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Review: Kamado Joe vs Memphis Pellet Grill

Written by Appliance Dude | August 16th, 2017

The Memphis Grill vs Kamado Joe
Pellets vs Lump Charcoal
Set it and Forget It vs Manual Controls
Stainless vs Ceramic
Pelletheads vs Joe-Freaks

I would simply say….buy them both, but nothing in life is simple…save for Aaron Franklin’s brisket ingredients (beef, salt/pepper, smoke)
Watch the video as I dig into the topic..and remember, if you want more info or want to buy a Memphis Wood Fire Grill or a Kamado Joe, call us at 1-800-966-2878 or visit curtos.com

ButtercreamBlondie Thanks Curto’s

Written by Appliance Dude | August 16th, 2017

The owner of ButtercreamBlondie visited the showroom today bearing gifts…a beautiful package of cupcakes for our Janice. Yelp and Google reviews are great, but when someone bakes you cupcakes and delivers as a Thank You, now that means something! We promise to take care of all of our customers, whether we receive cupcakes or not!

Westchester County / Bedford Outdoor Kitchen Pics

Written by Appliance Dude | August 11th, 2017

A Westchester County Outdoor Kitchen that Screams VALUE

Here is an outdoor kitchen in Bedford Westchester County that uses an Artisan by Alfresco 36″ grill head with 32″ access doors and a Marvel MO24RAS1RS 24″ refrigerator. The couple did not want to spend a fortune on the outdoor kitchen grill equipment. Instead they bypassed an Alfresco and Lynx and decided upon Alfresco’s “little brother”, the 36″ Artisan. The Artisan grill – ARTP36 – shares some features with the Alfresco. These include the same briquette cooking system and igniters/wires that are encased in heat-resistant silicone. The grill is also made in the same California factory as the Alfresco.

For the kitchen masonry they used natural stone veneer in Mosaic pattern. For the countertops they used polished and sealed Bluestone. Many people love the way Bluestone looks but they shy away from using it as an outdoor kitchen counter top b/c of its propensity to stain. In this case the Bluestsone is sealed which will protect it from the elements as well as potential spillages.

If you want to learn more about the Artisan grill line or design an outdoor space contact us at Curto’s at 1-800-966-2878 or visit at 1966 Central Park Ave in Yonkers.

Artisan 36 grill

Artisan 36″ Grill in Westchester County outdoor kitchen

Artisan ARTP-36 Grill

Artisan 36″ Grill and 32″ Access doors

Artisan ARTP36

Artp36 Grill in outdoor kitchen

Memphis Pellet Grill Review: Great Grates!

Written by Appliance Dude | August 10th, 2017

In this Memphis Grill Review, Señor Smoke at Curto’s is told by an employee at Memphis Grills that YES, you can fit a water pan under your brisket, with the help of the Memphis small grate kit accessory. This is a game-changer, providing that much-needed moisture boost in the cook chamber!

For questions or ordering info on the Memphis wood fire grill, please email or call us at 1-800-966-2878

Memphis Pro Grill Review: Aaron Franklin Brisket

Written by Appliance Dude | August 8th, 2017

The Memphis Pellet Grill delivered the goods as I made a brisket in the style of Aaron Franklin. Check out this Memphis Grill review as I detail how the smoke went.

We held our annual Smoke n Sear fest 2 weeks ago and I was charged with making the brisket.
Instead of trying to go wild with some exotic rub/brine/injection solution I decided to go lo-fi and attempt to dial in the Aaron Franklin method.
This would call for nothing but good beef, smoke and salt and then eventually wrapping the brisket in butcher paper to ensure moistness.
The butcher paper is a dramatic improvement over foil (i.e. the Texas Crutch) b/c it is more porous and allows the brisket to breathe.

I decided to use the Memphis wood fire Pro Grill and cooked at 225 for an estimated 12 hours, then I would wrap for two hours and keep in the cooler before serving. I sued Mesquite Traeger pellets and used a pan filled with beer insider the smoke chamber to keep it moist.

