A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling,
passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
Cuisinart makes a number of nice portable grills, and this is probably the MOST portable of all of them, but perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.
The Petite Gourmet is a gas grill that can run on most standard propane tanks. It is a variant of the CGG-180, which is a much taller version of the same grill; assume most of what I say about this model applies to that variant, as the only real difference is that this is a tabletop model (designed to be set on top of a table at a campsite or some such), while the other is a more standard standalone grill with longer folding legs.
That portability and compact nature is its key selling point. This grill is positively tiny, with its longest side measuring only a foot and half (the length). It’s about the size of a medium sized lunchbox, so it’s very easy to toss in the back of your car or even under a seat in some vehicle and just leave there for when you plan to go camping.
It’s also great as perhaps an emergency tool if you’re going on a long road trip or traveling far afield. Even if you don’t necessarily plan to cook with it (because you’ll be stopping at a restaurant, or a larger campsite) it’s there and easy to set up if needed. I like tools like this, being a somewhat paranoid person; I like to have everything I need and can reasonably fit in my vehicle (rope, a backup knife, portable jumper, etc.) and this kind of grill makes a great addition if you think you might get caught in the middle or nowhere at some point.
The performance is a bit of a mixed bag, with all the natural drawbacks you’d expect. This grill is small and portable, meaning its cooking surface is likewise very limited. You’re getting 145 square inches of cooking space here. For perspective, the average portable grill is clocking in at around 200 square inches (212 square inches specifically is a popular number for whatever reason) and is a bit bulkier. You’re not going to be cooking a large feast on this thing by any means, but it’s the perfect size for cooking a meal for two of a pair of hamburgers, chicken breasts, or small steaks and some vegetables to go with it on the side.
If you want to cook for larger groups (like on a whole family trip if you have kids) you’re probably better off nabbing a somewhat larger camp grill or kettle grill if you have the space to fit one. Or you could just have two of these, I suppose.
In terms of power it’s fairly middle of the road. It has one solid burner with 5500 BTUh of heat output. This is about 37 BTU per square inch, which is respectable for a portable grill. While the recommendation for a home grill is 80 to 100 BTU per square inch, portable grills get a little more leeway because that’s a bit unreasonable for something that’s going to be running off a fairly small propane tank most of the time.
Just keep in mind that like all portable grills, it’s going to take a bit longer to cook something than your home gas grill with powerful 10, 000 or 12, 000 BTUh burners. It’s designed to economically make use of your propane more than anything else, so you’ll need to be patient with it.
The construction is solid, with porcelain enameled grates for a naturally nonstick and easy to clean surface (important when you’re away from easy access to a ton of water for cleaning) and mostly stainless steel parts. Despite this it remains lightweight and easy to move around.
The locking lid is nice, helping to keep your food safe and making the grill itself viable storage for all its component parts and accoutrements, which is perfect when space is at a premium.
In terms of price, the grill is fairly standard for a portable gas grill of its quality. A bit cheaper than other models (like the Weber Q series grills) but nothing really to write home about.
That, particularly, is this grill’s main downfall: it’s nothing to write home about. Everything I’ve mentioned so far is great, for the most part. Unequivocally good features that any portable gas grill should be proud to have (save the burner).
However, there are plenty of gas grills out there that have all this and more; higher capacity, much more powerful burners which can be equivalently powerful to a home grill, better materials and construction, and things like side tables or adjustable rolling carts that can be folded up.
All of these grills are more expensive, yes, some of them significantly so, but a relatively low price isn’t necessarily a metric to hang everything on.
As it is, while I can recommend this grill to anyone who needs a particularly portable gas grill (this is one of the smallest I’ve ever seen, and it makes very good use of space), I can’t really recommend it as a clear pick for someone who simply wants a great grill. It has too many drawbacks in terms of raw performance to really stand out, so it’s only worth getting if you NEED something this small, or likewise need a portable grill and are on a strict budget for whatever reason.
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