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Archive for the ‘Outdoor Grills’ Category

Why Grill Hood Temperature Gauges are Useless

Written by Appliance Dude | March 31st, 2015

Last year a gentleman purchased a DCS grill from us but he was really concerned about the fact that it did not have a temperature gauge on the outside of the hood. He likened it to flying a plane or sailing a boat in fog with no navigation system. Really?
Every other premium grill manufacturer – Viking, Wolf/Twin Eagle, Alfresco, Lynx, Kalamazoo – uses a temperature gauge. So I’ll have to admit I had to question DCS’ decision not to use one.

Then I decided to dig a little further. After purchasing an infra-red temperature gun and playing around with my Wolf OG-36 grill, the answer became crystal clear – hood temperature gauges are USELESS, unless you want to know the temperature at the top of your grill.

The temperature that is critical to grillers is the surface temp of the grates. The grates are what the food is in contact with, not the top of the hood.

As you can see by these pics I took this weekend there is a huge disparity in the temperature that is read on the external gauge on the hood, and what is actually going on at grate-level.

Here’s the temp of the grill as reported by the temp gauge on the hood.
Wolf OG36 Temperature

After opening the hood and taking a read of the temp at the top of inside, you can see the temp is nearly identical (50 degrees off) to what the outside gauge read.
Wolf OG36 Grill Infrared Temp - Curto's

Now look what happens when I get a read from the grates themselves.
300 degree temp increase!
Wolf OG36 Grill Infrared Temp - Curto's

Moral of the story – the hood gauge is only going to give you the ambient temp of the grill at the hood level. This may be useful if you are using a rotisserie but for any application where you are grilling on the grates you might as well chuck those readings in your garbage pail. You want grate-level temperature!

Alfresco Grill – Pizza Oven – 2015 Review Intro

Written by Appliance Dude | March 10th, 2015

The Appliance Dude Starts His Review of Alfresco Grills and Pizza Ovens

Alfresco Pizza Oven Plus - Westhester County

We’ve finally hit 50 degrees here in NY for a few days running…the snow is melting, daylight savings has kicked in, the crocus are starting to peek through the soil…all I need to do is catch my first sight of a Robin and I’ll be fully afflicted with Spring Fever!

And with the onset of Spring we welcome outdoor grill season here at Curto’s (which has actually become a year-round thing for us). We’re starting to get phone calls about Weber’s, DCS, etc…

From a product standpoint what I am most excited about this season is our commitment to the Alfresco outdoor culinary system line. Huh? Let’s avoid the marketing gobbledy gook and call it as it is – Alfresco makes absolutely kick-ass outdoor grills and their gas-fired pizza oven has received rave reviews from customers.

I wasn’t sold on Alfresco for the last few seasons as they were being distributed by Viking, who, aside from having their own set of internal issues, couldn’t seem to decide whether to promote Alfresco or their own lineup of Viking outdoor product. So the end result was that we sold a bunch of DCS grills!

However Alfresco is now being distributed by the pros at Almo Premium Appliances and they took the time to sit down with the Appliance Dude and some of my grill dudes and walk us through why this grill system is simply better than the competition. And you know what? I buy it..so much so that I’m sending a 42″ over to my parent’s for this summer, which is the site of most of my family’s grilling shindigs.

I’ll spend some time in a future post talking details about the Alfresco grill and Pizza Plus oven system. For now, feast your eyes on some desperately needed photos that us folks in the Northeast can savor as we wait to ignite our grills for the first time. The snow is melting folks, the time is nigh!

Alfresco 42" Grill - Outdoor Kitchen Westchester County

Alfresco Grill Herb Smoker

Shop for Alfresco Grills and the Pizza Oven Plus at Curtos.com

First Pics of New Alfresco Grills

Written by Appliance Dude | March 3rd, 2015

IMHO Alfresco makes the best outdoor grill. Yes, even better than that one that costs 15K and starts with the letter “K”.
I didn’t always hold this opinion and I will reveal how I changed my mind about it in an upcoming video post.
For now, let us start the feast of outdoor grills (yes denizens of the Northeast, believe it or not the grilling season is approaching!) with a shot of the new Alfresco grill with its oh so sexy stainless knobs.

New Alfresco 42" grill showing stainless knobs. Available at Curto's

New Alfresco 42″ grill showing stainless knobs. Available at Curto’s

Review: My Wolf OG36 Grill Handles a Rib Eye and Skirt Steak

Written by Appliance Dude | September 18th, 2014

Where the Appliance Dude Reviews his Wolf OG36 Grill and how it handles two potentially problematic cuts of beef

Customers who are shopping for a high-end outdoor grill will ultimately ask me which one I own.
Answer: Wolf OG36.
Then I’m asked whether I like it.
Well………..

