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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!

Blaze3Pro_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!
1-800-966-2878

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 $$.

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
JFC2089BEM
$2,299

30″ Gas Range
JGS1450FS
$2,699

24″ TriFecta™ Dishwasher, 46 dBA
JDB9000CWS
$1,099

30″ Over-the-Range Microwave Oven
JMV8208CS
$799

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

Whirlpool Washer vs Maytag – WFW92HEFW

Written by Appliance Dude | June 30th, 2017

A Maytag washer holds the top position in the 2017 consumer reports ratings, but there is a Whirlpool washer which is right on its coattails.

Whirlpool washer vs Maytag…which direction should you go in?

If you are looking for a washer, or washer and dryer upgrade and you want front loaders, buy the Whirlpool WFW92HEFW washer and its accompanying dryer.

I am going to create a direct comparison between the Maytag mhw8200 and the Whirlpool wfw92hefw

Whirlpool WFW92HEFW

The Whirlpool WFW92HEFW and it’s dryer mate are being sold at extremely low prices this 4th of July

Maytag and Whirlpool Washer Similarities
Both are 4.5 cu ft.
Both are Energy Star Certified
Both spin at 1200 RPMS – this will shorten your dry times and help you save energy
Both have 1 year comprehensive warranties
Both have fan systems which pump fresh air into washer, thus minimizing mildew

Maytag and Whirlpool Washer Differences
Whirlpool has one more cycle, listed below:

Maytag
• Allergen
• Bedding
• Clean Washer With Affresh
• Cold Wash
• Delicates
• Drain & Spin
• Normal
• Overnight Wash & Dry (12hr)
• Powerwash®
• Sanitize
• Wrinkle Control

Whirlpool
• Normal
• Cold Wash
• Delicates
• Heavy Duty
• Clean Washer with affresh
• Drain & Spin
• Quick Wash
• Sanitize
• Whites
• Towels
• Color Last
• Wash & Dry

Whirlpool has 2 more temperature settings
Whirlpool allows for ADA height

The biggest advantage for the Whirlpool washer vs Maytag is that it is built with commercial components and it has a 10 year warranty on the motor. The Maytag also has the overnight wash setting but considering that the Whirlpool has their version of Maytag’s Fresh Hold fan system, the Whirlpool can probably handle an overnight load as well.

So with the products so close in their feature sets, and since they are owned by the same company, which should you choose?
With the current 4th of July promotion, the answer is clearly the Whirlpool WFW92HEFW. You can currently get the Whirlpool washer and dryer for $1499 (a steal!) plus you can also get a rebate if you purchase pedastels as well. The Maytah 8200’s are over $2000 as a pair…so with a price difference of over $500 the answer is clear…jump into the Whirlpool!

2017 Viking 5 Series Range Review

Written by Appliance Dude | June 29th, 2017

Review: Viking’s 5 Series Gas Range is Getting New Love

Does the Viking 5 series range now offer great value in the high end range market? Hell yes.

After Middleby purchased Viking Range in late 2012 (literally on New Year’s Eve) one of Middleby’s first moves was to start incorporating technologies and features from their commercial portfolio into the Viking residential line. The first move was realized a year later when Middleby debuted the Viking 7 Series gas range at the 2014 KBIS show, proudly showing off the equivalent of a Tesla for your kitchen. Replete with volcano burners, chrome griddles and high powered infrared broilers, the 7-series not only gave Viking a stove that could run with the BTU-blasting open burner ranges from Capital and BlueStar, it did something else – overshadow the venerable Viking 5 series range that has been Viking’s hallmark product for years. I recall speaking with a Viking executive around that time and there even seemed to be doubt whether the 5 series would even have a future with Viking betting so heavily on the souped up 7 and their intro 3 series.

Viking gas range - Curtos.com

Viking 5 Series Gas Range


2017 – Return of the Viking 5 Series Range

Somewhere along the line, someone at Viking decided to give the 5 series some love and start backing it again. That was one of the smartest decisions they’ve made in years.
The reason being that the Viking 7 Series, in all it’s searing, baking and broiling beauty is simply too expensive for many home cooks, particularly if you move to the dual fuel product with the electric oven and self clean feature. So with the thought of goosing sales of the 5 series, Viking considerably lowered the prices of the 5 series product early in 2017, with some products seeing drops of over $500+. This, combined with Viking’s new “10 after 10” promotion (when used in a Viking kitchen package) would drop the price of the 5 series lower than Wolf, its main USA-made high end range competitor. This was a dramatic turn bc prior to 2017, the Viking product was always more expensive than Wolf, Thermador and Monogram, as Middleby had implemented annual prices increases each year while some competitors (Thermador) hadn’t raised prices in several years.

Incredible Value of the Viking 5 Series Gas Range
Dare I say that a Viking range is actually a value play now? I think it is.
Their dual fuel 48″ range is now $1000 less than the comparable Wolf. Then with the 10 after 10, that creates even more of a price difference. The 30″ VGCC304BSS gas range is several hundred less than the Wolf GR304
And what’s not to love about the features?

The dual fuel 5 series gas ranges offer a glass infrared broiler, 2 sliding extension racks, 18,500 BTU burners and a porcelain cooking surface that contains spills. You also get a full 2-year in-home warranty. The gas range offers identical features save for a different broiler which is gas infrared.

For more information on the Viking 5 series ranges visit Curto’s in Westchester County or call us at 1-800-966-2878

Alfresco Grill Review: Gotta Love ‘Dem Flareups! – Curtos.com

Written by Appliance Dude | June 24th, 2017

Why the Alfresco ALXE Series of grills handles flareups better than anyone else

If you are shopping for a grill and the salesperson tries to sell you on said grill’s ability to completely negate flareups, then my advice is to walk your ass out of that store or off the phone PRONTO.

