a racist because one of his victims was a black guy. Just because one of the things a device is capable of grilling is a sandwich does not mean it deserves an additional title. But the one that really gets me is the last one, a “half grill/half griddle”. Besides the fact that they already told us that the thing is capable of being both a grill and griddle, using it that way is something you’d only do when you were too fucked up to put the plates on the same way. Don’t worry though, because if that ever happens, this miraculous turd of an appliance can’t cook anything anyway.
The main reason this thing sucks so hard is that it holds and regulates its temperature as well as an ice cube in Satan’s asshole. It has two knobs that do the same thing, which is to laugh at you when you choose a temperature setting. Whatever you set it to, the Griddler humors you at first, getting hot enough. But as soon as you put a piece of potential food on it, the temperature drops and it never recovers. And you’ll sit there, watching your chicken or whatever steam and stew rather that sear, and the whole time the smug asshole of an indicator light will lie to your face, telling you it’s at the proper temperature when in reality it’s not hot enough to melt butter. It will eventually work its way back up, but not until your food is mush.
The problem, I think, is with the cooking plates themselves. Cuisinart designed them to be non-stick, dishwasher safe, and a complete waste of material. I didn’t say “metal”, because I don’t think the Griddler’s plates contain any. They’re so lightweight and cheap feeling that it’s as if the designers saw one of those kids’ “medieval knight” halloween costumes and said “hey, let’s use those”. Steel and iron typically hold their temperature really well; they just chose not to use any. Combine that with a thermostat that regulates its temperature about as well as an infant, and the only thing the Griddler is capable of making is a shit sandwich, and even then it would struggle to create grill marks. What you do get is a whole lot of grease, because the Griddler, as I mentioned, doesn’t have any slope to let the grease drain off. All the fat just sits there. There is a tiny drain at the rear of the machine, but you have to push the grease out manually. With practice, you can do this so that only about 80% of it ends up on your counter.
I registered for the Griddler because I live in an apartment building and wanted something I could use to grill burgers and brats on my balcony during football games. What I got instead was raped. Don’t get raped. Don’t buy a Cuisinart Griddler.