Decent size surface area
Transitions from tabletop to ground use
Nice grill lines
A little wobbly
No temperature gauge
Lid kept latching
We purchased the Cuisinart Petite Gourmet Portable Gas Grill With VersaStand so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
Portable grills make life easier—and more delicious—when you’re on the go. You can take them with you when you’re camping, tailgating, or having a day at the beach. They also make a great addition to a small patio space where a full-size grill won’t fit. But some portable grills force you to choose between size and function. That’s why I am on a mission to find one that doesn’t. The Cuisinart Petite Gourmet Portable Gas Grill With VersaStand promises a spacious cooking surface and powerful, even heat distribution in a convenient size. But can it stand the heat? I tested it to find out.
Setup Process: Almost non-existent
The Cuisinart Petite Gas Grill was almost ready to go right out of the box. All I had to do was remove some plastic and cardboard from the inner grates and attach the feet—they slide right onto the telescoping legs and have red arrows that indicate exactly where they go—and I was ready to connect the propane.
The manufacturer says that the grill can hold eight steaks, eight hamburgers, or six to 10 chicken breasts, but unless you’re crowding them in (or they’re really small), that’s a stretch.
The grill operates with a 1-pound propane tank that’s not included, but I had one handy. The propane tank attaches to a valve on the back of the grill. It screws right in and lies flush with the backside of the grill, so you don’t have to find a place to rest it on the floor or tabletop. If you want to extend the propane tank out, you can buy the grill and an adapter hose (view at Amazon) together.
The manual does recommend turning on the grill and letting it heat for 15 minutes before the first use to let any manufacturing materials burn off and dissipate odor before cooking, so the initial setup process is a little lengthier than subsequent grilling was. After the first use, I let the grill heat up for about 10 minutes before cooking.
Features: Just the basics
The Cuisinart Petite Gas Grill has a single 5,500 BTU stainless-steel burner and 145 square inches of grilling surface spread out over porcelain enamel-coated grill grates. The manufacturer says that the grill can hold eight steaks, eight hamburgers, or six to 10 chicken breasts, but unless you’re crowding them in (or they’re really small), that’s a stretch. I could comfortably fit four quarter-pound burgers on the grill.
It has a twist-start electric ignition controlled by a knob that’s labeled with low, medium, and high temperature markings. In theory, the twist-start ignition is a good idea, but it never worked on the first try. Sometimes I would have to try three times before the ignition would light the gas. Other times, I had to use a match to get it going. While this is a minor inconvenience, it does make things a little more complicated, especially when you’re camping or tailgating. If you don’t remember to bring a match or a grill lighter, you might run into some trouble.
Design: Portable, but bulky
The Cuisinart Petite Gas Grill is portable, but the design is still rather bulky. It has a briefcase-style handle that you can use to easily carry the grill, but at 17 pounds, it can get a little heavy carrying it one-handed.
The grill sits on top of a telescoping base with two legs that you can adjust to three heights—tabletop, mid-level, and full 30-inch grate level. While it’s sturdy at tabletop and mid-level heights, things started to feel slightly wobbly at full level. The grill didn’t feel totally unstable, but the legs swayed a bit when I was flipping food.
When not in use, the legs collapse and slide under the grill, minimizing the grill’s footprint and making it easier to transport or store out of sight. The legs are easy to adjust—you just have to click a button and pull them down or push them, but it was a little cumbersome (although not impossible) to do alone. It’s easier if you have two people: one to pick the grill up and the other to collapse the legs.
The Cuisinart Petite Gas Grill is portable, but the design is still rather bulky.
The one main flaw in the design was the lid latch. There’s a sliding button on the face of the grill that you can use to unlock or lock the lid, depending on whether you’re using the grill or in the middle of travel. This is convenient for when you’re carrying the grill with the handle, but every time I closed the grill while cooking, the latch caught onto the lock, and I had to slide the locking mechanism over to release it.
Performance: Nice grill lines
I was a little skeptical about how the grill would perform, but it exceeded my expectations. While it took a few tries to get it started, once it got going, everything went smoothly. I cooked burgers, chicken thighs, and vegetable kebabs, and all were evenly cooked. The burgers and chicken thighs had beautiful grill lines, and the veggies were perfectly charred on the outside. Thanks to the porcelain-coated grill grates, the food came right off without any sticking (and minimal to no oiling).
The only thing that was kind of a bummer is that it only has one burner. I typically like to cook chicken and veggies at the same time over different flames. I also like to heat up burger buns over a low flame while the burgers are cooking. Neither is possible with this grill. There’s also no temperature gauge. While you can control the flame to high, medium, or low, there’s no way to see exactly what the temperature is inside the grill.
The burgers and chicken thighs had beautiful grill lines, and the veggies were perfectly charred on the outside.
Cleaning: Quick and easy
The cleaning process was another area where the grill shined. The grill grate is removable, so you can bring it right to the sink if you have access to one. The porcelain finish was also beautifully non-stick, so it was really easy to wipe it down after letting it cool for a little while.
Price: A fair ask
The Cuisinart Petite Gas Grill retails for $150, which I thought was a fair ask for what you get. While there are some full-size grills out there for a similar price, the convenience of the smaller design and the telescoping legs that transition it from tabletop to ground use make the cost worth it if you’re often on the go.
Cuisinart Petite Gourmet Gas Grill vs. nomadiQ Portable Propane Gas Grill
If portability is what you’re after, the nomadiQ Portable Propane Gas Grill takes the gold every time. Unlike the Cuisinart Petite Gas Grill, which is a little bulky, the nomadiQ has a sleek design that folds up flat and only weighs 12 pounds, and it comes with a convenient carry strap. It also has dual burners with independent temperature control. The only downside of the nomadiQ compared to the Cuisinart Petite is that it doesn’t have a cover, so you don’t get that perfectly melted cheese on top of your burger. It also doesn’t have an extendable height, so if you don’t have a tabletop or an elevated surface to put it on, you’ll have to set it up on the floor and lean over it. It also retails for twice the cost of the Cuisinart Petite at around $300.
It does the job.
Because it was a little wobbly and only had one burner, the Cuisinart Petite Gourmet Portable Gas Grill With VersaStand wasn’t the portable grill of my dreams, but if you’re looking for a decent way to grill on the go, it gets the job done.
- Product Name Petite Gourmet Portable Gas Grill With VersaStand
- Product Brand Cuisinart
- Price $150
- Weight 17 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 16.5 x 31.5 x 16 in.
- Color Red, black, silver
- Total cooking area 145 square inches
- BTU 5,500
- Warranty 3 years