Using two cooking zones on Alfresco’s SFI-POD Steak, Senor Smoke attains near steak perfection
March 1 2017
Two years ago I sold an Alfresco grill to a cat we will call “Steve from Scarsdale”. This was a special sale. Why?
The sales cycle took over one year. Talk about a considered purchase.
Steve took his dear, sweet time to order b/c he had a ton of research to do. He has an engineering background so he was paying close attention to the grill’s design integrity and details such as thickness, soldering, and overall product construct.
His final decision – an Alfresco.
Steve also purchased a few accessories including the solid fuel insert. Am few months after delivery I dropped him a note to see how he was enjoying the grill.
We got to talking about the solid fuel insert and he mentioned that he was doing dual zone cooking on it. I didn’t understand how he was able to pull that off considering the insert is not immense. He told me that the key was to bank your lump charcoal in the back of the insert and then leave the entire front of the insert empty. He said that there would be ample space with a “split” grate so that the dual zone method would not inhibit you with limited real estate.
So I tested Steve’s idea with a very thick strip steak that I knew could use some indirect heat as well as an intense sear.
I banked my Kamado Joe lump charcoal in the back of the solid fuel insert and lit it with the Alfresco burner. After 7 minutes the charcoal was fully ignited and ready to go. The steak, which had been massaged with olive oil, Jacobsens sea salt and cracked pepper was placed at the front of the insert as I wanted to reverse-sear this – cooking at a lower temperature and then searing at the end of the cook.
As you can see by the below photos, I had a significant spread in temperature at the grill grate – I was seeing a 500 degree difference which I could not believe.
I let the thick steak sit on the front of the solid fuel insert for about 7 – 8 minutes total, turning every 3 mins to get the cross hatch marks.
After the 8 minutes were up I move the steak the back portion of the solid fuel insert and immediately noticed that the steak was undergoing a sear – audibly the sizzle started to pick up and the smoke and flame started to kick in as well. Things were hot back there!
After about 2-3 minutes per side I pulled the steak and let it temp under loosely tented foil for about 10 minutes. The result – incredibly delicious medium rare and quite a tasty bark on it from the sear.
DCS Grill Review – 5 Reasons to Buy a DCS Grill in 2017
What better way to pass through the eve as a nor’easter blasts through the Eastern seaboard than by discussing grills? Let’s get to it…
DCS Grill Key Features
Full Surface Searing
Improved Valves = Better Temp Control
Grease Management System
Rock Solid Construct
Hottest Gas Grill on Earth
The DCS Grill, first launched in 1989, is the grand-daddy of all premium gas grills. Yes, they predated Lynx, Viking, Twin Eagle, Alfresco…and for decades not much was changed on these grills (they did change the burners from an H-Shaped cast steel structure and eliminated an incredibly popular 27″ grill).
However with the premium gas grill becoming more and more crowded, and the sudden encroachment of more budget-oriented grills produced in Asia, DCS began to make some changes in 2015 and 2016. The end result was that the DCS has maintained its position as the Alpha male in the premium gas category, all while still coming in at a price point below most of the competition. Let’s look at 5 reasons to buy this grill:
1 – Full Surface Searing
DCS Grills Offer all-surface searing, an industry first.
2 – Improved Valves = Better Temperature Control
DCS Changed Their Valves to Produce Better Response at Lower Temperatures.
3 – Grease Management System
DCS Grills offer a grease management system to minimize flareups.
4 – Rock Solid Construct
DCS Grills are made of 304 stainless and their carts and door drawer compartments of some of the best built in the industry.
5 – Hottest Grill on the Planet
In the past I complained about the brutal fury that the DCS grill unleashed when it was taken up to High or Sear.
With the inclusion of the new valves, the sweep between Low and the highest setting is incredibly pronounced. Even between Medium and Low you will see an appreciable drop in temp and more importantly the lower, controlled temps can be maintained for extended periods of time. The precision control is a great story, but there are still folks who demand the full brunt of the seventh circle of hell coming off of their grill. Suffice to say Dante Caravaggio would have owned a DCS.
Interested in purchasing a DCS Grill? We match all Internet pricing and offer FREE Nationwide delivery. Purchase a DCS Appliances 36″ or 48″ Grill Head and any outdoor storage product to receive a free Built in Sideburner or Single Tower Drawer.Call the Curto’s showroom today and talk to a DCS grill expert…
The DCS BH136RN Grill Review – Hottest Gas Grill on the Planet?
After a nearly 2-year layoff I have reconnected with DCS (my former go-to gas grill) and had the pleasure of taking home a BH136RL the other night and proceeded to immediately kick the tires. It would be interesting to see how my view on this grill had changed since I last cooked on one. In that 2-year time period I had fallen for the Alfresco grill and all of the incredible versatility that it offers, and I had also expanded my grill arsenal to Kamado ceramic cookers as well as a variety of pellet grills from the likes of Traeger and Memphis. I had become smitten with smoking and cooking over live fire…so what would the return to a premium gas grill hold for me?
Happy to say that even with all of these other grills on the landscape, the DCS cut through the noise and delivered. Simply put – the DCS is one helluva beast and remains Hot as Hell!
DCS Grill Burners – Serious Heat
About a year and a half ago I produced a video where I discussed the infernal heat that the new DCS grills produced. The heat was so intense that I had to purchase Steve Raichlen grill gloves to insulate my hands and arms from the fire. See video below:
So a few things haven’t changed. First – the grill is still incredibly hot. I mean, infernally hot. That is something DCS has always prided themselves on their ability to turn the burners so high that there never was a need for an infrared sear burner. For many grill enthusiasts and weekend grill warriors this would be a positive. However, while it’s fun to talk about having the equivalent of a 612HP V10 engine under your grill, it would be rather inhibiting at medium and lower temperatures. The grill is actually so hot that just standing in front of it on a January evening in the Northeast where it was around 40 degrees felt a bit uncomfortable. Like I said, the grill has serious muscle.
However to DCS’ credit they did change one thing related to temperature that completely changes the game. The valves have been upgraded so they now provide a wider spread of temperature difference when turning the knob. In the past, Sear was infernal, High was borderline infernal, Medium was hot and Low was definitely not low. Now I saw an appreciable difference between the High and Low settings. I was able to grill shrimp in a basket at a relatively mild temperature on the right burner, all while searing a tuna steak at the grill’s most wicked temperature. That would not have been possible a few years ago with the way the grill was completely turbo-charged.
DCS Grill Build
Not much has changed on the DCS grill in terms of how it is constructed. The canopy still has some heft to it which speaks to its heavy-duty construction, and the grates are incredibly solid. The cart is one of the best built in the premium grill industry. The sliding door (which stores my propane tank) rolls out effortlessly and the two drawers on the left side are aligned properly (a big issue with grill carts) and also roll out with ease and are not wobbly.
Senor Smoke’s Take
If you are looking for a gas grill that is going to hold up for years, and you don’t want to spend at the apex of gas grills, then the DCS should be the call.
It delivers an solid build laden with design integrity, incredibly powerful burners that now have the ability to sweep downwards for lower heat, a great grease management system to minimize flareups and still comes in at a price point that should be lower than Lynx, Alfresco, Fire Magic and Twin Eagles.