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Panini Grills and Presses: Which to Buy?


glenn
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I personally you my lean mean grilling machine to make grilled cheese. It works well and is pretty much the only thing I do with it. :hmmm: Grilled cheese... all of a sudden sounds like a good idea.

Never trust a skinny chef

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I ended up getting the Villaware Pro. I have to say I'm disappointed, but I have a feeling I was looking for something that's only available commercially.

My sandwiches are too big for the grill. I'm using 1" thick bread and about 5 or 6 ounces of cheese. I end up having to flip the sandwich over and turn it around since the grill won't close nearly all the way. I guess I'll have to experiment using smaller sandwiches.

The commercial presses I've seen raise up in the rear, so I don't think this won't pose a problem once I'm ready to go.

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No one's mentioned the Flama grill, so I will. It's got removable, reversible plates, ridged on one side and flat on the other, so you can use it as a griddle as well as a grill. And not that I'd put them in a dishwasher, but the fact that they're removable means you can soak them in the sink if necessary, plus they're much easier to clean. The grill can be opened to lay completely flat, so you can have double the grill (or griddle) space if you want to use it that way. Instead of having a floating top, it has three settings for differing thicknesses of sandwich. It has 5 settings as well.

The Flama Panini Grill

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  • 4 months later...

I'm having some folks over for the Super Bowl and I thought it would be a fun concept to have a DIY Panini Feast. I'll get my hands on a variety of great bread, cold cuts, cheeses, various pickled items, roasted veggies, etc. etc. My guests can assemble their own sandwich, and I'll take care of it from there.

Problem: I don't have a sandwich press, and I'm not interested in purchasing yet another kitchen gadget that I'll only use once in a blue moon. But I do have a big gas grill with heavy grates. What if I were to heat up the grates, throw some sandwiches on one side of the grill and then lift the hot grates from the other side of the grill and put them on top of the sandwiches for a minute or two?

Think it'll work?

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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I'm having some folks over for the Super Bowl and I thought it would be a fun concept to have a DIY Panini Feast. I'll get my hands on a variety of great bread, cold cuts, cheeses, various pickled items, roasted veggies, etc. etc. My guests can assemble their own sandwich, and I'll take care of it from there.

Problem: I don't have a sandwich press, and I'm not interested in purchasing yet another kitchen gadget that I'll only use once in a blue moon. But I do have a big gas grill with heavy grates. What if I were to heat up the grates, throw some sandwiches on one side of the grill and then lift the hot grates from the other side of the grill and put them on top of the sandwiches for a minute or two?

Think it'll work?

Al,

Got two cast iron pans, a brick, and some aluminum foil?

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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I'm having some folks over for the Super Bowl and I thought it would be a fun concept to have a DIY Panini Feast. I'll get my hands on a variety of great bread, cold cuts, cheeses, various pickled items, roasted veggies, etc. etc. My guests can assemble their own sandwich, and I'll take care of it from there.

Problem: I don't have a sandwich press, and I'm not interested in purchasing yet another kitchen gadget that I'll only use once in a blue moon. But I do have a big gas grill with heavy grates. What if I were to heat up the grates, throw some sandwiches on one side of the grill and then lift the hot grates from the other side of the grill and put them on top of the sandwiches for a minute or two?

Think it'll work?

Al,

Got two cast iron pans, a brick, and some aluminum foil?

Yes. And I have two turntables and a microphone.

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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Yes. And I have two turntables and a microphone.

Don't know if the turntables will be heavy enough. You'll still need a brick

:raz:

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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A few months ago, I looked into buying an electric pannini grill. I have a cast iron grill pan, so I had to do a careful weighing of wants vs. needs vs. where am I going to put it.

The Cuisinart model was new, so I decided to put off the decision for several months, to see if I can find out how others liked it. If you have one and have an opinion to share, I'd be interested in finding out how you like it.

FYI, for those considering buying a grill: a two-week poll of various friends and acquaintances revealed that many, many George Foreman grills sit, unused and gathering dust, because 1) they don't allow for temperature control, and 2) (the most mentioned) they are a pain in the butt to clean and people don't want to mess with it. Everyone indicated that removable grill plates would make a huge difference.

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  • 8 months later...

I am curious about Panini presses. They seem like a good option when you are cooking for one like I often do.

I have considered the double skillet method (put the sandwich in one and put the other skillet on top) or, the skillet and aluminum foil wrapped brick method. Both seem like more trouble then I want to put up with because of the long preheating required.

