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Friday, August 3, 2012

The DCS Model - And Parts - That Changed The World Of Grilling.

DCS D Model with Rods, Finger Grates and Rotary Modules.
Gas grills by Dynamic Cooking Systems were the most popular and sought after gas grills on the planet until about 8 years ago because the quality, workmanship and performance was unrivaled in high-end gas grills.  Although barbecues like charbroil, weber and jenn air win awards from consumer reports and other sources none of those companies has ever manufactured a barbecue that would grill as well or last as long as a DCS.

DCS really came out ahead of anything previously manufactured with the D model shown in this picture.  The D model refers to the numerical designation in the model number that tells us when the barbecue was manufactured.  The D model copied some features that were already in use in previous models of DCS like the smoker drawer with dedicated burner for adding wood chips for extra flavor and the infrared rotisserie.

The D model made a lot of changes to the DCS grill parts that made the grill much better than anything previously available.  Earlier versions of the DCS had a confusing architecture to the manifold and control valve connection to the igniters and burners.  The later version was clean and easy with a simple pipe (that eventually because stainless steel!) with the control valves screwed into the threaded openings for gas flow.  Instead of the cast iron coated rectangular burners in the original DCS grills the D model introduced the stainless steel U burner with the life time warranty.  Because the lava tray sat on top of the cast iron burner the conduction layer had to change when the burners were updated so DCS started using the hollow porcelain rods that locked into a stainless steel tray.

The design was genius!  The biggest maintenance problem for stainless steel is grease and dirt but locking the rods into the trays meant the entire assembly could be lifted from the barbecue and sprayed with a degreaser.  With briquette trays and lava rock grates most people do not clean the material because removing and replacing the assembly is such a messy, filthy job.  DCS made cleaning these trays easy and gave the owner the ability to make the stainless steel last  a lot longer before replacement parts would be needed.  

The new rod design also added to grilling by  providing more evenly-distributed heat radiating off the rods.  Normally we light the burners and close the hood while the burners slowly heat-up the air trapped in the bbq hood.  This hot air -- convection -- surrounds food and slowly cooks.  With true barbecuing charcoal and wood add flavor so as the hot air pulls moisture from the food the food suck-in the flavor from burning charcoal and wood in the surrounding air.  Adding a source of conduction meant the lava rocks in the original DCS would also get hot and speed-up the time from ignition to being hot enough to cook.  As an added benefit lava rocks also radiated additional heat just below the cooking grates so the area where food is positioned was slightly hotter than the convectional heat inside the entire hood.  The evenly distributed porcelain rods were hotter and radiated a lot more heat and were positioned closer to the cooking grates for a lot more radiant heat at the grilling grid area.

The combination of a cleaner manifold and valve design, more effective burner and greatly improved conduction source meant the DCS could not only barbecue at lower temperatures for broiling and smoking but it also gave the DCS the ability to grill at temperatures above 800 degrees.  Grilling above 800 degrees is considered restaurant-quality searing which locks the outer layer of the meat to force moisture to stay in the food instead of dripping while cooking.  Cooking with gas would often dry-out foods but at 800 degrees juices get locked in the meat for amazing juicy steaks, burgers and fish -- even well-done.

The final improvement was the best feature of the grill and was a direct result of the additional heat generated by the burners and rods.  The new cooking grates were referred to as "finger grates" because each grid was made of 4 concave reversible grids.  Grilling at such high temperatures limited the amount of moisture dripping from the food.  The concave channel of the grill grates would hold an dripping grease, sauce, marinades or bastings so the flavors were retained.  Moisture would no longer drip into the grill to flare-up but would fall into the grate channel and be vaporized to add flavor and texture to the food.  When later grills using infrared technology made it common to grill at temperatures above one-thousand degrees the DCS concave channels were copied by every high-end grill that used infrared burners.

DCS added a feature the the grates called a grease management system.  The drip tray that slides in and out under the grill had a secondary drip tray that mounted in the front of the normal drip tray.  The cooking grates had the ability to lay flat or at an angle by lifting the back of the finger grates to rest on a stainless rod at the back of the grill.  At an angle we can force moisture to channel off the grilling grates towards the front of the grill where an opening dropped directly to the secondary drip tray.  Grilling rib-eye steaks can generate a tremendous amount of grease as the fatty parts of the meat cook and the flat channels could be filled with flammable grease.  Adding the incline to the grid design meant it was easy to get rid of the grease and easy to clean up afterwards.

The DCS D model was the most technologically advanced gas grill of its time and allowed a greater versatility than any other appliance -- commercial or residential.  The only improvement that was not made to the D model was the ignition.  The next iteration of the DCS design was the E model and the E model was the first gas grill to install glow-plug electrodes.  This model had to be plugged into a wall outlet and the glow plug electrode glowed like a lightbulb when activated.  The benefit was the gas would ignite in strong wind or rain but it was not common then to have an electrical outlet outdoors.  Today that has become common place and high-end grills like FireMagic, Lynx and Alfresco all have to have electrical outlets to ignite.  DCS discontinued the glow plugs quickly.  The model that followed the D model was the BG model and DCS used a nine-volt module then that is still used today.  The 9 volt module replaced the rotary modules used on the D model and is a reliable design.

With Fischer and Paykel at the helm DCS is no longer defining the cutting edge of barbecue grill evolutions.  The new implementation has been handed off to companies like FireMagic and Alfresco who are always adding new, untested features that make the models more useful and more expensive.  DCS gas grills stopped evolving when the company was sold.  Fortunately DCS was so far ahead of the competition for so many years DCS grills today are still among the best grills in the world even as the competition adds new features and benefits that DCS grills do not have.

At Majestic Grill Parts we have been servicing gas barbecues, grills, smokers and gas fireplaces for over 10 years and we also ship replacement parts all over the world.  I can personally attest to the fact that DCS gas grills last  longer than any of the barbecues made at that time.  It is common for us to ship lava trays or cast iron burners for A models from the first version of the DCS barbecues manufactured 25 years ago.  A lot of barbecues do not have replacement parts available at all.  If a valve goes bad or a burner rusts the owner has no choice but to buy a new BBQ.   Most DCS grill owners know they have a very special product that is worth repairing because the grill will be performing well as long as they choose to keep it.


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