What is the most important piece of equipment in your kitchen? While the answer varies for everyone, as a young working adult living in an apartment the answer is simple: whatever saves the most time. With this in mind, I looked beyond the treasured Le Creuset pots and pans and discovered that my must have kitchen appliance is the Griddler. An electronic grill and griddle combination manufactured by Cuisinart, this multitasking device has a sleek silver exterior with black, dual-sided, removable, Teflon coated plates. A horizontal handle does double duty as a press and connects to a hinged top which houses one of the grill/griddle plates. This hinge allows the top to be locked into one position or tilt and then level off to accommodate larger items. Another plate and a drip tray underneath it comprise the lower half of this compact, rectangular machine. The electrical cord is easily accessed and located in the rear. Three easy-to-read dials on the front include a selector in the center (to choose between griddle or grill), one for griddle temperature to the left, and a grill heat setting (warm through sear) on the right. When the plates are preheated a green LED indicator, lights up on the appropriate temperature knob. Costing $99 at most from major chains such as Bed, Bath, Beyond or Williams Sonoma, this kitchen accessory is not cheap. But it is a worthy investment, especially for young adults in apartments where a real grill isn’t an option.
The beauty of this gadget lies in the double grill plates which heat a food item from both the top and bottom. As you would expect, this radically reduces cooking time and evenly cooks or sears all food items. The Teflon coating on the plates also reduces prep time. There is no need to oil the chicken or butter a pan, food will not stick to these. Cutting out that added fat at the beginning of the cooking process makes this a much healthier option than the traditional skillet. When cooking something with a high fat content, like steak or lamb, much of the fat renders off during the cooking process and usually collects in the drip tray. In fact, my only gripe with this grill alternative is that the flow to the drip tray is not as effective as it should be. While grilling lamb burgers (a very fatty and greasy dish) much of the rendered fat remains on the plates. Luckily, the Teflon coating makes cleanup a snap and most food residue rinses or wipes right off. More serious, caked on residue may require the help of a dish brush, but the plates are also dishwasher safe. The versatility of this appliance helps downsize the amount of cookware in a small apartment by doing quadruple duty and functioning as a grille, griddle, Panini press, and warmer. This quality can help to save money, space and time making this apparatus a worthy investment.
For a convenient, multi-tasking piece of equipment that promotes the varied cooking of several different dishes, you can’t do any better than the Griddler. Nothing can really replace the distinctive smoky taste you get from an actual grill, but for those who don’t have that option, this is an excellent substitute. Adding some liquid smoke to your burgers can also help to rectify this problem. Best of all, after a long day of work you can come home and grille up two chicken breasts in about six minutes flat with zero prep time and little to no cleanup. For anyone with a hectic work or class schedule this attribute should clinch the deal.