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Review: Hestan 36 Grill – Curtos.com

Written by Appliance Dude | April 20th, 2017

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a….Hestan grill.
Built like an amphibious assault ship, the Hestan grill is the newest entry in the premium gas grill category.
It’s heavy, both in weight and looks, and feature-laden to say the least.
Watch the Señor Smoke video below and visit us to see in person or order one on phone or online.

We Ship Hestan Grills Nationwide. Call Us at 1-800-966-2878

Review: Traeger Timberline 850 vs. Tri Tip Steak – Curtos.com

Written by Appliance Dude | April 20th, 2017

5/4/17 – Update – Watch me “Double-Fist” with a Traeger Timberline 850 and Alfresco ALXE42 grill as I smoke n’ sear a steak to perfection!

After writing my initial review of the Traeger Timberline a few weeks ago, I have more tests to report on and the story hasn’t changed. This grill kicks shit and eats snakes.

My Traeger Timberline 850 has quickly eclipsed my other 6 grills, becoming my go-to piece for both grilling and smoking.
Yes, you read that correctly, I AM grilling on this new Traeger. The days of using the Traeger solely for smoke cooks is over, as the Timberline has manned
up with more muscle under the hood to provide consistent, hot temps that will provide a nice char.

For one of my first tests for the Timberline 850, I bought a tri tip steak from Vincent’s on Arthur Ave in the Bronx

I decided to use the reverse sear method to cook the tri tip. This technique usually guarantees me edge to edge pink which is what I am aiming for. I prepped the steak with extra virgin olive oil and a dusting of Jake’s Grillin beef rub.

With the hopper full of cherry pellets, I set the Timberline at 250F and kicked back with a Heady Topper. Within minutes, the Timberline was hovering around my temp and releasing a light smoke perfume from the back of the grill…intoxicating!

I waited about 12 mins all told ( I wanted the grate to warm up as much as possible) and then I laid the tri tip on the lower grate. I smoked it for about about 45 mins and when the temp reached around 110F, I pulled it. I already had a bed made for it where it rested for about 10 mins while I cranked up the heat on the Timberline. As it started to climb, I happily noted that the Timberline did not make a tremendous amount of noise while it fed the hopper (some of these pellet gills sound they are playing Flight of the Valkyrie when attempting to climb in temp.

After we had pulled north of 450 on the digital temp gauge and the Thermoworks pen (crucial piece of equipment!) I placed the tri tip back inside the Timberline, stuck in the meat probe, and loaded it back on for 10 mins. I was very sensitive to over-cooking and that made it all the better when the tri tip was sliced by my Victorinox knife. The sanguine, lush interior was juxtaposed by a charred, almost-crunchy exterior. The sear was legit, and made all the better by a nice dash of cherry smoke which took the flavor to another level.

Here are pics of the cook. Much more to come with the Timberline 850!

Buy Your Traeger Timberline 850 at Curto’s – Free Shipping

Getting Ready to Sear

Buy your Traeger Timberline at Curto’s!
http://www.curtos.com/en/catalog/product/418704-Traeger-TFB85WLB

Traeger TImberline 850 – Reverse-sear Tri-Tip

Tri-Tip!

Review: Traeger Timberline 850 Grill – Yes, It Can Sear!

Written by Appliance Dude | March 30th, 2017

5/4/17 – Update – Watch me “Double-Fist” with a Traeger Timberline 850 and Alfresco ALXE42 grill as I smoke n’ sear a steak to perfection!

PLEASE NOTE – Timberline launch event changed to Sunday April 2 from 12-4. However, we will have the 850 grill here on Saturday for viewing

4/20/17 – Check out my newest Traeger Timberline review where I reverse-seared a tri-tip steak with an 850!

Please join “Big Wave” Berg from Traeger and Senor Smoke from Curtos this Sunday, April 2, in the Curto’s “smoke lot” as we take the Timberline 850 out for its launch party. We’ll be beating on it from 12-4 EST. Please call in advance to RSVP. 1-800-966-2878 and get ready to pre-order this amazing grill!

1966 Central Park Ave
Yonkers NY 10710

The Traeger Timberline grill is now available for pre-order and considering the volume of calls coming in re: this mind-bending product, I thought it made sense to cobble together a review based on my experience with it.

