Cuisinart 360 Griddle Cooking Center$200
Specifications - Cuisinart 360 Griddle Cooking Center
- Two 15,000 BTU stainless steel tubular burners
- 22-inch diameter cooking surface for 380 square inches of cooking area
- Dual zone cooking area
- Solid steel plate cooking surface
- Wrap around grease tray with removable grease catcher
- Fold down side table
- Mounted on four locking casters
- Stainless steel lid with holding hook
- Vent in lid
- Paper towel rack
- Made in China for Cuisinart
Full Review - Cuisinart 360 Griddle Cooking Center
In recent years the Flat Top Grill, or the Gas Powered Griddle, has gone from an obscure piece of craft services equipment to a mainstay of the backyard. You might ask yourself why. It isn't really a grill. It doesn't have an open flame nor, does it smoke meat efficiently. So why are companies adding them to their product lines? After all, it was Burger King who launched a campaign mocking McDonald's for cooking their burgers on a flat top grill.
The truth is that consumers can use a flat top griddle in ways that differ from a conventional grill. They can certainly purchase a griddle for their grill, but depending on how the burners are arranged, the performance might be hit and miss. Simply turn on the Cuisinart 360, and in ten minutes you will be cooking eggs, hash browns, and pancakes for breakfast. For lunch, try out the incredible Oklahoma Onion Burgers. What about dinner time? Try your hand at a traditional Teppanyaki. This unit will do all that and more. Add the lid and it steams, roasts, bakes and even makes an attempt at smoking. You can cook a pizza on it, make stir-fry, and anything else you would normally put in a pan, on the grill, or in an oven.
Most of the flat top griddle units on the market have a round shape. This model appears to have taken its inspiration from the Evo Grill; one of my longtime favorites. If you can spare the cash, buy the Evo. It's incredible, though it will run you $4000 USD. This is why I suspect that the lower priced Cuisinart will sell better. Not only is it affordable, but this style of cooking is quite fun. Due to its large round shape, several people can cook on it at once making it a more attractive pick for social gatherings.
Now for the Downside
Come on. You knew there would be one. If you catch it at Walmart, you can purchase this flat top grill for around $200 USD. This price is reasonable. While the cooking surface is heavy plate steel (which you must season first before using), the rest of the grill is lightweight. On the review unit that I received, the grease tray that runs around the outside of the cooking surface was dented in on the front and back of the unit. Not a serious problem, but the paint on those areas have chipped and flaked away. The main body section can be bent by hand. This unit requires a careful touch and a little luck that it doesn't arrive damaged. Also, I highly recommend you purchase a cover for it.
Aside from that, this unit is a lot of fun and sold at a decent price. Keep it someplace safe and it should last a few years. With any luck, it can be replaced by Evo grill in the future. Finally, if you love to cook, you owe it yourself to try out a flat top grill.
*And I'm serious about the burgers, though. Go to my friend Jess's site and give this recipe a try. Fantastic!