BlueStar impressions after several months

rokahnDecember 20, 2013

Purchased a 48" bluestar RCS with chargrill. Here are some issues of which one might wish to be aware:

1. BS's broiler cycles for 2-3 minutes on then 4-5 minutes off (until the temperature drops enough for broiler to kick back on). If you're cooking something which requires more than 2-3 minutes to sear (which is frequently the case for myself), this is a problem since you'll spend more time baking the food than broiling. According to BS, they don't advise leaving the oven door ajar (to increase the broiler on-time) because the broiler element igniter will then burn out prematurely.

2. BS's chargrill doesn't put out adequate heat to grill food in a reasonable time, even on high. I love grilled veggies and meats but haven't used it much after the first few tries. Unlike a "normal" Weber-style grill, which I'm used to, the food is uncontained on top (no lid) so the burners should be hotter to compensate. The combination of #1 and #2 means that I'm now considering building an outdoor grill to sear food...exactly what I was hoping to avoid.

3. BS's rangetop burners have poor "turndown". For example, cooking oatmeal requires bringing to a boil then covering and simmering for 15 minutes. Even on low, the pot boils over when covered. Simmer burner is OK but there's only one and would rather not move the pot. I'm now in the market for a heat diffuser (piece of metal placed under pot), hoping this will solve the problem but it's inelegant.

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Have you adjusted your burners to simmer at the lowest possible heat level without having the igniters clicking? It's very easy to do and will allow you to simmer on all burners rather than just the simmer one. I make rice or oatmeal for one on my 22k burner all the time. No boil overs at all

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 9:06PM
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What do you mean by adjusting the burners?

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 9:28PM
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There's two videos on this link from bluestar's site:

Very easy to do and requires no special tools. Just make sure you use a strong thin screwdriver. Do not use an eyeglass repair screwdriver as it's not strong enough.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 9:53AM
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I've always heard to keep the door cracked while broiling so that the element stays lit. I'd think whether you burn out the igniter depends on how much you're broiling. For us, that's not much, and the igniter has lasted 7 years so far.

On adjusting the simmer level, it really is a long, thin screwdriver. I forget which one of mine actually fits- I may have had to buy one just for that. The only other challenge is getting the knobs off. Otherwise, as gtadross says, it's pretty simple.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 11:43AM
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About adjusting the burners: Be careful to to adjust them too low. Initially I adjusted them super duper low, just a bit above the point where the igniter clicks on to relight the burner.

That wasn't a great idea when I turned on my hood fan. The hood fan air turbulence caused my barely minimal flames to flicker and the igniter clicked. I adjusted it again by increasing the flame by a smidgen more and that fixed the clicking problem.

For the record, I have had to move a pot to the simmer burner when a regular burner on the lowest setting was still too much heat. (I own a 30" RCS from Costco.) This occurred when I needed to just barely maintain pressure in my pressure cooker (with a large aluminum bottom) , and also when I had a pot of chicken noodle soup that I wanted just barely to simmer.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 8:06PM
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I've got a 36" Bluestar - almost six years old. I encountered the whole boiling over thing, even with the simmer burner. So now there is a Lodge cast iron reversible griddle over the front burner and the rear simmer burner. I use it as a flat top and occasionally a griddle. If I want a really super low simmer I put a small cast iron burner plate on top of the griddle.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 9:18PM
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Keep in mind that on the BS ranges and range tops you can spin the grate so it sits on top of the built in feet to raise up the grate a bit higher as well. This will essentially lower the flame from the bottom of a pan and thus reduce the heat hitting it. I have used it to get a really low simmer on a some chocolate.

You can see how this is done if you aren't familiar with it in this video. It is right about the 1 minute mark in this video:


    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 11:40AM
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Phil, thanks for the tip, I have owned mine for a while but I didn't know about that. Will have to try it soon.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 7:24PM
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