At first glance, you might think the Cinder Grill is a regular panini press, but you’d be wrong. It’s a new $400 cooking device that claims to be the world’s first precision grill, which means it cooks everything to a precise temperature. With the tagline “cook food perfectly,” the Cinder claims that overcooking is impossible and food can stay within 1° of the target temperature for hours inside the Cinder. With aspirations to replace the sous vide, the Cinder not only cooks foods all the way through but also allows you to sear them on the same surface. Founded in San Francisco, the Cinder Grill is now available for purchase on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo. The catch is, it’ll only be available for a limited time, and 1,000 people have already claimed one. It’s easy to see why the high-tech tool is so appealing, but is it worth the price? Read on to discover some of the best features the Cinder has to offer, plus what you can cook with it (spoiler: most things), and decide if it might be right for you.
The Cinder Precision Grill app makes the cooking process even easier, and it automatically connects to your grill once it’s turned on. The app lets you choose what to cook from a drop-down menu, like filet mignon, light- or dark-meat chicken, salmon, hamburgers, or produce, and it sets the temperature that it should reach based on your preference, like medium rare or medium. From there, all you have to do is preheat the grill and prep your food. If you’re cooking a steak, you can simply season the steak, place it on the grill (no oil necessary), close the lid, wait, and then sear it once it has reached its programmed temperature.
I’ve discovered that the best way to make a grilled cheese is not only to put cheese in the middle but also on top (with butter, of course). While this method wouldn’t work quite as well in a standard skillet on the stove, it’s pure gold in a panini press or the Cinder. You close the lid and let the top piece of bread get crusty and allow the melted cheese to seep into every hole, and the end result is perfection.
The Cinder reminds you to think about the precise temperature that a food should be cooked at, even something as simple as grilled cheese. Grilling bread at 350°F (with a little butter or ghee) gives it that perfect golden-brown exterior without the risk of burning it. Plus, there’s room to grill more than one thing at once because of the spacious surface area. You’re not limited to cooking just a grilled cheese and can add things like vegetables, eggs, or meat at the same time.
The flat surface of the Cinder allows you to get a perfectly cooked omelet without much effort at all. Closing the lid after pouring in the eggs makes the eggs fluffy because the condensation steams them.
The steam from the closed lid fully cooks the eggs on both sides, so you don’t have to worry about an unsuccessful flip. Just sprinkle cheese on top and fold it, French-omelet style.