Well, things changed along the way, so check out the video to see what happened.

If you are interested in a Memphis Wood Fire Pellet Grill, please call us at 1-800-966-2878 or visit our showroom in Westchester County. We are an authorized Memphis dealer and ship these grills Nationwide

42″ Refrigerators: KitchenAid vs Jenn-Air – Review

Written by Appliance Dude | August 7th, 2017

Is a Kitchen Aid built in 42 french door refrigerator the same as a Jenn-Air 42?

The answer is a resounding no.

The 42″ french door refrigerator market is not well populated.
You have Subzero whose product is over $11,000.

Then you have KitchenAid and Jenn-Air 42″ french door models.

An uninformed appliance store will tell you that the Jenn-Air and the KitchenAid are essentially the same fridges. They are both part of the Whirlpool family. Both are assembled in the US.
Both have similar capacity. So they’re the same, right? Nope.

The biggest difference between the JennAir and the KitchenAid is that the JennAir JF36NXFXDE and the JF42NXFXDE can both be used in a FLUSH INSTALLATION. This is incredibly important as the flush look is now extremely popular in kitchens as it provides a lighter, more seamless and cleaner look. The Jennair also offer a new texture for the inside of the fridge – the black obsidian interior has resonated with both the design community as well as homeowners. When you see the Jenn-Air-JF36NXFXDE 42″ fridge illuminated by the ramp up LED lighting, you will be impressed.

Jenn-Air fridge

Obsidian interior of Jenn-Air refrigerator

The Jenn-Air will also give you a 2 year manufacturer’s full warranty. You’ll also gain access to their concierge service which is worth the price difference from the KitchenAid.
(*It’s a pleasure having someone pick up the phone for customer service after only a few rings).

The Jenn-Air offers filtration of both ice and water

The Jenn-Air offers a Max Ice option to speed up ice production

The Jenn-Air has a variable speed compressor which is more energy efficient

And while cubic capacity is the same, the dimensions of the fridges are slightly different with the Jenn-Air being 41.75″ wide and the KitchenAid is 42.25″
The Jenn-air is 24.75″ deep, the Kitchenaid is 25.13″.

JennAir width
41.75 inch(es) / 106.05 cm

KTA width
42.25 inch(es) / 107.32 cm

JennAir Height
84 inch(es) / 213.36 cm

KTA Height
83.37 inch(es) / 211.77 cm

JennAir Depth
24.75 inch(es) / 62.87 cm

KTA Depth
25.13 inch(es) / 63.82 cm

Jenn-Air will also give you different handle options while the KitchenAid handles are the tubular ones with the red cap that is seen throughout the entire KitchenAid line of appliances.

JennAir 42 French Door – Curtos.com

And for your viewing pleasure especially if you enjoy soft piano music while researching refrigerators:

4 Reasons Why the Blaze 3 Pro May Be Best Grill….

Written by Appliance Dude | August 4th, 2017

…Under $3K

The Blaze 3 Professional grill – BLZ-3-PRO provides features and a price point that are very compelling. Let’s break it down…

True story…sales rep comes into the Curto’s showroom 3 years in the beginning to mid_July and starts pitching me on a new grill line called “Blaze“. A new grill line bring introduced in the middle of July in the Northeast? The season is practically over! I dismissed it but he came back again and pressed the issue…he claimed that this line was lower priced than all the pro product out there but it delivers the goods in terms of features….on a lark I capitulated and consented to bringing two grills in…a Blaze 4 and a Blaze 3 Pro. Within a year they had become one of our best-selling grill lines!

The success of the Blaze line of grills on a national level has been startling and has been a wake-up call to the rest of the industry. Blaze created a good product and then marketing the living shit out of it…thanks to their relationship with BBQguys.com (they are owned by the same company) they had a built-in marketing machine ready to promote the heck out of their product right out of the gates. But the grill would only go so far with the marketing. If it was built like crud, the success would be short-lived. Four years in, they are not only continuing to sell strong, but they are expanding the line at a rapid pace.

