Curtos appliances blog - the appliance dude - outdoor kitchens and grills - Westchester County - NY - NJ - CT
Posted on July 17, 2017
Alfresco Grill Review and Safety TipsWhenever I do an Alfresco grill review, I am typically focused on bringing out its best features and some of the cool thing you can do with them. Check other videos for topics like "smoketissing", the "hellfire burner" or using the solid fuel insert or steamer fryer insert.However, considering how much I use the grill, I am prone to make mistakes from time to time...and some of those mistakes should not be repeated due to safety concerns. So it's my responsibility to pass these tips along to you and make sure you use this high-powered product in the safest and most rewarding way possible.I was intending on cutting a quick video called "How I Nearly Blew Up My Alfresco Grill" but after I finished the one take, I saw that the Alfresco grill review was not short, not even close....12 minutes and change were recorded so I decided to cut the video into 2 parts.Part One will deal with how I nearly blew the Alfresco 42 grill up due to negligence with the rotisserie. The second part will deal with a mistake I made with the solid fuel insert.Enjoy the videos and ping me with any questions...and remember:we ship Alfresco grills nationwide with free delivery. Call us with any questions! 800-966-2878
Posted on May 15, 2017
<h3>Traeger Timberline FAQ:</h3>
What is the Super Smoke Setting?
Super smoke increases the amount of smoke released when grill temp is set between 165F and 225F.
How hot will the Timberline get?
What is the keep warm setting?
Sets grill to 165F to keep food warm
How long does the grill take to reach 500 degrees?
There are a variety of factors involved including ambient air temperature, but if the grill is set to 500F and the lid is left closed, it should take 15 minutes on an 80 degree sunny day, 30 minutes on a 0F degree day with no sunshine.
How often do I need to clean the ash out of the grill?
After every 20 hours of cooking. This ensures that the hotrod is not covered with ash and will provide the best cooking experience. If you do not clean it out, you will see excessive smoke from the pellet hopper, flameouts and repeated failures to ignite.
Posted on May 4, 2017
Who says you can’t smoke steak?
While smoking is generally reserved for chicken , pork seafood and select cuts of beef like brisket or short ribs, I take a contrarian viewpoint: all steak deserves to be smoked!
While I appreciate the violent yet beautiful transformation that beef undergoes on a searing hot grill, why not prep said beef with a nice dose of smoke beforehand?
I started doing this after reading Steve Raichlen’s book “Project Smoke” where he stated that even though smoking is traditionally reserved for brisket, there are plenty of applications when used with beef tenderloin, tri tip, strip steaks etc. I started using it on tri tip steaks with the reverse sear method of grilling. Soon, I was smoking prime rib as well as NY strips.
Now, every piece of steak I lay my hands on gets a healthy smoke followed by a trip to a searing hot grill.
Tonight I brought home a skirt steak as well as “steak pinwheels” which are flank steaks rolled up and stuffed with provolone cheese, breadcrumbs and parsley. The skirt steak was given a quick marinade bath in soy sauce and scallions, the steak pinwheels were ready to throw right on the grill.
What I decided to do was “double-fist”, or, use a combination of two of my grills for this cook. First I would smoke the steaks at 250 for 10-15 mins on the Traeger Timberline 850. I used a combination of hickory and alder pellets and placed all the steak at the lower-most rack on the Traeger. Since I wanted to maximize the smoke for this relatively short cook, I used a feature on the Traeger called “Super Smoke” which allows extra smoke at lower temperatures (you must be under 250 to enable Super Smoke) . This will enhance flavor at early portions of cooks and some Traeger Timberline reviews have noted that it not only adds flavor but improves the bark on briskets and pulled pork.
While the Traeger was smoking away, I dusted off my Alfresco ALXE42SZ grill (which I had not used in months) and fired up all the burners including the infrared “Hellfire” sear burner.
I wanted to create a molten, white hot searing environment to drop those smoked steaks on for a reverse sear to finish them off. After nearly 10 minutes the Alfresco hood temp gauge was registering over 800 degrees which meant that the grate level was probably around 1100-1200F.
