The Kamado Joe grill, when guided by deft hands, can really make a ribeye steak taste damn nice. Carnivores, be prepared!
The eagle of premium gas grills has landed as we just received a shipment of Alfresco’s new ALXE grills. Better/prettier control panel, lighter hood, nicer lighting scheme and the ability to use wood and charcoal as well as gas completely sets this grill apart from the competition.
Considering that DCS bbq grills really hadn’t changed in 15 years, from time to time I would ask my DCS rep when/if DCS was planning on updating their vaunted outdoor grills.
“Why bother with perfection?” was the answer every time.
Well I guess someone at DCS decided to improve upon perfection b/c things have changed in 2015! And they’re not minor tweaks!
Here’s a breakdown of the major changes you’ll see in the new DCS grills:
1- they’ve removed warning text from the front left side of the manifold and placed it in the drip tray (DCS reason: cleaner look, Appliance Dude’s take: they didn’t want letters rubbing off and fading from the front.
2 – Old burner ignition has been removed, burners are now ignited with a a push and turn of the knobs. DCS reason: we are the only company who does this, makes it similar to an indoor range. Appliance Dude take: Great idea, but Twin Eagle offers this on the Wolf outdoor grill.
3 -Knobs changed – new knobs are recessed into the bezel(looks much nicer), new knob has stainless look, new bezel is larger.
4 – Two new (major accessories) – a Hybrid infrared burner which sports rounder, different grates than the rest of the grill and will get hot as Hades. There is also a new griddle accessory which will slip in on the right side after you remove the grates. More on the hybrid burner below.
5 – The smoker tray now has a cover with holes to slowly release smoke and prevent chips from burning too fast. It’s also welded close so you can add liquid to the tray.
6 – DCS has also added a reflector shield to the firebox which will sit under the burner and reflect wasted heat back up to the grilling surface
My .02 on the more important changes…
One of the reasons DCS has been a favorite grill of mine is that it didn’t need to offer you a dedicated sear zone. As I’ve always stated, DCS takes the Spinal Tap practice of turning their amps up to “11” – in DCS’ case you would turn the knob past “High” and onto the “SEAR” setting and you would be searing your filet mignon or tuna in no-time. But DCS has listened to the public, who, in DCS’ estimation, is begging for a sear area.
As they told me, since every other grill manufacturer has a dedicated, built-in sear option, consumers have felt that it’s mandatory to offer this feature. So DCS followed suit.
The smoker tray is a good idea and what’s even better is that it’s been taken off the top of the grill (which is where Lynx places their tray). Tucking it inside (like Alfresco) frees up room on top of the grill and creates an environment more conducive to smoking.
I haven’t formed an opinion yet on the implementation of the reflector shield. Did DCS feel as if their firebox wasn’t generating enough heat?
There’s only one way to find out and that will be via first hand testing with the infrared gun. I anticipate the delivery of my DCS BGC36 in the next few weeks so I will post the results shortly thereafter.
I really don’t think the DCS grills needed an overhaul, but I certainly didn’t agree with the opinion that it didn’t need to change over 15 years because it was “perfect”. Far from it. Surjit Kalsi created the DCS grill and when he sold the company and eventually formed Capital Range Co, he felt that he took the design of the DCS grill and improved upon it with Capital grill (too bad there’s no distribution in the NY metro area!).
DCS has always offered the best grease management system, the ability to turn the entire grill top into a sear zone with the twist of knob, a durable rotisserie and great accessories that form a complete outdoor kitchen at a better price than Lynx, Alfresco and Viking. But it wasn’t without flaws. These changes have improved DCS’ game and it will be interesting to see how it performs against it’s other high-end competition b/c the manufacturer has also raised the prices quite a bit.
As I always say, I can predict winners or losers in the appliance game but there’s one authority with the real call – let the consumer dictate if this is a winner!
Review of the DCS BGC36bq-ar-n 36″ Grill
The new DCS BGC36bq-ar-n is a volcanic grill.
If heat is what you want, then roll with this grill. The addition of
heat shields to the firebox reflect all heat back up to the grates to create an infernal temp that would make Godzilla smile. However you may find yourself in need of a good pair of grill mitts. I went with the Steve Raichlen models which are touted on America’s Test Kitchen.
I knew the ribs I made on the 4th of July were really good due to my family’s reaction to them at dinner time, but after I took a look at Amazinribs.com picture of the “perfect” baby back rib, I realized I came damn close to nailing it! This was a special cook b/c I finally decided to break out of my conservative shell of cooking burgers and chicken breasts and decide to tackle the iconic babyback rib. I incorporated rubs, a mop sauce, a rib rack and
used Kamado Joe Hickory wood chunks to create a flavor bomb.
