These grills are one of the most popular electrical contact grills. It’s intended mainly for cooking hamburgers and is ideal as universal equipment for cooking the fast-food dishes. Therefore, they are often used in small cafes and in retail outlets of fast food, where these dishes are the basis of a menu.
This device has received name from the Italian word panini that means small bread or rolls.
These grills are also suitable for frying meat and sausages, for cooking the fish, eggs, omelets, pancakes, toast, steaks of meat and fish and many other dishes. High versatility ensures high competitiveness of these models when choosing the optimal grill. Grill provides roasting the foods with two sides that reduces power consumption, cooking time and heat loss.
Working surface is made of aluminum, cast iron, stainless steel or glass ceramics. Each material has its pros and cons. Aluminum heats up and cools down very quickly. Heating time of cast iron is more. But it retains heat longer. Stainless steel is the most durable material. It heats up relatively quickly and efficiently gives off heat. Glass ceramics is very easy to clean and provide a stylish design.
The surface may be smooth, corrugated or combined. Models for cooking the sandwiches are traditionally have corrugated surface that provides a characteristic marks on the sandwiches.
But a smooth surface is more versatile. It’s well suited for cooking, for example, tortilla or omelet.
Models with combined surfaces combine these advantages. Such grills have, for example, corrugated lower surface and smooth top surface.
Workers surfaces with large area sometimes are divided into segments. In this case, half of the surface is made smooth, and the other half is produced with corrugation.
The working surface of almost all modern models has non-stick coating for preventing a scorching, for easy cleaning and reducing use of fat in the cooking process. Some models support the mode of faster cooking due to the innovative coating. For example, Breville offers a such grill with a patented 3 Slice DuraCeramic non-stick coating.
The heating elements of the upper and lower surfaces are turned on separately or simultaneously, depending on the cooking mode.
Many models have automatic adjustment of mechanical pressure from the upper surface side that depends on the sandwich thickness. Gap between the surfaces is automatically adjusted in the range from 10 to 75 mm.
Special tray is intended for fat collection during frying.
All grills have a thermostat that provides temperature control in the range from 0 to 350 degrees and automatic shutdown in case of overheating.
The upper and lower heating elements often have independent temperature control. Adjustment ranges can be different. For example, some models provide adjustment from 150 to 250 degrees for the upper plate and from 150 to 280 degrees for the lower plate.
Pneumatic spring provides automatic climb of lid in the end of cooking.
Some expensive compact models are equipped with digital control, timer and display.
Handles are usually made of a material with a low thermal conductivity to prevent burns.
Many models have rear feet with adjustable height. The slope is convenient for cooking dietary dishes, ensuring the draining of fat during cooking.
A special scraper greatly simplifies cleaning the grill after cooking.
The features and technologies of the modern Panini grill can be viewed on video.