I took the skirt steak and pinwheels off the Traeger and laid them onto the Alfresco and was greeted with sizzling smoke and fire. The smell was intoxicating and the sizzle meant that the sear was developing fast. After 30 seconds I took the skirt steak off the main burner and placed it on the Hellfire sear and with nary a flareup it took that marinaded fatty piece of steak and laid on beautiful hatch marks. After about 2-3 minutes I removed all steak and brought inside the kitchen to rest for 5 minutes so the meat could relax and redistribute juices.
I’m happy to say that this was one of the best skirt steaks I’ve ever cooked. The wood smoke flavor was subtle (which is what I wanted because my wife can’t stand over-smoked food), the marinate provided a salty yet sweet dimension and the beef flavor coupled with the char from the sear was amazing. I also achieved a beautiful edge to edge pink med rare, something that is very difficult to attain on skirt steak which has a propensity to overcook due to its thinness.
So Double-Fisting is now my go-to method for cooking steak. You cannot beat that hint of smoke combined with the blazing sear/char. Anyone who sticks to the traditional mindset that “steak should not be smoked” needs to open their minds and their mouths and taste this. There’s no goiing back!Posted in Alfresco Grills, Traeger | Tagged alfresco alxe grill review, alfresco grill review, alfresco vs lynx, alfresco alxe42-sz, traeger timberline review, traeger timberline 850 review, traeger timberline prices, traeger timberline grill near me, traeger timberline 850 near me, can you sear traeger, alfresco grill sear, alfresco grill near me, alfresco alxe-42NG, traeger timberline dealer ct, traeger timberline dealer nj, traeger timberline dealer nyc
Posted on February 6, 2017
Monogram Dual Fuel vs Gas Range
Monogram is one of the few relevant premium range manufacturers who produce a self cleaning gas range. That being the case, and with their gas and dual fuel products priced at the same level, many could not discern a difference between the two.
However there are differences, some subtle, others more glaring between the two products.
Difference # 1 - Price
Typically dual fuel products are priced significantly higher than all gas products, especially in the luxury space (see Wolf, Viking). However through the years Monogram's dual fuel and gas products were priced at the same level. Recently Monogram adjusted its pricing and now has the dual fuel priced at a premium over the all gas range.
or check out the 30" ranges
30 Monogram Duel fuel range - $5199
30 Monogram gas range - $4699and a bigger spread on the 48" with a griddle
Difference # 2 -Oven Capacity
The dual fuel oven capacity is slightly smaller, 5.3 cu ft on the 30" and 5.7 on the gas.
On the 36" range the dual fuel oven is 5.75 and the gas is 6.2
on the 48 its the same dimensions as the 36" oven. The small oven on the 48" is basically even (2.7 on gas vs 2.5 on dual fuel)
Difference # 3 - Convection Style
The dual fuel oven uses both true European convection (element near the fan in the back of the oven) and reverse air convection. The gas range only offers the latter.
European convection is regarded as a better cooking system. GE defines European convection as follows:
Difference # 4 - Oven Modes
The dual fuel range offers convection bake - broil - roast.
The gas oven offers bake and broil as well as convection bake and roast.
I'm advising my clients to stick with the Monogram gas product. I can't see spending nearly 18% more on a range that has a smaller oven and fewer cooking modes in the oven. I appreciate the advanced convection system with that being the glaring difference (remember, Monogram also offers self cleaning in the gas range) I just can't make an argument for dual fuel. I will reach out to someone at Monogram in the near future and if any compelling evidence is offered in defence of the dual fuel range, I will make sure to publish it asap.Posted in Monogram | Tagged monogram dual fuel vs gas range, monogram dual fuel range review, monogram gas range review, monogram 36 range review, monogram 48 range review, monogram 36 dual fuel range, monogram 48 dual fuel range review, monogram 36 gas range, ge monogram vs wolf, ge monogram vs wolf dual fuel range
Posted on January 14, 2017
by the Appliance Dude
Wolf Dual Fuel vs Gas Range...What should you get?
In past years we typically sold more Wolf gas ranges then their dual fuel (electric oven, gas burners) counterparts. Why? Probably because of price. Probably because of the different electric requirements. And probably b/c I never felt inclined to really push the dual fuel narrative aside from the self-cleaning feature.
