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- The Calphalon Even Sear Indoor Electric Multi-Grill ($110 on Amazon) can make a ton of delicious bites from pancakes to steak with ease.
- It can be set to temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and the removable plates are easy to wash while a drip tray catches any grease or fluids that run off during cooking.
- The ceramic cooking surfaces quickly and evenly distributes heat, ensuring fast and reliable cooking with each use.
About a decade ago, I bought a cheap panini press from a discount shop. For the next few months, I enjoyed plenty of hot sandwiches from basic grilled cheese and tuna melts to hot ham and chicken paninis. Then one day, a dim light went off in my mind as I realized what so many had figured out before me: I could use the thing to make so much more than just sandwiches.
The panini press is technically just two hot surfaces that could be pressed close to one another, so I started using it to grill burgers, cook hash browns, sear fish, and so much more. It was less hassle than firing up the grill outside and quicker than baking or even pan frying in many cases. But as to be expected with cheap appliances, eventually the press passed its prime. The nonstick surface suffered multiple scratches, the locking lever failed, and the heating became uneven.
Calphalon’s Even Sear Indoor Electric Multi-Grill, however, is not a cheap appliance. When this electric griddle first launched, it was $200 but now it’s $110, which equates to three of the aforementioned cheap panini presses. It’s worth the small investment though – this Multi-Grill is easily three times better than any cheap appliance in terms of quality and performance.
It features a dial that can be set to temperatures between 200 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit so you can use the grill to prepare anything from delicate fish to a thick steak, or use the low warming setting to keep pancakes warm as you make a big batch. Of course, you can close it over and press down on that panini sandwich or have it lie totally flat as a griddle with enough space for up to eight hamburger patties or plenty of bacon and eggs.
The Multi-Grill has two sets of removable plates, one of which has raised stripes for those perfect grill marks and the other which is flat and ideal for omelets or pancakes. The plates are removable, easy to clean, and have nonstick surfaces too.
The “Even Sear” part of the name is due to a heat distribution system threaded through each plate and the thick ceramic coating on the grill surfaces. The entire cooking area warms up quickly and evenly, so you don’t have to worry about any awkward hot or cold spots. And thanks to a digital timer displayed on the LCD screen, you can keep track of your cooking time without having to constantly check your phone.
So is $110 expensive for a glorified panini press? Sure. But this isn’t a another cheap one-trick-pony panini press, it’s a genuine electric grill. And even if it was just a regular panini press, now you’ve learned how to hack it – and hopefully a lot faster than it took me too.