This cast iron grill press from Cuisinart is made from cast iron in black, with a natural wood handle. It is about 9” x 4” x 3.5” in size and weighs just short of three pounds. The bottom of the plate has diagonal ridges for adding sear marks to the food.

Before use, this grilling press needs to be given a good wash to get rid of the nasty chemicals used during manufacture, and then seasoned with cooking oil. The oil will stop it sticking to the food as well as protect the cast iron, which will rust at the mere mention of water.

A cast iron press is used to hold food flat to the grill surface when cooking foods that might curl or are irregular. The press increases the heat and keeps the food in contact with the cooking surface. If you’re making paninis, this iron grilling press will leave pleasing sear lines in the bread as it has ridges along the bottom.  You’ll need to get the press hot first, of course.

As with most cast iron grill presses, it can be used on almost any grill, and in a pan in the kitchen. Just remember it needs to be hot to work properly. Which brings me to the first problem. Why do manufacturers insist on putting wooden handles on these things? One of the best uses for a panini grill press is to leave it in the BBQ and close the lid, get it really hot and then put it on top of the food you’re cooking. This is obviously not recommended with a wooden handle.  When it comes to the clean up, BBQ presses are not dishwasher safe, so need to be hand washed. And make sure you dry it completely afterwards, and re-season if you need to.

In addition, the wooden handle of this Cuisinart cast-iron barbecue press is screwed in place, and not very well in this instance. What it comes down to why would you buy a grill press with a wooden handle when you can buy one that’s solid cast iron like this Weber?

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