Cuisinart is a home appliance brand owned by Conair Corporation. In 1971 Cuisinart introduced the USA to their electric food processor. They now offer a wide variety of cooking equipment including blenders, coffee makers, rice cookers and portable outdoor grills.
The Cuisinart Petite Gourmet Tabletop Gas Grill is Portable with a capital P! Small and lightweight the design favors style and mobility over performance. We found the single 5,500 BTU stainless steel oval burner got plenty hot for searing but temp was concentrated in the middle of the porcelain coated steel grate, making it necessary to constantly move foods around for even cooking. Still, with a little baby sitting it gets the job done. Below left you see how the middle burgers cooked faster, but by continually swapping positions on the approximately 15" x 10" cook surface, we ended up with good results. Burgers on the right were not quite done when the pic was taken.
Cuisinart’s claim that Petite Gourmet can cook 8 burgers is overstated, unless they are referring to small sliders. The burgers above were medium size one third pound patties about four inches in diameter. Some owners gripe they can’t get any heat out of this petite gasser. Others burned up the interior firebox and melted all the plastic parts, most likely by cranking it all the way and closing the lid. We were surprised by the high temp in the middle cook box and found cooking on medium with the lid closed worked well. If you really want to push this little grill all the way to the high setting for searing something small, like a couple skewers over the center hot spot, leave the lid up to prevent damage. Piezo electric ignition is built into the control knob to fire when you turn the dial on.
Most Petite Gourmet owners really like their grills. Weighing less than 14 lbs. and about 16 inches wide, they are lighter and smaller than many tabletops. Locking lid, (shown below), and fold up legs enable one to carry them like a brief case.
Black and stainless steel models are offered, but the attractive bright red model we tested seems most popular. Obviously not suited for holiday feasts or cooking that requires larger, more advanced equipment; Petite Gourmet is meant for simple, low capacity grilling. For about $20 more you can get a VersaStand model with fold up, telescoping legs that elevate the gill surface. Click here to check it out on Amazon.
Standard models run off a 16 oz. propane tank and an adaptor for a 20 lb. tank is available. The 16 oz. tank fits very snug against the grill body making it difficult to screw on initially. A gray plastic piece located over the tank provides some protection when the grill is resting upright on the back. There is a small slide-out grease tray, (below). Be sure to push it all the way in firmly or it can easily slip out when being carried by the handle. When grilling a lot of greasy stuff like burgers, this little tray can fill up causing grease fires and creating a mess. Be sure to clean The Petite Gourmet after every use. We just wiped off the inside with a couple paper towels, removed the grease tray and wiped any bits of charred foods through the tray slot onto the grass. One clever owner reports removing the grease tray and placing a pie pan under the grill to catch drippings.
Packaging was very good and the grill was almost fully assembled in the box, nestled safely in form fitted foam. We noted complaints about Cuisinart customer service and made a couple calls to investigate. After waiting on hold for ten minutes, we gave up and tried an alternate Cuisinart number only to be told Cuisinart grills are handled by their marketing firm, The Fulham Group. We called The Fulham Group customer service and got a voice mail asking us to leave our phone number and email. A far cry from Weber who continue to set the standard for quality customer care.
Be that as it may, Cuisinart has a modest hit with Petite Gourmet, capturing the eyeballs and pocket books of many, mostly satisfied buyers. If you want a good looking, small, lightweight portable for simple low capacity grilling, this could be for you. Additionally the going rate on Petite Gourmet is about a hundred bucks; more than some small portable gassers, but not nearly the most expensive on the market.
Limited three year warranty covering defects in parts and workmanship.
Cooked On It
We have hands-on experience testing this product. We have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners and other reliable sources.