It's time to change up - in the last year Wolf has invested back into the dual fuel platform and created some enhancements that it's left the all-gas product in its
dustwake.. So any responsible appliance dude needs to communicate these tidbits to you, the consumer.
So here are my reasons for trading up to the dual fuel product:
Reason #1 - Damn, You Can Do Alot in That Oven
The oven has 10 different cooking modes. But here's how I like to look at it - can I do pizza? Yes, with the bake stone setting. Can I sear steak that would make Luger's envious? Yes, with the open pass broiler. I like to bake so can I proof bread. Yep.You can also bake, roast, dehydrate and also add convection to the mix while baking, broiling and roasting. That's a helluva an oven.
Reason #2 - More Horsepower....
In 2016 the Wolf dual fuel range burners got bionic as one burner on the front was amped up to 20,000 BTUs which leads to 30% faster boils and now put the Wolf name back on the mouths of anyone who loves to Wok
Reason #3 - ....and More PrecisionThe lower portion of the stacked burner lends itself to Coolness of sorts, as it hands below the melting point and delivers consistent heat for gentle simmering and melting. Now I understand that the "placing on chocolate on the burner and it doesnt melt trick is cool", but for my family the practical application of precise heat is that I'm not going to burn the Sunday sauce that my wife slave over for 5 hours. Done!
Reason #4 - One Oven, Two Fans
A few years I went to dinner in NYC with a legendary figure in the luxury appliance industry.. Simply put, the dude invented the high end range.
For some reason we started to talk convection ovens and the Wolf dual fuel range came up. I asked him what he thought about dual convection and his answer was :
Him: "You know why they use two fans?"Me: "Why?"Him: "Because their single fan doesn't work"In hindsight, he was wrong. Wolf has heating elements on both fans which leads to a far more stable cooking environment. This is key people - I can appreciate this bc I have to deal with uneven temperatures and their rage when I am grilling and smoking on my outdoor grills. Even, consistent heat and AIRLFLOW are key components to fostering an environment conducive to creating kick-ass dishes.
Reason #5 - The Stress-Test
I used to tell people that every Wolf and SubZero product that rolls off their assembly line is tested by a human so their quality assurance is top shelf. Now I'll take it a step further - not only are they tested, but during the R&D mode, the prototypes have the holy hell beaten out of them under conditions that a home owner is never going to expose them to. Wolf wants their products to hold up for at least 20 years in your kitchen. In today's world of planned obsolesence in consumer products, that is a deal.
That's it....and note that I made sure NOT to mention
self - cleaning
the cobalt blue interior!
For more information on Wolf dual fuel ranges and gas ranges, as well as Wolf prices, visit the Curto's showroom which is the largest Subzero - Wolf display in Westchester County.
Or call us at 1-924-793-5600
Posted on December 8, 2016
Curtos.com Review: SubZero vs Thermador French Door Refrigerators
When customers visit Curto’s and are seeking a new refrigerator, more times than not they will walk out having purchased a french door refrigerator.
French door refrigerators are typically 36” wide (though it can also be 30” and 42”) with two adjacent doors framing the refrigerator and one pull out freezer door underneath.
French door refrigeration is one of the most popular styles of refrigerator sold in the United States. The dual refrigerator doors have two succinct advantages:
1 - you can use the full width (36” or 42”) for storage including larger items like trays or platters.
2 - Since french door refrigerators have narrower fridge doors they are better for applications where an island is adjacent to the refrigerator and could potentially be impacted by the larger fridge door on a single-door 36”
For 30” standard depth and 36” standard and counter-depth refrigerators, the most popular models can be found from LG, Bosch, GE Profile and JennAir. These fridges would range in price from $1799 on the low side to a tick above $3000. For many years 36” wide and 72” high were the standard measurements for french door fridges. Then in the mid 2000’s the premium brands began to introduce french door styles at 36” or 42” and 84” in height.
The first wave of these premium had one very noticeable holdout - SubZero. I took a trip to their factory in 2006 and asked their engineers if they were planning on introducing a french door refrigerator and they said they had not released one yet because they did not feel as if they had figured out certain intrinsic design flaws of the style (like the door gasket which did not allow for a tight seal) so they did not want to attach the SubZero brand to the product style until it could be improved. Their engineers were apparently working on something, because a short number of years later they introduced the BI36UFD/S, a 36” built in french door model.