The Timberline came across my radar screen about 9 mos ago. My Traeger rep (“Big Wave”), knew that I was preaching the gospel of the Memphis wood-fire grill (what a piece!) and would tell me, “Dude, I know you love that Memphis, but I may have something for you in a few months.”

What he was alluding to was the Timberline, and if I remember correctly, it was supposed to be released last Fall. Big Wave actually had a prototype he was cooking on and the initial reviews, apart from some balky wifi, were stellar. Fast forward to late 2016, and Big Wave informed me that the Timberline was definitely going to hit its new release date of March ’17, and he now had a demo model which had improved from the prototype. He was cooking consistently with his Timberline and raving about the results, boasting about his:

Out of this world ribs
Stellar pizza
Best ever Thanksgiving Turkey
Flawless Leg of Lamb
and more…

I kept hearing the same message – temperatures held great, plenty of room for the food with the increased headroom on the pit, nice tasteful smoke flavor which didn’t overpower food, and an appreciable uptick in construction / design integrity compared to the Pro series. It became apparent that I needed to get in front of this grill myself and take this for a spin.


To Sear or Not to Sear

I did not doubt the Timberline’s ability to deliver the goods when it came to smoking. There are competitive BBQ teams that use Traeger pits, plus we’ve seen first hand what the results are when you smoke on a Pro series model. However I did have my doubts on whether it was going to be able to sear appropriately, particularly b/c it did not have a direct flame area like the Memphis and the Yoder pellet grills. So I issued Big Wave a challenge – bring the pit up to Yonkers and let’s give it a go, focusing on the sear.

He brought the grill up on cold day in February (ah. another nice challenge. could it maintain temp in the cold?) and to say I was impressed by the fit and finish would be an understatement. The grill hood and some heft without being a kettlebell, and as I opened and closed it I did not detect any wobble (which I still see in some of the better gas grill hoods). The casters were an improvement over the ones on the Pro series and I liked the increased headroom in the pill-shaped body which is providing an additional 5″ of grill space. Then there was the lid gasket and the double-walled stainless. As I’ve waxed poetic about the Memphis grill for several years, I’m always asked how the stainless Memphis can provide the moisture retention akin to a ceramic kamado grill. Answer is simple – the gasket (similar to a kitchen oven) provides a tight seal, and the double-walled stainless makes a strong barrier so smoke and heat have to stay where they belong…around your food.

Big Wave and set the grate at its lowest level (for searing) and after about 10-15 mins, the Timberline was hovering around 400, give or take a few degrees. The steaks were rubbed up with Jacobsens salt, olive oil and pepper and on to the Timberline they went. I kept them on for a total of about 8 mins as they were not monster size in thickness, probably about 1″ (too thin, but what can I say, I didn’t buy them). We did 4 mins per side with a 45 deg turn every two mins for our cross hatch marks. Steak registered 130 on the probe so we had nailed our medium rare. Taste was very nice, with a nice hint of the Mesquite (our pellet choice). Did not have very large or deep sear marks, but the steak was caramelized with a slight bark on it…and juicy as can be.

Does the WiFire Work?
This is the area that is going to need some work, at least from what I saw that day.
While we were able to get the Wifi synced to Big Wave’s app pretty easily, the connection to monitor the cook was very spotty. There are external circumstances that could be involved – maybe the wifi signal was not robust outside – but if my experience with the Memphis wifi app (which over 1 year after release is still giving some of my customers headaches) is to be lesson, then the WiFire app is going to need some kinks worked out. While it would be a nice convenience to monitor the cook remotely, it’s not a deal breaker for me and most of my customers who are looking for grills are not putting wifi monitoring at the top of their wish list bc they know there is a good chance it’s going to be spotty.
I’d let the kinks (which will undoubtedly arise, it’s technology folks!) and then just roll with it until it is a stable platform.

Wood vs Gas…Let the Revolution Begin
We’ll be doing more testing on Saturday at our launch event but between Big Wave’s plethora of cooks dating back to last summer and our cook in February, I can tell this grill is going to be a home run. Considering that you now have the ability to properly sear (which you will def get if you use a cast iron skillet in the Timberline, another test that will need to be done) I will really try to steer grill shoppers to this category now and away from many of the gas grills that inhabit its price point. The argument that a gas grill works bc of the convenience is well taken, but what can be easier than a pellet grill? It maintains nearly exact temps and can now be monitored remotely via the WiFire app. And oh, it actually imparts flavor to your food and takes you back to the start of our species when cooking with fire was the norm.
So come visit us this Saturday to see it in person, or call us with a pre-order…the demand is overwhelming and they simply don’t have enough grills made to meet that demand right now!

