Whatcha doin' with all that firepower?

rosyladyDecember 12, 2012

Another thread got me wondering: what's everybody up to with all their BTU's?

The trend is: more is better when it comes to heat in the kitchen. After struggling with a first generation Jenn air electric flat top for the last ten years and having to allot 45 minutes to heat pasta water, I understand the desire for heat. I bought a range with WAY more BTU's than I have ever had in a home setting (but it only has a wimpy 17,500 on it's hottest burner).

I haven't used it yet, but I have fantasies of seared steaks and browned instead of steamed mushrooms. I never wok cooked much because I couldn't, so I'm going to try that. Mostly, I am going to eat spur of the moment pasta dinners every night and gain ten pounds.

My friend just remodeled her kitchen and installed a Bluestar. We cook up a STORM on that thing! It's been hard to get used to all that heat while I'm cooking. It's one thing to sweat in a chef's uniform, but it does not look good when your makeup is sliding off your face and you've got sweat dripping down your back. I am constantly turning on the hood and opening the windows in her kitchen to cool off.

I positioned my range in my new kitchen between two sets of double french doors, just so I could cool off while cooking. My range has five burners and two convection ovens. I can't wait to get it fired up full throttle and see what happens!

So, how has increased BTU's changed your kitchen and your cooking?

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Two things changes:

1) Respect thy ventilation. A good hood that is slightly larger than and overlaps your cooktop and enough CFMs with easy to clean baffle filters. Switch on the hood before you start cooking to get the air flow pattern established. This is the only way I know to avoid smelly hair and clothes.

2) Prep before. Chop, get the right tools, pre measure the spices etc. Great cooking with high heat requires speed which means you have to be ready to go..things happen fast when you are stir frying.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 3:59PM
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Is it really all that hot when cooking on your friend's new Bluestar? We are thinking about the Bluestar with two 22K burners, and I have wondered how much heat it puts out. And, I too have wondered about all of those BTUs and how necessary they are. I line in Minnesota, so on a winter day like today the heat would be welcomed. But, we also can have really hot days in the summer here. Then, I wouldn't want any extra heat.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 6:25PM
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All I can say is I have never loved cooking more than I do right now.

I now have a 6 burner BS Range top. So, I'm not standing in front of an oven while using the range top. This will make a difference I think in regards to the heat issue.

Awesome ventilation too (1200 cfm Independent hood that is full 24" deep).

I truly love the fire and how hot and fast I can cook.

As far as the heat, just pop a window open a little bit in the kitchen, the hood will pull a wonderful breeze past you as you cook.


Oh, I've been wok-king, boiling fast, simmering on very low, flipping pancakes (on my large griddle that covers 2 burners), browning chicken, making everything!!!! It really has been a lot of fun so far.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 6:41PM
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needinfo1: I'm sure all high BTU stoves throw off a lot of heat. I agree with lalitha - ventilation is a must. Make sure you are factoring that in to your project. If I remember from your other post, you are trying not to modify cabinetry too much. Are you going to get a new hood?

Beekeeperswife: yes, having the oven blazing while I am reducing a sauce with the biggest burner on high makes the whole thing a lot hotter feeling!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 11:47PM
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I went from a wimpy old 9k BTU/hr range to a Bluestar. You more or less already named my new-found joys. Wow, seared steaks! Wok cooking! Fast boiling water! Flash-sauteed veggies. Powerful broiler! I love it. Like Bee, I have never enjoyed cooking this much before.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 11:54PM
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I have to say I do love her Bluestar. Do they offer dual fuel ranges or are they all gas? I wanted convection ovens, so I went a different route, but I love the simplicity of the way the Bluestar functions.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 12:06AM
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The BS ovens are convection. I am pretty sure they do not offer dual fuel.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 12:19AM
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We LOVE our Bluestar, and our wish for a 36in gas rangetop was the driver behind our kitchen remodel, so we joke that it is the priciest rangetop ever.

By far our favorite thing to do is wok cooking. We have a 1200cfm rangehood (previously there was no ventilation and an old electric cooktop).

I also appreciate the simmer burner.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 7:33AM
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I have had my Thermadore range since we remodeled about 10 years ago.

It is a joy to use. We also have a good hood.

To me the best part of using a good gas range is that the heat is ON when you have the knob ON. On my mom's new electric jenn air, the electric burner actually cycles on and off, so it gets over heated, and then cools off. Very frustrating.

Oh, and I remember watching Emeril's TV show one day....he was making the point that.....Duh you don't have to cook everything on HIGH. He actually removed the knob, walked up to the camera and said "look, Hi, Medium & Low" I remember that a lot with a good stovetop that you do need to be more aware of the heat setting, since it really works!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 7:37AM
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My early iteration of the pro-style range genre was a revelation to me when I got it almost 20 yearo ago.

Its highest burner is, maybe 15K, but functionally less since I had to install the propane conv. kit. But still.

I went from just heating food to actually cooking it and, after I burnt a fair number of things, I don't think I could ever be happy with the mingy BTUs in my old gas stove.

I also love the infra-red broiler.

I am using just induction now as we have the range apart for repairs (and since it's a Honey-Do project - as I defintely don't do gas - it's been taking forever) - the induction is OK, efficient, etc. but it doesn't come close to real FIRE!

May be over the hols, we'll get the range back on line. After the new market garden fencing is completed; which will happen after the irrigation system is completely blown out and drained, after the roof over the fire truck is reshingled, after, after, after, each of these things that must happen before serious winter arrives. I can't put all the blame on my DH, I've been as distracted and dilatory as anybody. Too much time dawdling on the KF, I fear.


    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 4:09PM
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"..the induction is OK, efficient, etc. but it doesn't come close to real FIRE!"

I must say that an induction cooktop, especially a pro style one that is 220V and has a proper powerboost is capable of extremely high heat and it does this without heating the cooktop or the air around it. I chose a gagg induction over BlueStar or CC just for this reason. I did do a stirfry test cook with all the cooktops before deciding. Not sure what you are using. Even my el cheapo Max burton single unit induction for $99 boils pasta water faster than my old GE gas cooktop. I do agree that you need real fire for things that go directly on the flame like when I want to puff chapatis or sear the skin off the eggplant. The shape for the fire rings is also great if you want to use round bottomed asian woks.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 4:24PM
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liriodendron: yes, there is something thrilling about "playing with fire". One of the first times I cooked on my girlfriend's Bluestar I caught an oven mit on fire (I had to use it for the pan handle because it was so hot while I was simmering on the stovetop!). The kids thought that was a shocking good time!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 4:50PM
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I use my 15k burner to boil pasta water and heat a really wide saut� pan so I can saut� 2 big onions at once without crowding them in the pan.

I chose a Bertazzoni, which is not as high end as Bluestar, and it still kicks butt compared to the Amana POS that was in the house. I love how precise the controls are on the burners, I really used that this weekend when making caramel.

However, years ago we lived in a house with a Jenn Air that had a downdraft. The electric coils took forever to boil water but if you put the cutting board on the burners (off) and turned on the downdraft you could slice a hundred onions without shedding one tear.

I still dream of installing a downdraft someday just to slice onions near it :)

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 8:27PM
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I can't make any comments on cooking with fire, since my most extensive experience this year involved trying to stand where the smoke wasn't so that I could roast the marshmallows to a beautiful golden brown over the campfire without choking or getting smoke in my eyes.

But the onions, well, I look really goofy cutting up my onions with swim goggles on, but at least I don't cry about it anymore. Seriously. Wear some goggles and the onions won't bother your eyes.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 10:38PM
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