One of the early adherents to the French Door style on a built-in premium fridge was Thermador. Known primarily as a cooking company, Thermador first introduced refrigeration in 2003-2004 (it was produced for them by KitchenAid/Whirlpool) and shorlty after their parent company opened a refrigeration plant in Turkey where columnar refrigeration for Thermador, Bosch, Gaggenau and Miele would be produced.
Through the ensuing years Thermador has arguably done the best job at competing with Sub-Zero as they have not only been able to compete on price, but they have also focused on product innovation (they introduced the concept of columnar refrigeration back in 2006).
TALE OF THE TAPE
Thermador 36” French Door Specs:
FREEDOM® Hinge enables true flush design
Full height door - True cabinet integration without exposed venting grille
ALL LED sidewall and theater lighting
Flat stainless steel door panels, pre-assembled
Professional handles, pre-assembled
Frame kit for flush installations (25" deep cut-outs) or framed installations (24" deep cut-outs) , pre-assembled
Dual compressor and dual evaporator
Electronic controls for precise temperature management
Full width meat drawer
Carbon air filter reduces odors and keeps air clean and fresh
Full length cantilever racks for ultimate adjustability
Full width glass shelves with metal trim
Full extension drawers at 90° door opening angle
Gallon door bins
Large capacity freezer drawer
SuperCool - Chills food quickly
SuperFreeze - Freezes food quickly
Door open alarm
ENERGY STAR® Qualified
19.6 Cu. Ft.
SubZero 36” French Door Specs:
36" French Door Refrigerator
21.0 Cu. Ft
Dual refrigeration system ensures the freshest food and energy efficiency
Electronic microprocessor constantly monitors entire unit to ensure proper food storage environment
Air purification system reduces odors, bacteria, viruses and ethylene gas
Advanced water filtration system
Illuminated touch control panel
Bright interior lighting throughout, including storage drawer area
Adjustable spill-proof glass shelves, door shelves and dairy compartments
Soft-close crisper and deli drawers form a lower temperature zone ideal for produce and meats
Easy-access flip-up grille
Full-extension, roll-out freezer drawer
Max ice feature increases production for a 24-hour period
For years (actually, decades) Sub-Zero was pretty much the only game in town that offered two compressors was SubZero. What is the advantage of a dual compression system? Aside from being more energy efficient, it prevents air exchange between the refrigerator and freezer. This means that the system does not have to work as hard as air does not have to be moved throughout the entire chassis by one system. Without dry freezer air meeting the warmer fridge air you dom’t promote exchange of flavor and odors from one section to the other. So for example your ice cubes or ice cream won’t taste like last night’s Chicken Tikka Masala leftovers.
Most customers (especially ones who opt to use custom panels) are installing flush inset refrigerators which are flush with cabinetry. Sub-Zero offers a flush install, but it will leave a gap around the door. You also need to bring the cabinets out to 26 3/16ths for a flush install.
Thermador is an integrated refrigerator, so it is completely seamless to the cabinets for a flush and custom look.Pricing
Thermador 36” french door fridge with pre-assembled stainless panels, pro handles - $7999 UMRP
Subzero BI36UFD/S/PH, 36” fridge in stainless, pro handels - $10,370 MSRP
Sub Zero refrigerators are manufactured in Fitchburg, Wisconsin and Goodyear, Arizona.
Thermador refrigerators are currently produced in Turkey but there are plans afoot to bring production to the United States in the next few years.
Warranty and Service
Thermador offers a limited two-year warranty, entire appliance, parts and labor on any part of the refrigerator that fails because of a manufacturing defect
SubZero also offers a 2 year warranty. Service for the fridges is important and overlooked fact. Sub-Zero is the gold standard in the appliance industry when it comes to customer service, which makes the high price tags more palatable. As I’ve told customers countless times, when you buy a Sub-Zero in some ways it is like you are joining a club that is focused on serving customers. From the way friendly way they answer the phone (and in a timely manner!) and the expedient way that service is coordinated and parts are handled, it truly is a stark difference from dealing with service issues with many other appliance companies.