I was guided by Steve Raichlen’s “First Timer Ribs” recipe which calls for cooking the ribs at a hotter temp (350 degrees as opposed to 225) which results in a shorter cooking time (1.5 hrs). I used a 4×4 rub combination again via Mr. Raichlen
– onion powder
– sea salt
I also used a Raichlen recipe for a mop sauce which I applied several times throughout the cook to keep ribs moist. This consisted of: bourbon, low sodium soy sauce, salted butter and apple cider.
Result – incredible juicy ribs surrounded by a tasty, aromatic bark.
Family loved them! Enjoy the pics and remember to call or visit us at Curto’s for all your kamado needs.
I never realized that loading a dishwasher could be the source of such angst in the American home. Thank goodness I own an ASKO dishwasher which has the largest loading capacity in their XXL tall tub models.
Check out the video from WSJ.com and ask yourself whether you are a protector, an organizer or a curator?!
Four weeks after I received my Kamodo Joe Grill I continue to grill (and drink ice cold beer) at a pace that would make any Texan pitmaster proud…and I am happy to say I am doing a helluva job (go ask my wife).
I was anticipating a steep learning curve with multiple ruined dishes but that hasn’t been the case. So far I’ve only scorched a beef shish kebob, a pork chop and a few hamburgers. To make your grilling lives easier I will post my mistakes and victories here, and to start you off check out this guide that Kamado Joe supplied me with. It’s a great one-sheet on best practices to get the most out of your Joe. My comments where warranted follow in italics.
Kamado Joe Charcoal & Air Flow Tips
1 – Build a mound that starts just below the holes in the side of the firebox with the peak of the mound poking just below top of the fire ring
2 – Build mound with large chunks at the bottom and smaller ones as you build up I’ve learned that if you just dump the charcoal in without arranging it like a mini mountain, smaller pieces can block the air holes which will prevent you from reaching grilling and searing temperatures
3 – Charcoal can be re-lit 2-3 times for multiple cooks. Use the ash tool to stir the used charcoal so the ashes fall through the fire grate. Add 1/3 new charcoal to existing and build a new mound. A full firebox of fresh charcoal is recommended for smoking and searing temps.
Kamodo Joe Lighting Tips
1- Light the charcoal with a fire starter or two and open the bottom draft door and open the dome up I use 2 fire starters and it typically takes me about 10-15 minutes to get to temperature so it’s not that far removed from a gas grill in terms of waiting time for the right temp
2 – Wait 8-10 minutes for a small bed of embers to form
3 – Close the dome, open the top vent fully and adjust the air flow as needed as you near the target temperature
VERY IMPORTANT – NEVER USE LIGHTER FLUID – YOU MAY VOID THE WARRANTY
Controlling the Kamodo Joe Temperature
1 – Close the lid and fully open the top vent
2 – When you are 25 degrees from your target temp close the top down to about 1/4 open We call this coasting to your temperature
3 – Wait one minute and close or open the top vent to lower or increase the temperature. A 1/4″ move can alter the temperature by as much as 25 degrees
Achieving Low Temperatures on Your Kamado Joe Grill
1 – For low and slow temps like 225 degrees start with a very small fire in one area of the charcoal
2 – Close the lid and allow the temperature to come up slowly with the draft door open 2″ and the top vent open 1/2″ and the daisy wheel holes fully open
3 – This method should take 30-45 minutes to reach your target temp and it will ensure a long, slow, steady cooking period. key point – it’s easy to raise the temp but tough to lower it if you overshoot it
After cooking on a Kamado Joe grill for the past 2 weeks, I am ready to make and stand firmly behind the following statement:
This is the best damn grill I have ever used (and I have used some damn good grills).
I own a new DCS BGC36BQAR which is barely a month old and while it’s a fine grill, I have basically abandoned it for the Kamado Joe.
The food coming off the kamado simply tastes better and is moister than the results from the premium high end gas grills.
The combination of the lump hardwood charcoal which imparts a smoky flavor plus the incredible insulation provided by the ceramic walls of the kamado which retains flavor/moisture has lead this foodie to grilling nirvana.
Let’s just be 100% transparent – as a dealer I make much more profit selling stainless high-end grills than a Kamado Joe, but the results from the kamado are so superior that it is my duty as a bbq bodissatva to spread the truth. You must go kamado!
Here is a picture gallery from my first Kamado cook. In this one I grilled some pork chops, wild salmon and the piece de resistance was a prime ribeye from my guy Mini in Bronxville, NY which will be the focus of this photo gallery. Feast your eyes on the following and stay tuned for more kamado posts!
What sets DCS grills apart from the competition is their patented Grease Management System. The system features channeled grates which are sloped into a trough in the front of the grill. Grease is funneled from the food (and away from the burners) thus limiting the amount of sustained flare ups which are the bane of any griller.
This quick video clearly illustrates the DCS Grease Management system at work. I took an incredibly juicy Kobe beef burger which had flavorful juice seeping from it. My former grill would have lit up like the Bonfire of the Vanities as the juices would have had nowhere to go but on the burners. In this case, watch the DCS pull the grease away.