Gallery of Timberline Cooks



CAST IRON SKILLET NACHOS


THANKSGIVING SMOKED TURKEY



TRAEGER DEMO UNIT

BIG WAVE PIZZA

SMOKED ST. LOUIS RIBS

Traeger Timberline 850 1300 – Release Launch Event 4/2!

Written by Appliance Dude | March 26th, 2017

5/4/17 – Update – Watch me “Double-Fist” with a Traeger Timberline 850 and Alfresco ALXE42 grill as I smoke n’ sear a steak to perfection!

Visit Curto’s on Sunday April 2 from 12-4 as Senor Smoke and Traeger’s “Big Wave” Berg will be hosting a Timberline launch event from the Curto’s lot. We will have a Timberline 850 live and smoking for your viewing and testing pleasure. Please call us at 1-800-966-2878 or email jonathan@curtos.com to RSVP. Bring your questions and PLEASE get ready to place pre-orders as the Timberline is in limited quantity and distribution. Once we sell out of our allotment, that’s all folks!
Senor Smoke

Traeger Timberline Release April 1

After a long, LONG wait of one year+, the Traeger Timberline is (almost) here.
Within the next week Traeger will release their best grill ever, a Wifi-enabled, robustly-constructed beast that will smoke, grill and legitimately sear.

Curto’s will be one of the few retailers authorized to carry the Timberline series for Traeger. I am anticipating our first batch will be rolling in around March 30-April 1.

Never one to succumb to the hype, I did cook on one about one month ago. This was not a prototype model. No, no, no..it was actually a production model, one of the first to roll off the line after extensive multi-year testing. My early verdict was the grill is absolutely legit. While we did not do a long smoke due to time constraints, we did sear a steak. This was actually a more important test for me b/c the Traeger Pro series that costs $799 and $999 can smoke. So I never doubted that the Timberline could handle that. My question was whether it would be able to grill and sear at higher temperatures, and with better results than the Pro series which maxes out at around 400 degrees. We tested a ribeye (about 1.5″ thick) and some broccoli di rabe sausage and it handled both with smoke, grace and aplomb. Construction definitely shamed the Pro series. The wifi was…mixed. My rep had some difficulty running it off of his phone but eventually got it to work. Wifi capability really isn’t a pressing issue for me. I’ve seen the Memphis grill’s wifi ability hiccup for the better part of a year but that doesn’t detract from the complete studliness of the grill.

So, if you want to see the Timberline and want to take advantage of early season deals, please call or visit Curto’s this week!

check out the trailer:

Outdoor Icemakers: Why Perlick is the Best – Curtos.com

Written by Appliance Dude | March 8th, 2017

Outdoor icemakers are gaining in popularity and Perlick is perched at the top

Whenever I have a question on outdoor product, I call this guy who I call “the Encyclopedia”. I would be hard-pressed to think there is another human being who has more knowledge on outdoor product than him.

SO when I asked him who makes the best outdoor icemaker, the answer was immediate and decisive.

“Perlick. And I don’t even sell them”.

For a sales rep to say that a direct competitor was not only a better product, but the BEST product, that speaks volumes.

By nature, icemakers are troublesome creatures. They have a lot of moving parts. They are noisy. They are doing something that is incredibly taxing on a machine made by man. So with all of these things working against icemakers, my advice would be as follows:

Buy a Perlick. Because they are the best.

Perlick has one icemaker (make that two if you want to add the ADA compliant model) – the H50IMS

In 24 hours it creates up to 55 lbs.
It has storage capacity of 22 lbs.
The ice is clear, top hat. This is important because people take the shape of their ice seriously!
Perlick likes to call their top hat shaped ice the “perfect ice”. It prevents clumping, is tasteless and odorless and will maintain its shape longer than crescent ice, so your expensive ice won’t water dowm

The shape of your ice has something to say about its ability to hold form and not melt in your Hendricks and tonic. If it melts quickly, your cocktail takes on more water and then said drink is ruined.