The grill (at least the one I own) has a dual personality. On one hand it’s an extremely well-built savage (manufactured by the lovely and talented uber gas engineer Dante Cantal) that when handled the right way will do the job and then some – produces a great sear on the sear station side, uses thick-ass stainless grates, etc. Build quality is not an issue.

However from a performance standpoint I have issues. Main problem is that of sustained flareups which happen way too often for a grill at this price point. If you are grilling food with a marinade or with heavy fat content…what did the Human Torch used to say???…FLAME ON!
I’ve converted numerous hamburgers into hockey pucks and ruined other meals due to my inability to handle the grills and it’s flamethrowing ways.

og36rain

That said…
This past weekend the dichotomy of this grill reared it’s head in full force and prompted me to write this post.
I bought a rib eye and skirt steak at DeCicco’s in Pelham (very nice butcher, great quality, decent prices).
Nikki marinated the skirt steak in:
olive oil
chives
garlic
salt
pepper

The rib eye was my piece so I proceeded to lather it in Jake’s Beef Rub which is a coffee-based rub that has completely set itself apart from all other rubs tha I’ve used (Montreal rub? Cmon man!)

Rib Eye from Decicco's in Pelham. Great marbling in this piece.

Rib Eye from Decicco’s in Pelham. Great marbling in this piece.

As you may or may not know, the rib eye is one of the fattier cuts of beef so I went into this grilling session knowing I needed to be really attentive at the grill or I was facing the potential of Mt Vesuvius awakening in my backyard. I was on complete flare up alert and was poised to deal with it. As for the skirt steak I needed to be cautious as well b/c if that cut is overcooked in the slightest it will taste and chew like a bicycle tire.

Results: Skirt Steak
Skirt steak behaved rather nicely. 4 mins on each side to cook it to medium as Nikki prefers her steak. Yes, I had some infernal moments when I first placed the skirt steak on the grill but after shifting the steak to another spot it calmed down and I didn’t experience any other flares.
Nikki told me it was the best skirt steak she has ever tasted and we have eaten at some fantastic restaurants in/around the NYC metro area where they do skirts steaks fine. Major props to the Appliance Dude and my boy Jamie Purviance for precise instructions on how to grill a skirt steak.

Results: RibEye
This is where it got interesting. Check out the video. Shit got hot. Flames were abounding. The fat was flaring up and no matter where I moved that rib eye, flames would follow. I closed the lid to try and extinguish the flames and then when I smoke pouring out of the back of the grill hood I quickly threw it open and was greeted with this:

Whether it was the rain or divine intervention from Jamie Purviance and Steve Raichlen (who desperately needs a haircut. Steve, the disco hippie thing is not working for you) , I took that rib eye off the direct heat side grill at the 8 min mark, moved it over to non-direct heat source so as to cook the inside a bit more, then…came out with one of the best steaks I have tasted.
Look at the results – fantastic caramelization/crusting on top. Remember, searing is not about locking in juices (right Raichlen!?)
That crust has so many flavor compounds built into it from the rub and searing process…I’m salivating just thinking about it.

Can you say caramelization?

Can you say caramelization?

Bang. Perect. Look at that crust juxtaposed by the juicy pink interior.

Bang. Perect. Look at that crust juxtaposed by the juicy pink interior.

I was very happy with my performance and I gave the Wolf OG36 a nod and a wink for being a partner in the process.
Yes it’s been a love/hate relationship but it played a role in these steaks coming out so good and for that I’m going to be a little compassionate and will give it some more time before I bring another pro grill in for demos.

Next up…brisket???!!!!

How to Grill Steak on a Wolf OG36 Grill

Written by Appliance Dude | September 4th, 2014

Who says summer is over?

Decided to grill a strip steak on my Wolf OG36 grill and document the results for your viewing pleasure.

First step: went to visit the moody butcher “Mini” in Bronxville who gets an “F” for personality but an “A” in quality meats.
What looked good today…skirt steaks in a teriyaki marinade, lamb kebobs, rack of lamb, chicken/parsely/cheese burgers, pork chops..a vegetarian’s nightmare!

Instead of defaulting to the standard skirt steak (which in his marinade turns my Wolf OG36 grill into a flamethrower) I purchased an absolutely succulent looking strip steak which was marinated in olive oil and pepper.

Strip Steak from Mini's in Bronxville, lightly coated with coffee steak rub, salt and pepper.

Strip Steak from Mini’s in Bronxville, lightly coated with coffee steak rub, salt and pepper.

Another view of the strip steak showing it's beautiful fat profile.

Another view of the strip steak showing it’s beautiful fat profile.

