Sometimes the simple approach is the right approach.
In this outdoor kitchen in Scarsdale NY, the owner decided to minimize the amount of appliances in the island and instead focus on simplicity, functionality and leveraging his nearby indoor kitchen.
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.
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.
Now look what happens when I get a read from the grates themselves.
300 degree temp increase!
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!
The Appliance Dude Starts His Review of Alfresco Grills and Pizza Ovens
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!
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.
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
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.
Suffice to say I was was quite stoked when I opened my emails earlier today and found one containing photos of a new outdoor kitchen in Larchmont, NY that Curto’s provided appliances for.
Damn, it's time to start cooking in this gorgeous outdoor kitchen in Larchmont NY. Appliances supplied by Curto's.
Brian, the homeowner, had planned this space quite meticulously as I recall talking to him about appliances almost one year before the units were delivered to him. We went through a bunch of different options but Brian ultimately went with a Capital 40″ grill, a Capital charcoal grill, a Lynx warming drawer and a Liebherr outdoor refrigerator.
Truth be told, there were a few bumps in the road appliance-wise, specifically the Capital grill came out of the box with a defective rotisserie. Capital’s corporate service dept was very attentive (both Brian and myself spoke to Bob, Capital’s head of customer service numerous times) and soon enough the rotis was fixed and Brian was able to enjoy his outdoor space at full throttle. Brian, I am expecting an invite over for the first rotisserie-fired pig roast!
Check out the wood, check out the stone floor, check out the Capital grills, this man has taste!
Aside from the appliances, I think this a great case study on how to work the natural ingredients of your backyard into the design of an outdoor kitchen. Check out what Brian did with the large rock to the left of the kitchen. It blends seamlessly into the stone of the actual kitchen thus creating a feeling of continuity.
I also want to applaud his use of wood with the flooring. Very zen, very gorgeous. I have a note into Brian to detail the supplies he used for both the deck as well as the stone work around the grill.
Brian, thanks for the photos and enjoy that space!
Side view of the outdoor kitchen in Larchmont. Note how the owner installed individual lights on top of island, bypassing the use of just the grill lights.