Breville BGR820XL Smart Grill – Full Review
The Breville BGR820XL Smart Grill takes the countertop grilling to new heights. The embedded elements do a lot for this appliance, allowing it to heat up quickly and maintain the set temperature so cooking takes less time, and so the foods you make on it turn out looking and tasting fantastic. While it doesn’t impart smoky barbecue flavor like an outdoor grill does, it sears meat quickly, keeping it tender and juicy rather than overcooking it and causing toughness the way some slower-acting countertop grills do.
Whether you’re primarily interested in an indoor grill for cooking meats, vegetables, panini-style sandwiches, or breakfast items, you’ll find that the Breville Smart Grill lets you make your favorite foods quickly and easily. It comes with a ridged plate and a flat plate, and it can be fully opened to double your cooking area.
The plates are interchangeable, and the bottom plate can be set at a slight angle to allow grease to drain away or placed in a level position to keep eggs and pancake batter from flowing away. The upper plate is height-adjustable, with six settings that accommodate foods of different thicknesses. You can make open-face melts, thick paninis, tasty sliders, and everything in between.
Cleanup is quick and simple, as the plates fully detach and the grease tray is removable. The stainless steel housing cleans up quickly as well. I’d like it if the plates were safe for the lower dishwasher rack rather than the upper one only, but I’ve never spent more than a few minutes cleaning up the old-fashioned way by hand, so this isn’t really a major issue. These are just a few main points to consider concerning the Breville BGR820XL Smart Grill. Additional pros and cons follow.
Timer and Temperature Control Dials
Some countertop grills have just one control dial for temperature, which might or might not work for you. The Breville Smart Grill has a pair of dials that allow you to set the cooking temperature easily and time the foods you’re cooking so you can multitask better. The temperature control dial has just three settings: Low, Panini, and Sear, which range in temperature from 320 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. I would like this grill better if it had a fourth “warm” setting at about 200 degrees, however I’ve managed to get around that by simply shutting the grill off and keeping food there to stop it from cooking more while keeping it warm prior to serving.
Special Panini Mode
This indoor grill takes a lot of the guesswork out of making Paninis. In Panini mode, you put the flat griddle plate on the bottom section of the grill, and the ridged section on the top so the Paninis you make have the classic ribbed look as well as that wonderful grilled crunch that makes them so delicious. If you want your paninis to be ridged on both sides, additional grill plates are available for sale separately.
Handy Barbecue Mode
In barbecue mode, the Breville Smart Grill opens up to lie flat, allowing you to sear and grill meats, seafood, and vegetables while grease drains into the trap underneath. It is nice to have the option to cook some things on the flat section and others on the ridged grill surface, and as with other indoor grills that open up this way, it’s great to have two completely separate surfaces to cook on so flavors don’t mingle when they’re not supposed to.
Makes Healthier Cooking Easy
Standard fry pans are great to have, but if you are concerned about keeping the amount of fat in your diet to a healthy level, it can be tough to make your favorite foods so they taste great but contain less grease. The Breville Smart Grill makes it easy to drain excess fat away when you want to, and because the plates are non-stick, they allow you to use either no fat or just a tiny amount to add flavor if you want to.
Quick Cooking and Easy to Use
Even though the Breville has a timer and a sound alert that lets you know when time’s up, you might discover like I did that you won’t get a whole lot done during the time your food is cooking because it just doesn’t take that long. If you often find yourself making unhealthy choices at mealtime out of a need for convenience, this handy little appliance will help you change that habit. There’s enough room on this grill for a nice meal for two or to make chicken or burgers for four. If you’re cooking for more than that, you will probably need to keep things warm in the oven before calling everyone to the table.
The plates snap out for handwashing. Do wait until the grill is completely cool before you clean up, and be sure that you don’t use metal scrapers or other metal cleaning tools, as these will ruin the nonstick cooking surface. One thing I don’t like about this grill is that Breville does not include a ridged cleaning spatula with it. You can buy one of these separately to make cleaning the ridged section of the grill easier, or you can buy some George Foreman ridged sponges that fit the ridged section perfectly. I have noticed that a standard dishcloth does a good job getting the grill clean, particularly if you just let it soak for a few minutes. Despite the lack of a ridged spatula, cleaning this grill is still simpler than scrubbing a fry pan.
Solid, Good Looking Design
This is a handsome countertop griddle, with a stainless steel housing that looks almost like it belongs in a commercial kitchen. The knobs and display are attractive, and the grease tray fits right into the front of the appliance for a smooth and streamlined appearance. The exterior of the Breville Smart Grill is easy to clean with some glass cleaner and a paper towel.
I’ve read quite a few reviews in which people complain about mashed food, but I haven’t had this problem. To get the effect you want and avoid smashing food when cooking in Panini mode, be sure that you read the instructions and set the knob that adjusts the top plate while the grill is cold. Turn the unit on when you are ready to cook. Like the food that emerges from similar countertop grills, the items that come off this one look just fantastic. It’s nice to have the option to grill inside without the fuss of setting up and cleaning the outdoor barbecue, and it’s great to have a way to make healthy, attractive food quickly.
“Does the Breville Smart Grill lock closed for storage in a cabinet?”
Yes, it does lock securely closed for storage. It is fairly heavy for its size so I’ve found it’s best to store in a lower cabinet rather than overhead.
“Can you make quesadillas with this grill?”
Yes, just like paninis. I’ve stuffed all kinds of things into the quesadillas I’ve made and have had them turn out nice. Leftover grilled chicken, shrimp, veggies, and of course cheese!
“I have seen some reviews that mention problems with excess smoke. Has this been a problem for you?”
The grill will smoke if it is not clean, or if escaped juice and fat start to overcook on the grill surface next to the food you’re making. Use a damp paper towel to blot this stuff up and the smoke problem will be no more.
“Does the countertop get hot underneath this griddle?”
No, not at all.
“What is the widest setting for the top of the Smart Grill?”
The high setting has a thickness of about 2 ½ inches. This lets you cook very thick items or melt cheese on top of things without worrying about touching the top level. I’ve heard about people using the tallest setting to reheat pizza, strange as that sounds! I have not tried it myself, but since it makes open face melt sandwiches, it seems like it would really work.
“Does this appliance come with a warranty?”
Yes, according to Breville, the Smart Grill comes with a six month warranty.
The Breville BGR820XL Smart Grill is easy to set up, simple to use, and very easy to clean up. It is very well-made, has a larger cooking surface than some other indoor grills, and allows you to make a huge variety of foods ranging from breakfast items such as pancakes and eggs to dinner favorites like steak and chicken. It provides quick, even cooking, and food emerges from the grill looking like it came from your favorite restaurant. It costs a little more than some other grills, however the quality is evident, underscoring the fact that you really do get what you pay for. If you like the idea of having a reliable indoor grill that lets you exercise your creativity in the kitchen, you will most likely appreciate all the Breville Smart Grill has to offer.
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