Took it home, shook a little coffee rub onto both sides and then took it over to the Wolf OG36 which has already been preheating for 10 mins. Actually, to that point let me reveal my standard grill prep which I use every time and was taught to me by the zen grill masters Steve Reichlen and Jamie Purviance:

NB – grates have already been scraped clean from prior usage

1- grill turned on to HIGH – let it ride for 10-15 mins until you hit 600 degrees or so

2 – when grill is at temp paint grates with canola oil (do NOT use olive oil which has a lower burn threshold)

3 – place meat on grill

4 – Sear meat on DIRECT HIGH HEAT for 2 mins, moving clockwise halfway through to create cross hatch marks. Flip and repeat. Note these were at least 1.5″ steaks so I used a slightly longer cooking time.

5 – Move steak to INDIRECT HEAT side (I had this side set to LO) and let the steak cook for another 3-4 mins on each side before removing for MEDIUM RARE.

My goal was to create a substantial crust b/c there is nothing like the contrast of a caramelized outer crust and a subcutaneous tender, juicy middle.
So I used the dry coffee rub on both sides and went about searing.
Some experts will tell you to mist the steaks with vegetable oil spray which helps the rub cling better. Whatever.

When I took the steak off the grill and I let it sit for about 7 mins which allows the muscle fibers to relax (heat makes them contract) and this will actually draw juice that may been expelled back in.

End result – a damn good steak, and I’m happy to report that the
Wolf OG36 didn’t turn into a flamethrower due to flare-ups which has afflicted this grill since I’ve owned it. CHeck out the vid, there’s only a slight spark of fire (which usually turns into an inferno) which quickly subsides.

Cross hatch marks on the strip steak after a second turn

Cross hatch marks on the strip steak after a second turn

May have been the lighting but the steak was a bit pinker than this picture shows. I love the juxtaposition of the caramelized exterior (what a taste) and the juice interior.

May have been the lighting but the steak was a bit pinker than this picture shows. I love the juxtaposition of the caramelized exterior (what a taste) and the juicy interior.

DCS Outdoor Grill 36″ – Mini Review and Images

Written by Appliance Dude | September 3rd, 2014

What can I say?
Two years straight and DCS outdoor grills have beaten the pants off of all of the other high-end grill brands here at Curto’s. Actually it even outsold Weber this year.

This customer in Scarsdale NY was kind enough to share some pictures of her completed outdoor kitchen. Real simple and effective in design. She was a very, very educated consumer (actually popped in on Opening Day at the new showroom back in May) and came loaded with a bunch of questions as well as insights she had developed after performing a tremendous amount of research on outdoor grills.

She was set on DCS. No ifs, ands or buts about it. And I think her tale is one that those who are shopping for better grills can learn from. Her feeling was that when you added everything up – price, performance, reputation, service history, construct…she didn’t see how anything could surpass DCS at this point. I agree.
We compared welding, seams, the way the hoods opened and closed as well as the hood weight (which was important to her as a female). And as a native southerner with a penchant for outdoor cooking especially with tangy marinades and such, the DCS grease management system was a no-brainer in order to minimize flare-ups.

I did start to receive some chatter about Lynx Sedona in the latter portion of the grill season (I did not display it this year, instead opting for the Lynx Professional series) and I think Sedona certainly has merit especially as a lower priced alternative to the premium grill market, but it is not an apples to apples comparison to the DCS grill (the Lynx Professional would be the proper analog to the DCS grill).

Enjoy the pics and I’ll be back with more thoughts on the DCS BGB36BQar grill as well as it’s 48″ brethren.

dcs_bgb36_2

DCS grill

DCS 36″ Outdoor grill in Scarsdale NY

Alfresco 42″ Grill for Sale – Outdoor Kitchen Fire Sale!

Written by Appliance Dude | July 5th, 2014

Anyone interested in a 42″ built-in Alfresco grill set up for Natural gas?

This grill normally sells for $5299.

I’m going to lose this one for much, much less.

Also have an Alfresco 28″ outdoor fridge and 36″ double access doors to outfit your outdoor kitchen

Alfresco 42″ Grill – Steal this from us!

Call or email soon folks, this won’t last. Alfresco may make the best grill in the business.

Lynx Grill Review – Sedona vs. Professional

Written by Appliance Dude | June 8th, 2014

For years Lynx has been considered the Sub-Zero of grills.
High-end.
High quality.
High price points.
While other companies have tried to break down the door and knock Lynx off their perch (Wolf) or have tried to regroup to reclaim dominance they once wielded in the outdoor kitchen / pro grill space (Viking), Lynx continuer to motor on, defending their championship belt at every turn.

In 2013 Lynx decided it was time to open the line to more price conscious wallets, a strategy Mercedes employed when they created the 190E in the late 80’s and more recently the C-class. Strategically it makes sense – let more folks drink from the Lynx cup of love, get them into the brand and you very well may have a customer for life. So with that in mind, the Lynx Sedona line was born. (more…)