Last updated: May 2023
What I haven’t talked about yet is something that was a bit of a letdown when we bought the house – a built-in outdoor grill. My husband swears we will never use this thing, but I like grilling, and I like being covered when it’s rainy in the PNW, and I really really like not having to hike halfway across my property to do said grilling.
We already have a built-in grill down by our pool, and it is perfect for pool parties and summer gatherings. But it would be a long, cold walk to grill dinner on a normal Northwest day down at the pool and then get it back to the house. In reality…not happening.
So imagine my surprise and delight to see that this house has a built-in grill right outside the kitchen door – perfect for weeknight dinners. What our inspection didn’t really show was that it didn’t really work anymore. It was a Dacor 36-inch built-in natural gas grill, and it just wouldn’t stay lit. I had a repair person come out but he couldn’t get it consistently lighting, and it was at least 20 years old, so frankly it was probably time to replace.
Dacor still makes a grill that looks exactly like this, but I have several Dacor appliances in my house and they are difficult to repair, now that Dacor is owned by Samsung and not really a priority anymore. Though I had some comfort in the idea that the new grill would fit right where the old grill is, I didn’t want to buy a new appliance that no one sells or services anymore.
So, onto the internet I went to learn.
The DCS Series 9 36-inch Natural Gas Built-In Grill
After a lot of research, I went with the built-in DCS Series 9 36-inch natural gas grill with a rotisserie. It is so fancy. Too fancy? Possibly, but I wanted to stick with the “niceness” of the house and putting in a cheap grill just wasn’t going to cut it.
I watched tons of video reviews of the high-end grill brands and settled on the DCS because I could see it in person at a local store (I would have purchased through them but they turned out to not service my house). I loved getting to touch it and validate what I had read first online. The salesperson let me know that the DCS Series 9 is one of their most popular grills, and nudged me in that direction.
Though I had already purchased it, when my installer saw what he was doing that day, he got really excited and said this was one of the best grills around and that it is super powerful. It was great to get a second experienced opinion that this was the best built-in natural gas grill on the market.
What I Love About the DCS Series 9 36-inch Natural Gas Grill
Most of the high-end grills use ceramic to conduct heat these days, so while the ceramic rods in the DCS Series 9 aren’t exactly a differentiator, they are a reason I chose it. Why do you want ceramic in your grill? It is more efficient at heating, so you can cook more, faster, and at a lower temperature after getting a good sear on your food.
My installer did let me know that I should pick up some replacement ceramic rods for my DCS grill, because he has found that when cleaning the grill, it is very easy to break rods. However, I’ve been using the grill for 2 years now and haven’t broken a rod yet so I think they’re not as fragile as I originally believed.
Another thing I love about the DCS Series 9 is that it has a rotisserie. To be fair, several other high-end models also have rotisseries, so like the ceramic, this feature checks the box and stays competitive.
What I think sets the DCS apart is the company behind it (Fischer Paykal) and their reputation for high-quality appliances, as well as its ease of use. We have found that it heats quickly and cooks hot, so we have to watch food to prevent overcooking.
It also comes with a smoker pan and all kinds of accessories that allow you to customize your cooking surface and experience to the foods you are preparing.
How the Estimate and Removal Went
Uff, the removal and install was eye-opening. I’m learning that I need to budget way more than I was thinking for anything that involves changing something old on this house to something new.
I worked with Damian John Installations to remove my old grill and get the new one in place. While they were a bit rigid in the scheduling process, that meant they were also very organized and professional. They were also very backed-up, with my estimate taking more than a month. In the entire process, they were the “long pole” in the tent leaving me grill-less until February when I had started this process in November.
My estimator came and looked at the old grill and the space. He had studied up on the new grill, and quickly pointed out that the way the old grill was installed was a fire hazard, with the grill sitting directly on wood rather than having a buffer between the grill and combustible materials. Not only is this unsafe, it would prevent them from installing a new grill in this same space. Ouch.