While the regular Blaze line (like the Blaze 4) is the bestseller, Blaze also has a Professional series that is kitted out with more features and built more substantially so it provides a great way to move up in terms of quality without blowing up your wallet.
Let’s go through the tale of the tape first and then I’ll list 4 reasons beyond the specs why this may be the best grill out there at $2799.

Blz3Pro Specs Tale of the Tape

• 3 commercial quality 304 cast stainless steel H burners
• 22,000 BTUs of cooking power per burner, for a total of 66,000 BTUs
• 10,000 BTU infrared rear rotisserie burner
• Heavy 12mm stainless steel hexagon cooking rods maximize durability
• Push and turn flame-thrower primary ignition system delivers a fast start every time
• Individual flash tube secondary ignition
• Heat zone separators divide the cooking surface into individual temperature zones
• Flame stabilizing grids minimize flare-ups while adding a grilled flavor
• Full-width drip tray and removable baffles for quick clean up
• Double-lined grill hood protects outer layer from heat discoloration and maintains more heat
• Illuminated control knobs for evening gatherings creates a sophisticated appearance
• Interior lights help navigate the grilling surface at night
• Blaze Grills offers an impressive Lifetime Warranty

I’ve highlighted 4 features from the above list that we will flesh out now and provide you with some more granular info:

4 Reasons Why the Blaze 3 Pro BLZ-3PRO May Be The Best Grill Under $3K

#1 – Commercial quality H-Shaped 304 cast stainless burners – ok I understand that these are not the Lynx brass burners or the Alfresco 18SR U-shaped monsters.
However, this grill is also half the price of those! The key point to focus in on is the burner shape – it’s an H. No one is really producing that shape any longer other than Caliber which is an extremely high end grill created by the founders of DCS. And that is the key point to latch onto…the H-shaped burner in the Blaze 3 Pro has emulated that original DCS burner which many in the industry feel was the best and most efficient burner. Why aren’t more companies using the H-Shape? I can write another post on the H vs U burner argument but the fact that Blaze brought this design back was a strategic and brilliant move. And I say this bc out of all the Blaze Pro’s that we’ve sold, no one has ever complained about flame spread or heat output.

#2 – Heavy 12mm stainless steel hexagon cooking rods – this is a key yet overlooked feature that no one online is talking about. The grates on the Blaze 3 Pro are vastly different than not only it’s little brother Blaze line but also from most professional series premium grills as well. Instead of using a rounded tubular shape, the Blaze 3 Pro uses a hexagonal shape which due it being somewhat flat allows for more cooking space and (key point for you vegetable lovers) you won’t lose your asparagus through the grates!


The hexagonal shaped grates on the Blaze Pro series

#3 – Flame stabilizing grids minimize flare-ups while adding a grilled flavor – translation…a flareup can either be a potent weapon in the arsenal of a griller, adding a nice layer of flavor as juices spring back to the grill surface in the shape of smoke…but a sustained flareup will destroy what you’re making. The Blaze flame tamers have done a credible job in tamping down sustained flareups, instead focusing on a “flame kiss” which will impart that sought after flavor.

#4 – The sear burner is an option – This is an important point, yet overlooked. All pro level grills that have a sear burner literally stick you with it. They cannot be removed and since they are stationary they take up a significant amount of grill space (33% on a 36″ or 42″ grill). So Blaze has decided to give you the option of using an infrared sear burner YET you can remove it when not needed, returning the grill back to 3 H-burners. Infrared sear burners are typically very hot and not variable in temperature thus in my opinion they are a one trick pony. Being able to install or remove it at your desire is a huge bonus for this grill.

If you are shopping for a Blaze 3 Pro grill, come visit us at the Curto’s showroom where it is always on display. And remember we ship Blaze nationwide!

