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CentralMA

Potential BlueStar Range Purchase

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Posted (edited)

Long time lurker here, have made a few posts also.

 

Looking for info, but most of all guidance. I've been doing a remodel on a 1950's ranch here in the NorthEast. We've owned the house for almost 30 years, paid off in full, looking now to return to it and "retire". 

 

Doing most of the work myself, but just had the electrician in to update some wiring, especially the kitchen and bathroom. Recent visit from the plumber to extend the natural gas line to the kitchen.

 

We've purchased most of the appliances already, mainly Bosch. 24" fridge, 24" stacking washer/dryer, 24" dishwasher. Higher end JennAir hood over the range. There'll only be two of us living there (one if I don't get this project done soon....).

 

I've decided on BlueStar for the range. We'll need to stay in the 30" size. Their 2 offerings I've been contemplating are the Culinary series and the RNB. I'm former restaurant worker, and like the simplicity of the open burner and the lack of touch screen controls. 

 

Culinary = ~$4k

RNB = ~$5k

 

Biggest difference between the two are (Culinary) three 15,000BTU burners vs (RNB) two 15,000BTU burners and one 22,000BTU burner. Both models have the "precise simmer" burner. 

 

Does the one burner with extra BTUs = $1k?

 

I'm leaning to the RNB...higher temp for a wok, searing on iron, etc. My wife thinks I'm crazy, but she's on board with whatever we end up with.

 

I'll still be running a fridge in the basement, also will have a "rental house grade" electric range available there. We do a lot of outside cooking, it's a walkout basement, these appliances will be for convenience and the occasional bake where electric would be preferred over gas.

 

What say the experts? 

 

Attachment gives the features between the RCS (Culinary line) and the RNB.

 

 

Open Burner Gas Ranges and Stoves | Commercial Quality Ranges | BlueStar.pdf


Edited by CentralMA Burner configurations... (log)

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I have a Blue Star 6 burner in the lowest price grade..culinary, I think.

 

I love it. Puts out a ton of heat. A wok ring would intensify the already hot burners.

 

The broiler is nuclear powered hot.

 

My only complaint is that the simmer is too high, even on the simmer burner. I need a eat diffuser and even then its a little hotter than I want.

 

Overall I love it

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I have a new 36" RCS sitting in my dining room at the moment, waiting for the kitchen remodel to wrap up. Like you, CentralMA, I couldn't discern a functional difference between the RCS and baseline RNB other than the 22K BTU burner, so decided to put that extra thousand bucks elsewhere. If it turns out I really need a 22K BTU burner, I'll replace one of the 15Ks.

 

BlueStar won't sell you a 22K burner unless you can prove you own an RNB range, but people on eBay will, as (I'm told) will some online appliance stores. The going rate seems to be about $150 (the 18K is the same burner, but you use a different orifice to upgrade it to 22k). 


Edited by mumkin added a few links (log)
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Ignoring brands, I sear in cast iron pans on my 16k burner very successfully. I'm curious if to know you use a wok often enough to need the 22k?

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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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Thanks for all the responses. Some good questions here.

 

Incinerating a cow? I might need a bigger hood over the range. How often do we wok? If we had the heat output we might a little bit more. 

 

I've been doing the majority of the renovations on the house myself. We've gone low cost in some areas with the expectation that we could put those savings into some upgrades. 

Lower cost: Ikea kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets (got creative there), bathroom sink. "Splurged" on some Ikea undercounted lighting, wifi enabled. Local builders store shower pan and surround, Did the plumbing modifications myself, with the exception of the gas line extension (safety). Haggled for best deals on the other appliances, did pretty well there. Lots of painting, interior renovations, etc. Possibilities of a large deck that'll hang off the back of the house, maybe 300sqft. All said lots of changes, but not so much money involved. 

 

That said, there are $$$ in the bucket for the range that I'd like to have in the house. It'll (hopefully) be my last one. 

 

If you've ever worked in a well equipped restaurant kitchen you'll understand that the power burners are the ones most used. Makes fast and easy work of cooking, with all of the adjustments you need.  

 

I'm thinking I could be happy with the base RCS, 15k burners. Going down the rabbit hole of mumkin's links it looks like with a little bit of chicanery and a couple of hundred dollars I could save eight hundred and have higher output.

 

Still looking for input....I've not placed the order as yet.

 

Thanks all.

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5 hours ago, weinoo said:

Do you really need 22K for a home kitchen? What are you , incinerating a cow?

 

I have a 20K btu burner on my range (a GE, couldn't quite convince my wife to spend the money on anything that expensive.  The feature I found most attractive about the BS is fitting a full sized sheet pan in the oven.)  The difference between 15 and 20K is substantial.  It gets used for things that don't necessary require it, but it makes them faster -- a pan sauce, or similar reductions, for instance.  It also makes boiling water faster. 