We Now Carry Yoder Smokers – Curtos.com

Written by Appliance Dude | March 6th, 2017

So happy to announce that we are now carrying Yoder smokers.

We will be focusing on the YS480 and YS640 pellet smokers, but you can also order any Yoder “stick burner” pit through us as well.

I am absolutely stoked about this addition to our portfolio. The inclusion of Yoder alongside our current pellet grill offerings from Memphis and Traeger gives us a broad selection of price points for customers interested in grilling with wood…which I have learned through experience is the BEST way to cook food!

Why go with a Yoder? Easy enough…you can spend over $6000 on a gas premium grill on a cart that will provide hot burners but nothing in the way of flavor enhancement nor the ability to smoke with any semblance of legitimacy. Or you can spend a tick below/above $2000 and get product that is built like an M1A1 tank, will allow you to smoke your best Louie Mueller impersonation in your backyard, or will also give you the option to grill over open fire with the purchase of the direct grill grate accessory. The versatility is simply unmatched.

Much, much, more to come.

Alfresco Grill Review – “Almost Perfect” Steak with the Solid Fuel Insert

Written by Appliance Dude | March 1st, 2017

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.


Buy Your Alfresco Grill or Outdoor Kitchen at Curto’s – Free Shipping Natiowide

Temperature at front of solid fuel insert reads 455 degrees

Temperature Reads 985 at back of solid fuel insert where charcoal is banked.

Review: Lynx vs Alfresco Grills – Curtos.com

Written by Appliance Dude | February 13th, 2017


Alfresco 42″ Grill

Lynx 42″ Grill

Pricing $5403 $5299

Model Number ALXE-42 L42R1
Size 42″ Wide 42″ Wide
Cooking Grate Dimensions 37.25″ x 19 39 x 21
Number of Main Burners 3 3
Main Grilling Area 770 855
Sear Zone NO NO
Cook with Wood or Charcoal YES NO
Burner Material 18-SR Brass
Burner BTUs 27,500 25,000
Hood Type Spiral Torsion Spring Assist
Rotisserie Type Integrated Outboard
Rotisserie Max Weight 120lbs n/a
Rotisserie Burner BTUs 18500 16000
Cooking System Ceramic Briquettes Ceramic Briquettes
Temperature Gauge Analog Analog
Smoker Type Integrated Box
Cutout Width 40.5″ 41″
Cutout Depth 23″ 25.5″
Cutout Height 10.25″ 10 7/8″
Made in USA YES YES


DCS Grill Review – Bitchin’ Steak Perfection – Curtos.com

Written by Appliance Dude | February 12th, 2017

The DCS BH1-36-R-L 36″ Grill Reverse-Sears a Steak to Bitchin’ Results

by Senor Smoke

I reintroduced the DCS to my grill arsenal about a month ago. I was pretty psyched to start using it again due to all of the changes DCS had made to their 36 and 48 inch grills. The grills have been advertised as still being incredibly hot YET due to their new valves they are now able to control and stabilize heat at much lower temps.
I decided to test the DCS grill’s ability to handle disparate temperature settings by cooking a thick steak with a technique I borrowed from the world of barbecue – the reverse sear.

Reverse-searing is used when you have a thick cut of meat and want to see edge-to-edge pink throughout the cut, as opposed to the bullseye effect where you go from charred on the exterior, to grey, to pink to blueish pink in the middle. With the reverse-sear you will cook the cut at a much lower temperature for an extended period of time, and it is ultimately finished off with blazing heat to get the char that locks in the juices. So in essence you are reversing the normal grilling routine where people will sear first, then switch to a lower temperature.

The test would be performed with a beautiful, thick, lusciously-marbled strip steak. I started off giving it a quick massage with extra virgin olive oil, hit it with the Jake’s Grillin coffee rub, a layer of Jacobsen’s sea salt and then she was ready for the grill.

I had preheated the DCS for about 10 minutes and had the far right burner on low while the far left burner was on medium.
The steak was placed on the LOW side for about 12 minutes (six mins per side) and I moved them at a 45 degree angle every 3 mins to get my crosshatch marks. I observed no flareups and the grill hovered around low-mid 300’s for the entire duration.