Is something like a Cuisinart GR-4 Griddler a good place to start? Is it a good value or a waste of money? Is there something better that is cheaper? How about spending a little more money and getting something much better?

Thanks,

Sid

p.s. If this has been covered elsewhere, please let me know. My search didn't turn up what I was looking for. ;)

And a big THANK YOU to snowangel Susan for merging my post into this thread

Edited by Sid Post (log)
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I got the Griddler as a wedding gift a couple of months ago and I absolutely love it. We use it at least once a week. It works really well for sandwiches, but I've also discovered that in the panini mode, it is great for "grilling" vegetables - last week I wanted some eggplant to put on a pizza - I sliced it thinly, put it in the Griddler, and it was cooked in less than ten minutes. The removeable plates are easy to clean. I don't know that it's the best value, but in terms of versatility, it's great.

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  • 4 months later...

I'm looking for a nice heavy one , preferably round, that isn't overpriced.

It won't get used much so paying a lot is silly. I have an old rectangular cast iron one with a wooden handle. Can't put it in the dishwasher. It's impossible to clean. And I don't want to bother covering it with foil each time. Too lazy.

It looks so nasty I wouldn't even scrape my shoe on it.

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I'm looking for a nice heavy one , preferably round, that isn't overpriced.

It won't get used much so paying a lot is silly.  I have an old rectangular cast iron one with a wooden handle.  Can't put it in the dishwasher.  It's impossible to clean. And I don't want to bother covering it with foil each time. Too lazy.

It looks so nasty I wouldn't even scrape my shoe on it.

I'm a bit puzzled. Cast iron in the dishwasher? Big no no in my department. I use a cast iron skillet and a regular saucepan filled with water.

The cast iron (very well seasoned) is bathed gently in hot water, and dried over a low burner, with a smear of oil before storing.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I'm a bit puzzled. Cast iron in the dishwasher?  Big no no in my department.  I use a cast iron skillet and a regular saucepan filled with water.

The cast iron (very well seasoned) is bathed gently in hot water, and dried over a low burner, with a smear of oil before storing.

Snowangel would you come over to my house and explain this concept to my wife...maybe she would listen to someone else say this. It's come to no one is allowed to clean my cast iron or black steel pans...ever. If they use em, then just leave em sit on the stove and I'll take care of em. I'll put one of my seasoned black steel pans up against any non-stick pan in the world.

A island in a lake, on a island in a lake, is where my house would be if I won the lottery.

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I'm looking for a nice heavy one , preferably round, that isn't overpriced.

It won't get used much so paying a lot is silly.  I have an old rectangular cast iron one with a wooden handle.  Can't put it in the dishwasher.  It's impossible to clean. And I don't want to bother covering it with foil each time. Too lazy.

It looks so nasty I wouldn't even scrape my shoe on it.

Well, if you want a cheap press, you can always wrap a brick in several layers of foil.

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This one

and

this one

Work very well. I have a round heavy glass bacon press that must have been discontinued because I haven't been able to find a link for it.

Lodge "Logic" makes one that is round and is supposed to be easier to keep clean than regular cast iron.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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This one

and

this one

Work very well.  I have a round heavy glass bacon press that must have been discontinued because I haven't been able to find a link for it. 

Lodge "Logic" makes one that is round and is supposed to be easier to keep clean than regular cast iron.

Interesting that the Le Cruset enamelled cast-iron bacon press is made in Thailand. I noticed one other LC piece on that site is made there. I wonder how much of their production is being moved out of France?

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  • 6 months later...

I am happy with the panini grill I have, however when I saw this I wondered if the results would make it worth the expense. I do collect "vintage" toasters and some modern ones of unusual design, but I am not really sure this would fall into the category of pure toaster.

A Panini toaster

Has anyone had any experience with this particular appliance, or seen one used?

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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that looks like some old school toaster from the victorian era...does it "press" the sandwiches like a conventional panini press does?

I have the cuisinart griddler and I LOVE it. I also have a hello kitty sandwich press that makes cute hello kitty faces on the bread :biggrin:

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
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This thread is suddenly reminding me that, when I was a young teen in the early 1960s, my mom had acquired an alectric sandwich griddle / press - I'm not sure what to call it. Of course we never said "panini grill" back then.

Instead of being hinged to the base, the top element slid up & down on two vertical rods, so there was no problem grilling extra-thick sandwiches evenly on both sides.

This was clearly a device ahead of its time. I think it was big enough to do two sandwiches but I'm not certain about that. I don't remember who made it, but it sure turned out fine grilled sandwiches! :biggrin:

Wondering if anyone else remembers anything like this from days of yore?

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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