I was really hoping it would impress me. My Weber Summit A grill was ten years old, and though it was still working quite well, it wasn’t going to fit well in the new, smaller house we were moving to. It weighed a great deal and required the help of at least two friends to move it into a truck. And so as a parting gift to my next door neighbor and friend, I left the “old” grill with him. It was an exceptional cooker, and difficult to part with.
What I needed was a smaller, more portable, and easier to use grill. After a fair amount of research over the course of about six months, I couldn’t stop looking at the Cuisinart All Foods Grill. Reviews everywhere were excellent, and it was touted as a an efficient and consistent cooker not only by purchasers, but in various grilling and cooking publications as well. I pulled the trigger during a rare price drop.
I had no intention of reviewing the grill. I bought because I love outdoor cooking, and have owned a number of grills and smokers over the years. Having given away my baby, I felt like I needed one. My wife and I love to grill meats, seafood, and vegetables. Not only is it one of the more healthy cooking methods in existence, but a good grill imparts a great deal of flavor in a relatively short amount of time.
If you’ve read any reviews here, you probably already know that I’m not one to rave about a product. Typically, I’m more likely to simply tell you the pros and cons of a product and leave you to decide. But by the time I had finished using the CGG-200 just once, I felt the need to not only review it, but also let you know why I think you should buy one.
The All Foods grill is quite easy to assemble. Mostly, you’re simply adding the grill itself to it’s legs. Those two pieces attach to one another without tools, using only a few washers and 4 total bolts. One that is done, you’re left with a single, sturdy, free-standing grill that stands just over 20 inches high, and about 18 inches form leg to leg. The side shelves swing, and when the grill arrives they’re turned in and tucked under the cover, so there is no need to do anything but turn them outward.
In the box are a heavy, cast iron grill grate and an a stainless steel vegetable insert. The first simply gets placed on the grill into grooves, and the second can be aside somewhere until you use it. After grilling, I stored it in the grill on top of the grates.
I carried it outside and onto the patio alone, and suggest that you have help when you do it. It’s solid, a bit heavy, but mostly oddly-shaped. All of this contributes to something that acts as if it does not wish to be transported by a single person. When we were done cooking, my wife assisted me in bringing the grill back inside the house. That’s when I noticed the handles on each side of the grill. It goes without saying that moving it inside was considerably easier.
Of course, you’ll need some juice to use your grill. The CGG-200 uses propane, and allows for a 16.4 ounce tank that connects easily on the side. Just pull the cap off your tank and screw it into the nozzle. Next, turn the control nob to high. That’s it. No ignition switch, no button is required. Just set it on high and the grill fires up. A pair of match holes (just in case it won’t start automatically) are available on the bottom of the grill so you can peek through and check for a flame. I saw a blue flame with yellow tips. It fired up so easily that my excitement level began to grow.
But what to cook? The Missus had purchased a large green bell pepper (she usually eats them raw), and as we hadn’t planned to grill on this day, we had only frozen hamburgers and a few Nathan’s hot dogs. That was plenty for me, and she was game for a simple lunch. A good grill can make simple foods shine, and that might be a better test to see just how well this grill performed. If it could make frozen foods delicious, it had to be a good grill, I surmised.
From the time I turned the CGG-200 on, the thermostat began to climb visibly. In just under 5 minutes, it registered a rather incredible 425 degrees Fahrenheit. That, my friends, is fast. The lid however, was perfectly cool to the touch. I turned the dial to about 300 degrees and got ready to cook. This process took a couple of minutes. I recommend that you watch the gauge before putting food down because it decreases in heat a bit slower than it increases.
The burgers were seasoned with salt and pepper, while the pepper was sliced and received just a touch of salt and olive oil. Just to be on the safe side and prevent burning, I put some aluminum foil on the vegetable insert, then placed the peppers on it. This piece covers about half of the cooking space.
The other half got the burgers and dogs, with 3 of the former (1/4 pound patties) and 6 of the latter (standard bun size) fitting just snugly on the remaining cooking surface. With the top down on the grill, the burgers very quickly showed me some gorgeous grill marks, and a slight turn formed a perfect perpendicular set of lines on each. The hot dogs blistered even and quickly. After repeating this process for a few more minutes for each item, it was time to eat.
Because I hadn’t monitored the temperature closely enough, the hamburgers were still pink in the middle. A few minutes in the oven solved this, but it was a good lesson for next time. Everything was perfectly seared on the outside and juicy on the inside. The bell peppers were crisp on the exterior but for my taste a bit under-cooked in the middle (the wife loves them “al dente”).
After just one session with my new grill, I see endless possibilities. Perfectly seared T-bones with perfect crusts, my “famous” grilled chicken that slowly warms for hours on the insert then charred to perfection on the grates, marinated and beautifully charred vegetables, even pizza with that delicious “burnt” crust you usually get only from a wood burning oven. I look forward to years of great food with it. I highly recommend the All Foods Grill highly to anyone who loves to grill on a regular basis and doesn’t always feel like firing up a larger model. Had I paid twice as much as the current $150 average price, I don’t think I would have felt an ounce of regret for this very high quality item.
Some of the biggest benefits of the Cuisinart CGG-200 Grill:
- Solid but fairly portable.
- Cooks vegetables and does it well.
- Starts up with a single turn of a knob.
- Heats very quickly and reaches as high as 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Spacious enough for about seven 1/4 pound burger patties.
- Obvious quality construction which includes cast iron and lots of steel.
- Very useful side shelves that fold in when you close the grill.