There is a silly misconception that flareups are the bane (not this Bane) of every backyard griller .
I wholeheartedly disagree. Especially if you are using a gas grill.

What is a flareup?

It’s fat, juice, marinade or some other cooking byproduct that is hitting a very hot surface on your grill. The result is smoke, or flame that rises, WITH FLAVOR, sending it back to the food. Since a gas grill does not impart any flavor to food (gas = colorless, odorless, tasteless), then the flare up or FLAVOR BOMB/FLAME KISS, is actually a positive thing.
The problem is when your grill is too hot, or filthy, and you can’t harness the inherent beauty of the flare up, and it becomes sustained, and ultimately burns the shit out of your food.
It’s like any other cooking fire, it delivers the goods (man,is there anything better than cooking over live fire?) but it needs to be harnessed or that beauty it delivers to our olfactory senses can go sideways real fast.

So what you need is the tool or toolkit to be able to handle this heat/fire and channel it for the good as you cook on your limited (taste-wise) gas grill. That’s why the Alfresco is the way to go – the ceramic briquette system it uses is off the charts good. Watch the video for the details, but if you want a vehicle that will allow you to cook at a high temp yet control the inevitable flareups, the Alfresco ALXE series delivers.

Alfresco 42 Grill Review

Written by Appliance Dude | June 4th, 2017

Why do I love Alfresco gas grills?
They are built like tanks.
They have 13 succinct reasons that make them the most versatile grill
and…they knock the s#* out of untamed flareups!

Over the years I have lost too many good pieces of meat to the insidious grip of untamed flareups. While I squarely blame myself for those issues, it didn’t help matters that the grills I was using using capitulated in the face of these meal-ruiners.
That was until I started grilling on an Alfresco ALXE 42 Grill

Because of Alfresco’s brilliantly designed ceramic briquette cooking system, my flareups have been transformed into “flame kisses” that aid in flavorizing my food, instead of turning it into a shade closer to obsidian and leaving it with the taste of a fireplace.

Which means…

Alfresco Grills Have the Best Flare Up Taming System!

Proof is in the pudding…

My wife gave me a few skirt steaks that had been sitting in an Asian marinade bath for a few hours. When they were brought to the white hot Alfresco 42 grill, they were undoubtedly fodder for a serious flare up outbreak.

As you can see from the images below, flames did start to erupt, BUT WERE SUPPRESSED IMMEDIATELY. Because of the close concentration of the briquettes (if you look at Alfresco’s ceramic grid vs the competition there are very few gaps that would allow flames to shoot through) the flames may get through, but they are smacked down after allowing for a brief flame kiss which is a flavor enhancer. More on that next…

Flare Ups are a Good Thing. No, Make that a GREAT Thing.


Flare ups are caused by drippings.
And drippings are what flavors our food.
The folks at GrillGrates feel that the drippings and their byproduct (flareups) are the most instrumental factor in giving your good it’s kick a$# taste. Yes, more important than the wood pellets, chunks, charcoal or (with a gas grill) the chips in a smoker box. We WANT flare ups, but we don’t want sustained flare ups. Instead we need to recontextualize them as “flame kisses” or “flavor bombs”.

BTW, no matter what cooking system you are using, if you don’t clean your grill gates and briquettes, you will be slowly creating a flare up factory.
I clean my Alfresco 42 Grill regularly and make sure to burn away any buildup on the briquettes.

If you have any Alfresco Grill questions please give us a holler and remember we ship Alfresco nationwide…for free! Call us at 1-800-966-2878 to order today!

Alfresco 42 Grill Review

Alfresco 42 Grill - Flareup Gone!

The Alfresco 42 Grill’s ceramic briquettes knock down the flareup.

2017 Alfresco Artisan Outdoor Kitchen Pictures – Westchester County NY

Written by Appliance Dude | June 2nd, 2017

Outdoor Kitchen Ideas

Q. How do you get an insanely great outdoor kitchen complete with kickass grill equipment…yet avoid spending boatloads of cash?

A. Do an Alfresco Artisan outdoor kitchen!

Artisan is a line of outdoor appliances by our friends at Alfresco. If you’ve followed my blog or watched any of my YouTube videos, you know that I’m a big Alfresco fan. Actually, I believe that is the best of the premium gas grills.

Artisan is what I call the “stealth Alfresco”.
For a fraction of the cost of an Alfresco, you are able to get:
– virtually the same cooking system
– the same open air plenum which cools the front of the grill, preserving it’s delicate wired innards
– the same silicone-sheathed wires and igniters which are heat resistant up to 600 degrees
– the same in-home warranty
– built and assembled ENTIRELY in the same plant in sunny California

The Artisan comes in 2 sizes for built ins – 32″ and 36″

It offers a rotisserie, optional infrared sear burner that can be installed/removed with the ease of a pin and lights on the knobs and one (very bright!) light in the hood canopy.

We recently finished an Artisan outdoor kitchen in Westchester County, pictures are listed below. In this kitchen we used:
36″ Artisan grill head – ARTP-36

30″ Artisan Access doors – ARTP-DD

Artisan Trash Chute – ARTP-TC

Marvel Outdoor 24″ Fridge

Alfresco Artisan Outdoor Kitchen in Westchester County NY

Alfresco Artisan 36″ Grill Heard – ARTP-36 with 30″ access doors

Artisan ARTP36 Grill head with 30″ access doors.

Cast iron skillet in pizza oven

Marvel Outdoor Refrigerator

Alfresco Artisan Outdoor Kitchen with front view of pizza oven

Side view of pizza oven in Alfessco Artisan outdoor kitchen in Westchester County

Alfresco Artisan Outdoor Kitchen