 

Not everyone cooks like this, my wife routinely puts water on to boil and sets the burner on medium.  It's an effort to keep from turning the burner up, and putting a cover on the pot, let me tell you. 

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Posted (edited)

As the wonderful cook @liuzhou has mentioned elsewhere, when the question was about home wok burners, basically no one in China has a burner anywhere near the equivalent of a wok burner in their home.  

 

How much time (provided you don't burn the shit out of it, or evaporate it completely) is someone saving making a pan sauce because she has a 22K BTU burner on her stove?

 

12 hours ago, CentralMA said:

If you've ever worked in a well equipped restaurant kitchen you'll understand that the power burners are the ones most used. Makes fast and easy work of cooking, with all of the adjustments you need.  

 

You're not in a restaurant kitchen; you're home, where cooking ought be pleasurable, not performed as if you're in the weeds.

 

And yes, I've worked in a restaurant kitchen. Personally, a 24" fridge would drive me crazy; in our tiny NYC apartment, I was very adamant with our architect about wanting a 33" full depth fridge, and got one.


Edited by weinoo (log)
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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, CentralMA said:

I'm thinking I could be happy with the base RCS, 15k burners. Going down the rabbit hole of mumkin's links it looks like with a little bit of chicanery and a couple of hundred dollars I could save eight hundred and have higher output.

 

Still looking for input....I've not placed the order as yet.

 

Thanks all.

 

I don't own a blue star, but I have a GE with one larger burner, about 21k and it does come in useful for boiling water for pasta and wok cooking.     That said, I looked into various options like a 3/4 inch gas pipe and a professional range before coming to the conclusion I was being a bit crazy.  

 

The reason I am posting is to caution you about going around manufacturers guidelines to save a few bucks.   Part of what talked me out of the professional stove was looking into various fire codes and ordinances.  When you start to tinker with a range you at a minimum void any warranty, you may also void your home owners insurance if you have a fire.  I would proceed with caution.       


Edited by Dr. Teeth (log)
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Re boiling water for pasta.

You don't need heat two gallons for a few servings of noodles, a couple quarts is usually enough.

The traditional advice to use mass quantities of water is just wrong. Accomplishes nothing. The pasta doesn't know how much water is in the pot.

And the big pot wastes fuel, salt and water.

 

So if you need a wok burner only to boil water...

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I started using much less water to boil pasta, often just 3 quarts for 1/2 - 3/4 lb. of pasta. If I'm making more pasta, I'll pull out the 6 or 8 quart soup pot for a pound or over.  I actually find the starchier water from using 3 quarts helps make a nicer sauce, though of course in a restaurant kitchen they'd add 1/2 pound of butter.

 

There are one or two brands of pasta I use, and in one or two shapes, where I find the 3 quarts to not be enough ; the pasta absorbs a lot of water. In that case, the extra five minutes I have while the water comes to a boil on my underpowered Wolf allows me a couple of slugs of wine, or a hit on the vape.

 

 

 

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I have had an RCS for about nine years, and I second the sense that the simmer is just too damn high.  

 

And I think the broiler is actually too hot for the top rack.  Or else the top rack is too close to broiler.  And the boiler pan which came with the range is heavy.  Heavy-plus-hot . . . sigh.

 

Also?  I am surprised at just how frequently the igniters need replacement. 

 

Some other part of the oven died on me after about four years of use, it cost a FORTUNE to repair. 

 

Finally, the housing gets very hot (they may have put more insulation in the later models, actually).  But I occasionally have small children over here, and while it's of course appropriate to *always* stay on guard with toddlers in the kitchen, I feel unusually nervous with this piece.  

 

It's possible that I got a lemon, one which didn't reveal itself until shortly after the warranty expired.  Certainly no one I know has had as many complaints about their Bluestar as me.  I love its simplicity of design as well as appearance.  When I got it, I just knew I would be taking it with me when I moved on from my current home. 

 

But I've come to think, I'm gonna be leaving it.   

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I appreciate the caution, Dr. Teeth. Using a product in an unapproved manner is a sure ticket to finding one's insurance coverage voided. It does seem that the RCS is otherwise identical to the RNB, so it's not inherently unsafe. But yeah, CentralMA should weigh the merits of $800 saved now vs. a claim inspector discovering the range wasn't to manufacturer's spec. 

 

SLB, from sifting through many reviews and forum posts, I gather that there've been several iterations of the oven door design in the last decade: different hinges, a bigger window, and insulation (or something) to keep the surface much cooler. And recently they've disabled the convection fan until the oven is at temp. Seems that broiler pans are only for RNB and Platinum units.

 

Those of you with a too-high BlueStar simmer, did you adjust the flame height and find that it just couldn't go low enough?

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I have not.  I need to.  

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My Blue Star is 4 years old...or is it 3?