Thermador does not have the customer service pedigree that Sub-Zero does, but it certainly is not lacking. Depending on where you live, Thermador offers factory service (the technicians are typically versed in Thermador and their sister company Bosch). Service is well represented throughout the contiguous United States and in major metropolitan areas there are also typically numerous independent service companies available as well.
Both Thermador and Sub-Zero make stellar products. You’ll pay more for the Sub-Zero but with that price tag you are receiving a product built along the lines of a tank and which offers incomparable service. Thermador’s french door fridge is compelling as well, especially if considering a Thermador package, which would qualify you for a Thermador hood and a savings of several thousand dollars on your package.
If you have any further questions about Sub Zero or Thermador french door refrigeration please visit us at Curto’s or call us at 914-793-5600.
Posted on December 6, 2016
How to Winterize Your Outdoor Kitchen
Unlike our neighbors in the South and West, most of us have to account for poor winter weather which can damage our outdoor kitchens. Snarling winds and relentless ice, snow and rain can wreak havoc on that space where only mos ago you were grilling ribeyes and drinking mojitos. If you want to maximize the amount of years you can enjoy said ribeyes and mojitos without having to worry about replacing outdoor appliances, please read the following.Refrigerators, Freezers, Wine Chillers and Beverage CentersIf you've purchased outdoor refrigeration from a reputable brand - Marvel, Perlick, U-line or one of the better grill manufacturers' fridges - they are engineered to hold off Mother Nature's winter fury. Outdoor refrigeration does not need to come inside but does need to turned off before temps drop below freezing. Another key tip is to leave the fronts uncovered as moisture can accrue underneath which will adversely impact the fridges. Additionally, you should wash out interior with soap and hot water. Wash the door gaskets. Insert an open box of baking soda and close the door. Outdoor fridges with plastic interiors will retain odors, but stainless steel models will not. The baking soda will help absorb odors and moisture during off season. Lastly remove the toe kick at front bottom of fridge and vacuum it.**If you have a kegerator follow the same directions as above and also clear out the beer tap lines and remove the kegs and bring inside.Ice MakersIcemakers should be shut down when temp drops consistently below 45 degrees. First switch off the power on the unit.Turn off the water supply line at your home’s shut-off valve. Drain water completely from unit to water valve past water valve to spray head inside unit. Drain water reservoir inside and don't forget to drain injector pump and drain line if your icemaker has one ( injector pumps are used if the drain line is higher than the bottom of ice bin or if standard gravity drain is not an option)Use CO2 to clear water supply line. Remove all ice from the storage compartment, clean it and close the drain valve. Open and insert box of baking soda inside unit.Grills and Side BurnersMake sure you cover your grill with a water-resistant cover. The same goes for smokers like the kamados and pellet grills. Some side burners (Lynx, Fire Magic) have covers which can be purchased separately. Others like Alfresco doen't offer a cloth/vinyl cover but do offer a metal cover.
Posted on December 1, 2016
Memphis Pellet Grill Review
For some this is the apex of bbq.
For others its a challenging cook that can easily go sideways and morph into leather.
So who ya gonna call to guide you on the safe, smoky path to ensure your brisket cook doesn't go south? Enter the Memphis Wood Fire Grill!
Back in August I smoked a 13-14 lb full packer brisket for 15 hours. I thought it came out ok but this time I wanted to change things up (and have a shorter cook) so I opted for a first-cut brisket which weighed about 7 lbs. This style of brisket removes the deckle and a fair portion of the fat cap, so when I smoked it I opted to drape some bacon strips over it for more “lube”. It was a beautiful cut of beef but I am ashamed to admit that I paid $12.99 per pound for it. Yes, I know, flog me! This is from the same guy who charges $20 for a 4 lb chicken...and people pay it. Amazing. Suffice to say I’ve found a new butcher and I will only go here for specialty cuts or out of pure convenience moving forward. Nevertheless, the brisket was beautiful, a nice reddish hue and well marbled for being just the flat portion of the muscle.
I decided to take a simpler approach to this cook compared to the big brisket in August. For the full packer I coated it with a mustard base and then applied a rub among other seasonings.