After the 12 mins were up the steak was registering an internal temp of around 70 degrees. I turned up the left burner to high and after waiting about a minute I placed the strip on there and the SIZZLE began. I immediately started seeing some flareup action so I moved the steak around a little bit in order to control the flame. Three minutes on one side and a repeat on the second side and I was registering 130 on the instead read so it was time to pull off to get my medium rare.

I let the steak sit for about 15 mins (temping) which allows the muscle and connective tissue to relax and also causes the juices to redistribute making the cut far more tender.
When it was time to cut into it I realized I had nailed my medium rare, pretty much edge to edge.

This little experiment showed me two important things about the DCS grill.

1 – it continues to handle flareups very well. The grill was red hot and that steak was well marbled so it did flare up, even with the grease management system. However after moving the steak a little bit, the flareups quickly dissipated. That’s more than I can say about some premium gas grills I have used that will continue to have a burning flare even after the meat is pulled away from it.

2 – the grill was able to operate with the burners at two very different temp setting without much carryover with the heat. It seemed as if the grill was cooking with separate temperature zones which is a very useful feature.

More DCS Grilling to come soon. Enjoy the pictures from the cook and remember that we ship DCS grill nationwide and will match any price offered to you by an authorized dealer.

Strip steak goes on the DCS BH136RL for some low temp cooking

Temperature reading on DCS 36″ Grill

Quick flareup as the steak is brought the higher temp side.

Dcs Grill

Grill Strip Steak on DCS Grill – Curtos.com

Beautiful char on DCS 36 Grill

DCS BH13648RN Grill Curtos.com

Beautiful medium rare thanks to the reverse sear technique on a DCS grill

Steak on the DCS Grill BH136RN – Curtos.com

Viking Grill Review: New Viking Grills for 2017 – Curtos.com

Written by Appliance Dude | February 7th, 2017

New Viking grills look alot like Lynx grills

After making a variety of changes to their grills over the last few years, Viking decided to take a different path with their iconic outdoor business. Let’s just say they became more…feline.

The new Viking grills looks suspiciously like Lynx grills because they are Lynx grills. Take a look at the specs on each 36″ grill

From the Lynx website:
LYNX FEATURES
Two cast brass burners and one ProSear 2™ Burner (total 73,000 BTUs)
935-sq.-in. cooking surface (640 primary, 295 secondary)
Hot surface ignition system
Control illumination with blue LEDs
Dual halogen grill surface lights
Heat stabilizing design
Temperature gauge
Fluid rotation handle
Lynx Hood Assist Kit
Premium smoker box included
Stainless steel grilling grates
Dual-position rotisserie with heavy-duty, 3-speed motor and rear infrared burner (14,000 BTUs)
Ceramic Briquettes facilitate even radiant heat distribution
Heavy-duty welded construction eliminates gaps where grease and moisture can collect

Now let’s take a look at the info sheet available for the new Viking 36 grill. Model number is VQGI5360 for 36″ grill head and VQGFS5360 for grill head and cart which no longer have to be purchased separately:

VIKING FEATURES
36”W. GRILL HEAD AND CART – VQGFS5360
x Two cast brass burners and one ProSear 2™ Burner
(73,000 BTUs)
x 935-sq.-in. cooking surface (640 primary, 295 secondary)
x Dual-position rotisserie with heavy-duty, 3-speed motor
and rear infrared burner (14,000 BTUs)
xControl illumination with blue LEDs
xHot surface ignition system
xDual halogen grill surface lights
xTemperature gauge
xPremium smoker box included
xStainless steel grilling grates
xCeramic Briquettes facilitate even radiant heat distribution
xHeavy-duty welded construction eliminates gaps where
grease and moisture can collect

Hot damn, even the verbiage is the same.
So where do you go with this? I checked out a bunch of skus and it seems that the Viking is typically about $200 higher than the direct comp from Lynx.
So not a huge difference. I was hoping to see some type of Viking consumer program but I have not heard anything at this point. I do know that the Viking undercounter refrigeration is no longer made by Perlick, instead that job is being handled by another synergistic sister company – Marvel – and the prices are lower than what Lynx offers. So even with the grill being slightly more expensive, you will probably be even in $$ or slightly lower with Viking if you are doing an outdoor kitchen.

More to come!