Blaze 3 Pro Grill

Blaze 3 Pro Grill

Blaze 3 Pro grill

Blaze 3 Pro Grill with lid open

5 Reasons Why the Alfresco Grill Solid Fuel Insert Kicks A@&

Written by Appliance Dude | August 3rd, 2017

The other day I hosted a customer who had seen my videos and wanted to take the Alfresco 42 ALXE-42SZ for a spin. He was intrigued by the power that the grill generated through the 28.5K btu burners and was focused on the Alfresco Hellfire sear zone. If you have not read or seen my other blog postings / videos, the Alfresco sear zone may be the hottest of all the premium gas grills, reaching an infernal temperature of 1800F. Do you really need to sear a steak at a temperature that you could probably forge steel at? No, but it certainly is cool talking about that number : )

What he did not realize was that the Alfresco solid fuel insert, which is the drop-in accessory that allows you to cook with wood or charcoal, is the BEST way to sear your food on an Alfresco grill. He brought a well-marbled 2.5″ thick ribeye to my house, rubbed it with kosher salt and pepper and we ran a test where one side was seared on the Hellfire sear zone and the other side was cooked on the solid fuel insert. Results – the solid fuel insert did a better job as we developed more of a bark on the side of beef and it imparted a tasty, woodsy flavor profile that was multi-dimensional. Picture biting into a piece and the first sensation is a little bit of char and grit that suddenly hits you with some wood / smoke and then suddenly you get the sanguine lusciousness of the medium rare interior. It was off the charts!

So the Alfresco solid fuel insert is an ABSOLUTE must have accessory with any Alfresco grill as it will fit every size. Here are my top 5 reasons why you need it:

1 – It sears better than the infrared sear zone

2 – Food tastes better when you cook over a live fire!

3 – It does more than sear – customers have taught me how to do 2-zone cooking with it where you bank your coals in the front or back. This will leave enough room to sear two large steaks and have a sufficient area in the front for a different temp zone

4 – It’s portable – if you don’t want to use it, pull it out. You can’t do that with a sear zone burner that is taking up 33% of the grill surface

5 – It’s easy clean – just take a shop vac to the solid fuel insert and you’re done. Or, lift the solid fuel box out of the grill, dump put the ash, and you’re good to go.

BONUS – if you cook with lump charcoal you can reuse your coal for your next cook, so you prolong the life of your fuel and save $$.

Alfresco SFI-POD

Ribeye steak on the Alfresco solid fuel insert SFI-POD

Jenn-Air Appliance Package for $5k!

Written by Appliance Dude | July 28th, 2017

Jenn-Air Appliance Package Makes the Dollar S-T-R-E-T-C-H

You are shopping for a 4-piece appliance package for your home.
36″ counter depth fridge
30″ slide in gas range
24″ dishwasher
24″ over the range micro

Where do you go with this?
Bosch? GE cafe? KitchenAid? LG?

Let’s add a Jenn-Air appliance package to the list.

Most people look at me sideways when I mention Jenn-Air for this type of package because they assume that we are going to be sniffing a package price pushing $10,000.
You can certainly do that with Jenn-Air if we focus on their pro product, but there is a way to work their line of kitchen appliances plus their incredible rebate program to significantly reign in the costs.

69″ Counter-Depth, French Door Refrigerator with Internal Dispenser

30″ Gas Range

24″ TriFecta™ Dishwasher, 46 dBA

30″ Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

Subtotal: $6,896
Savings: – $1,300
Total: $5,596

And your savings aren’t finished yet. Jenn-Air is also offering an installation rebate ranging from $200-$1000 depending on how many appliances you purchase. the above builder package activates a $300-$400 rebate. So now you have taken the total package price down to around $5000. That is simply unheard of when you are considering the quality of the appliances, the better warranty (2 years) as well as the Jenn-Air concierge service they offer for handling service issues. More on that feature in another post…

Jenn-Air appliance package

Recent Jenn-Air kitchen we worked on in Greenwich CT