My wife is looking at a stainless gas Jenn-air stove. My
is stainless steel finish a good idea? how about
scratches, polishing it, etc. Any out there with stainless
appliances, would you get stainless again?
Also - the stove has a grill one side with a downdraft
vent/exhust system. (grill side can be replaced with
regular burners). Is the grill a 'good thing' or a 'bad
thing' in turns of performance, use, etc. Is it something
that would get used a lot or once or twice the first month
and then never used?
"Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include
a free trip around the Sun every year."
I work in a restaurant, everything is stainless. It's there
because it's easy to keep clean and sanitary. Some of that
cleaning is done with heavy duty steel scrubbies (that don't
disintegrate in your hand like a Brillo/SOS Pad) and even
though the surface has thousands of tiny scratches on it, and
a few bigger ones here and there, it still looks good when it
is wiped down for the moment or for the night.
I guess what I'm trying to tell you is that stainless is meant
to be *used*, and part of the cleaning process makes it *look*
like it is used. If you want something you need to baby and
try and keep looking brand new, then save your money and go for
something more conventional.
A stainless steel stove can be a good thing. It just depends on a couple of
things. AND I AM ONLY SPEAKING FROM MY OWN EXPERIENCE.
How much time do you want to spend cleaning a stove?
How much money do you want to spend?
Do you want something inside your kitchen that will be spattering all over,
or would you just like to throw it on the outside grill?
How often will you use this handy dandy laborsaving device?
We recently remodeled our kitchen. Our rich friends suggested Vulcan,
Dacor, all types of stoves, ovens, accessories. Nice. REAL nice. $8,000
nice. I went and looked. I picked an Amana four burner gas top because it
has such a simple one piece pan construction. I don't care what kind of
cook you are, stuff flies when you are cooking. All those neat looking
features fill up with grease, soup, and spaghetti sauce. Then you either
try to clean it, or hire a professional twice a year. I got the oversized
When I first saw my AMANA rangetop all hooked up, I thought I had been short
changed and had made a bad choice. The first time I cleaned it, I knew I
had made the right choice. The grills go in hot water in the sink, the
stainless pan gets cleaned out with soap and water. Done in 15 minutes.
Take a REALLY close look at anything you are considering. Get about six
inches from it, and figure out how you are going to clean the burned gumbo
out of all those little cracks, seams, joints, and low spots. If you have
lots of money, don't worry about it. Someone else will be doing it.
Stainless is good, but the configuration, shape, and complexity will dictate
how much time you will have to spend on it.
My Sears (Roper) gas range has a stainless steel top.
It is easy to clean, and I use a scrubby pad across the grain to erase
the occasional scratches that may appear by some helpful guest using a
metal scouring pad to clean it.
A final scouring with "Bar Keeper's Friend" brings it back to a perfect
I bought a house with a "stainless" topped stove. It rusts! My friend has
one, and it also happened to her.
Because I couldn't afford a new one I sanded the old top down and spray
painted it with brake paint from the Auto store. It looks fine, but it took
a lot of experimenting and a lot of resanding and painting to find a durable
and decent looking high-heat paint!
No, I'd never buy a stainless stove. Enamel is the way to go!
304 grade stainless will develop some surface rust but that is the price you
pay for the strength of the iron they put in it. It will buff out pretty easy
with a scotch brite and you can seal it with SS polish.
I have an older Jenn-Air electric modular unit.
We use the two burner plates exclusively.
The grill is a dust collector and cooling rack.
The grill (I presume you mean the "barbecue" style grill not a flat griddle) is
just too messy to use indoors, and we'd rather use the outdoor grill for real
grilling. If I had my druthers I'd get the griddle attachment and a cover,
and/or another set of burners.
Stainless is good but whether it's the best depends on what you want
personally and the alternatives. As far as ovens and cook tops are
concerned a mixture of stainless and cast iron is probably the most
durable and cleanable. They can't make burners out of stainless and
that goes for anything else in the path of the flame.
But IMO you're going about this the wrong way. You need to look at the
power of the burners (far more important). I'll lay money that
Jenn-Air's burners are a puny 10,000 btu max--oh, there's probably one
that's called a "power" burner that might make 12 or 13,000.
Woop-e-di-doo! You need a minimum of 22,000 per burner unless of
course you want to wait forever for the water for the corn to
boil--25,000 is even better.
As far as cleaning is concerned the ability to dishwasher the parts or
take them outside and pressure-wash them is much more important than
what in-place cleaning you can do. Most residential ranges don't allow
you to do this because the flame-touching parts are aluminum and or
porcelain on steel or even painted and the tops etc. aren't easily
removable. And watch it with those "sealed burners"; "disposable" is
more the appropriate word.
Is this one of those gratings with lava rocks? Well...maybe it might
be used but IMO it's better to reserve such cooking for the summer
outside on the bar-b-que where you don't have a smoke/grease problem.
If you do want one I'd look at a commercial-level exhaust system.
As to what you do need, I'd suggest that after four high-heat burners,
the next most used/best item would be a salamander but unfortunately a
stand-alone one costs over $1200. The alternative is a five foot
commercial range with six burners, a salamander, a griddle, and two
ovens (around $1800). (A salamander is a very high heat (usually over
50,000 btu) broiler (flame above) which allows you to cook
restaurant-quality steaks or even, as I've unfortunately found out, do
a nice cauliflower au gratin.)
IOW if you're a serious cook you need commercial and that doesn't mean
dumbed-down overpriced yuppie imitations. For less than $1000 you can
get a six burner (25,000 each) single oven 36 inch commercial range
FOB NYC. Built like a truck.
(Former owner of a Garland six burner double oven range (like the one
described above) and current owner of two (hey, I'm twice the fool)
puny pieces-of-crap residential GE Spectra's.)
One thing to remember, apart from the characteristics of stainless steel,
is that it is just as much a passing fashion as were Harvest Gold,
Avocado Green, and Coppertone appliances, not to mention the Pink, Green,
Turquoise, Yellow, and Cocoa of the 1950s. Your choice of finish should
be governed by your long-range plans.
If you don't cook and don't spend much time in the kitchen, stainless
steel can contribute to one of the most beautiful kitchens. If you do
cook, be prepared for scratches, staining, heat discoloration, and
cleaning woes up the kazoo, that is, unless those things don't bother
you. A porcelain enamel finish can be cracked or chipped by a misplaced
blow, but it's infinitely easier to keep clean and new looking. That
same blow can put a healthy dent in stainless steel.
I would never again buy a stainless steel sink or appliance, except for
the *interior* of a dishwasher.
Grills on a stove can be wonderful. Downdraft exhaust systems are often
marginal in performance. By comparison, Jenn-Air's grills have modest
output compared to other top brands.
If you're going to spend money over and above an ordinary range, I would
skip the Jenn-Air and look at levels above it. You will find better
quality and performance.
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