This time it would real simple, Texas-style:
Coarse kosher salt.
Cracked black pepper.
A pinch of coffee rub.
Temp set at 250°.
Indirect heat plate
Brisket was placed on bottom rack in an aluminium roasting pan. Draped about 6 pieces of organic Applewood bacon on her. What was left of the fat cap and the bacon were topside. Filled a small (Weber?) roasting pan with beer (I think it was Lone Star, maintaining the Texan theme) and placed it on the top rack. Pellet choice was good ole’ Texan Mesquite. I knew that Mesquite has the potential to be overbearing but it’s the indigenous flavor of Texas and that’s how we rolled during this cook.
The brisket cooked for 7 hours then I pulled it at 200°. It had that beautiful jello-like jiggle which made me think I nailed it but we still had the rest for optimal results.
After the 7 hour cook I wrapped the brisket in butcher paper a la Aaron Franklin and set it in a cooler with towels above it. I then let it rest for one hour (may have been slightly longer). The butcher paper is definitely the way to go. While foil has been used for the Texas crutch for years I recall reading that Steve Raichlen felt that the brisket took on a pot-roasty consistency due to the inability for the brisket to breath. All that moisture will build up and things will get stewy. No good. Butcher paper (unlined!) is the way to go. I even cooked the brisket in the butcher paper for a few hours during my big brisket cook in August, but I don’t think that’s imperative.
Time to Eat
I took the brisket out of the butcher paper, laid it on the cutting board and proceeded to slice. The bark was so dark and coarse to touch. But the knife literally went through without effort. . The smoke ring was so pronounced. The knife cleaved through the brisket like it was butter. And the juice, the JUICE!. It was literally pouring out every time I sliced back and forth. You couldn’t get any tender this.
While the aesthetics were great , the real story was the taste. My family raved about it and the leftovers, which were used for sandwiches the following day were arguably better! I didn’t have tremendously high hopes bc this was a first cut brisket, but even without the deckle and all that fat, it didn’t really matter. I had exceeded expectations and cooked a tastier brisket than the one in August.
Conclusion: The Memphis Grill Rocks
The Memphis was truly the hero of this cook. The ease of use and delivery of such quality is truly a testament of how incredible this product is. I love the fact that the Memphis grill doesn’t overly saturate the food with smoke (even at a lower temperature). It seems to just deliver enough to give a nice smoke bath that will perfume the food with smoke, all while allowing you to work with it while avoiding getting your clothes hair and skin covered in smoke (which happens with my ceramic smoker).
Even though I cooked during the day, I would have no qualms about letting the Memphis ride overnight, even in the winter, as I know it’s going to hold the prescribed temperature accurately. While it probably makes sense for me to make the next brisket on the ceramic smoker so I can compare and contrast on the blog, I just may in fact default back to the Memphis...I’m addicted to this thing!
Posted on November 25, 2016
Posted on November 18, 2016
Capital 60 Range Review
I can keep on naming more leviathans or just get to the bottom line.
You are staring at one massive. MASSIVE piece of steel.
With a build more consistent with a M1A1 tank
With angry-hot burners (that can tame down to a gentle simmer).
This, my friends, is a Capital 60" self clean gas range. 6 sealed burners. A griddle. A bbq (arguably the best in the business).
A self cleaning oven with a glass infrared broiler, commercial grade rotisserie in the oven, and ez slide oven racks.
This was one of my favorite sales of 2016. Lovely couple from Westchester County, with a deep interest/passion for cooking. They had done their home work and visited us with Capital in mind. And they certainly walked out with one.
Interestingly the opted to forego the open burner Culinarian series and went with sealed burners. Cleanup was an issue for them. They also added the griddle and Capital's vaunted BBQ/grill top.
Simply put, this is a beast (and btw, a gorgeous kitchen!)Posted in Capital | Tagged capital 60 range, capital vs blue star, capital range vs wolf range, capital range vs thermador range, capital 60 range prices, capital 60 range review, capital 60 inch range residential, wolf 60 inch range, 60 gas range residential, 60 inch range top, capital culinarian vs wolf, 60 inch gas range with griddle, 60 inch dual fuel range, 60 inch double oven range