In any event, not one problem

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, mumkin said:

I appreciate the caution, Dr. Teeth. Using a product in an unapproved manner is a sure ticket to finding one's insurance coverage voided. It does seem that the RCS is otherwise identical to the RNB, so it's not inherently unsafe. But yeah, CentralMA should weigh the merits of $800 saved now vs. a claim inspector discovering the range wasn't to manufacturer's spec. 

 

SLB, from sifting through many reviews and forum posts, I gather that there've been several iterations of the oven door design in the last decade: different hinges, a bigger window, and insulation (or something) to keep the surface much cooler. And recently they've disabled the convection fan until the oven is at temp. Seems that broiler pans are only for RNB and Platinum units.

 

Those of you with a too-high BlueStar simmer, did you adjust the flame height and find that it just couldn't go low enough?

Adjusting helps. I just redid it and it's much better. The original adjustment was done with a dodgy regulator on the propane tank...kept going out on low. Didnt think to redo it with the new regulator. Thanks for the thought!


Edited by gfweb (log)
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You don't need 22K in a home kitchen. I probably have 900 and it doesn't hold me back. But if I COULD have 22K? Of course I'd love it. Maybe not for an added $1000, but if I could upgrade down the road for a few hundred, yes please.

 

There are some advantages to big-ass BTUs. Boiling pasta water in less time comes to mind. Preheating a pan for searing anything in about a minute. 

 

You can also rethink your pans. If you have that kind of horsepower, you really don't need energy storage. So you can exclusively use lightweight, responsive stuff, like thin spun steel or all-clad, or lighter weight commercial aluminum. You'll never have to wait around for a pan to preheat, and everything will be responsive. 

 

There are downsides. People not used to the power might freak out, or burn themselves, or destroy your cookware. You'll set your side towels on fire. But I'd take my chances.

 

For what it's worth, I've never cooked on BlueStar, but it's almost certainly what I'd pick if I had the $$$. I don't see anything else that's as serious, with open burners, and no b.s..

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Notes from the underbelly

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I have the RNB 30,  though I think when I was looking, the RCS was only offered with the sealed burner, or , I was just confused and thought that all RCS's were sealed, that is why I went for the RNB.  If the only difference is 1 higher powered burner, that would be hard to justify for me, since I tend to not even notice whether I am using the 15,000 or the 18,000 burners.  As to the simmer burner, on the RNB  ( and may be true for the RCS ) you can turn the grate a quarter turn, and it lifts it up slightly, so that you get a lower simmer.  

 

The manual says to not use the top rack for broiling, instead use the second rack and the broiler pan, that puts the food a little farther from the broiler element than on the top rack,  though I often just use a sheet pan on the top rack, and check it often and rotate.  The area of the broiler it is pretty small, so you definitely need to rotate the sheet pan, otherwise the items right under will brown more quickly than those not directly under the broiler.    I think you will be happy either way you go.  

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My manual does not say that, @Barrytm (my model was going discontinued in 2011, so maybe yours is newer?), but in any case I'v been using the second rack.  Which  is actually a little far from the broiler.  But so far I've made it work. 

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SLB,   what I found was that using a sheet pan on the second rack was a little too far, using the broiler pan,  which is bit of a pain to locate in the pantry, puts it up higher, though not as high as the top rack.  

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That certainly explains the robustness of the Bluestar broiler-pan.   That thing is heavy, it annoys me.  

 

My bluestar experience annoys me generally.  I love its concept.  But mine has got some problem too much of the time. 

 

Also, someone dropped one of the grates and it broke, and BS won't replace just the grate, you have to buy the whole assembly. 

 

The broken grate of mine pieces together alright, which is how I roll.  And I live in a vibrant city where there is someone, not even a Brooklyn Hipster, who can make me a new one.  Pre-pandemic, anyway . . . .

 

I will say this:  that drip-tray concept is one-hundred-percent perfect.  I've never had that before.  I have had open-burners before, but you lifted the top of the stove on some kind of hinge, and proceeded to clean one-handed.   The tray rocks.  

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2 hours ago, SLB said:

I will say this:  that drip-tray concept is one-hundred-percent perfect.  I've never had that before.  I have had open-burners before, but you lifted the top of the stove on some kind of hinge, and proceeded to clean one-handed.   The tray rocks.  

 

Covering that drip tray with foil makes cleaning even easier.

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SLB,   a hipster may not be able to help you make a new grate, but you might check Craigslist  or other online list of services -  to find someone local who is good at welding.  The best would be someone who has experience brazing ( which is not welding ) and brazing is  better suited to repairing cast iron.  Welding can work too, but it requires a bit of skill .   Depending on the number of cracks, it could be fairly inexpensive repair.    

 

 

  Agree on the drip tray, that was the selling point for me.  

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Been a while.

 

Tripped the hammer. A new 30" RNB is on it's way. Two 22K, one 15K, one 9K burner. Full size sheet pan size oven. 

 

Way too much money, but I got some concessions. Saved about 10%.

 

Yay.

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