Obviously we needed to remedy this and not burn down our house, so I’m glad the problem was found. The estimator also walked me through another issue, which was that the new grill is more narrow than the old, and I learned a hard lesson that “36 inches” does not mean 36 inches to every manufacturer. Depending on how the grill is installed, the cut-out space may be several inches smaller than the total width of the grill, like the DCS is.
If you are considering a retrofit, look at the product specifications for the product you are wanting to buy. Most will have images describing the required cutout space – be sure to compare this with your existing space so you can plan appropriately!
I thought we were going to need a stonemason to come out and adjust the opening size, but in reading those pesky specifications, I learned that the DCS Series 9 grill cannot be installed within 18 inches of combustible materials, meaning that we would have to rip out the existing space and remove the cabinet currently below the grill.
DCS 36-inch Insulated Jacket
Luckily, DCS sells a matching insulated “jacket” that can sit on top of combustible materials and properly protect your space. Though this cost me $900 that I hadn’t planned on spending, it saved me from needing a stonemason to rebuild this space to work with my new grill. That bill would have been far larger than $900, so I grinned and handed over my money.
Purchasing a new product did set the project back a week or two, because shipping delays had it arriving kind of slowly, but it did fit nicely in the space and I’m confident I’m not at risk of burning the house down anymore. Woodland Direct had theirs in stock, while all other retailers I saw were backed up several weeks to several months.
Installing the DCS Series 9 Built-In Grill
The installers first removed the old grill, leaving me a frame for the jacket to slide into and for the grill to lower onto. It’s not very glamorous, but the team did a great job of making the new grill look like it existed there from the start.
We had a few questions about the trim pieces on either side of the grill and how to best make those blend in. The Damian John install team were creative, thorough, detailed, and overall I was very impressed with the service and even training on how to use the new grill!
Cleaning the DCS Series 9 Built-In Gas Grill
I’m not sure I’d rave about any grill’s cleaning process, and I don’t love cleaning my DCS Series 9 grill. You have to take off the steel plates as well as the ceramic rod pieces, so it takes a good 30+ minutes to clean both sides of all the pieces. I let them soak in dishwashing soap for a while to help with the degreasing, but it is a lot of scrubbing. It’s probably for that reason that I lean on the grill to clean itself a lot…I start it up really hot and let some of the residue burn off, then I use a cleaning tool before I put food on it. I also clean it with the brush immediately after using it.
DCS Series 9 Built-In Gas Grill Accessories
In addition to buying some additional ceramic rods to replace any that break, consider getting a cover for your grill to keep it clean when you’re not using it. DCS makes a cover that perfectly fits the Series 9. You may also need the insulated jacket to safely install your grill.
Are There any Drawbacks to the DCS Series 9 Grill?
My only complaint on the grill so far is that it is tricky to get it lit. My dad, a very experienced griller, gave it its first run while I was out running errands. He called me to say he was having trouble getting it lit. The way it works is that you push in the knob and turn it slightly, which will cause it to light up orange, letting you know gas is flowing (I love this safety feature!)
If you let go of the knob here, you will get into trouble. The starter will start to glow orange, but it won’t make a clicking sound like you might expect with gas. Nevertheless, gas is flowing if the orange light is on.
After the starter is glowing orange, you turn the knob and it should catch the flame on its own. If you let go of the knob during this warm up period, you will have to push it back in before turning it in order to trigger the grill to light. Once you know how to do it, it’s not too hard, but it does take a little practice.
Same issue with the rotisserie – there is a safety button that you hold down while going through the same process as with the other knobs, and if you let this button go too quickly, it will kill the flame. I did this several times when I was first learning how to work it.
After 2 years of using this grill, I still haven’t figured out how to light it easily. This is really the only drawback I personally experience, and I hope they fix it in a future version.
Of course, I have to mention price in the drawback category, because this is not a cheap grill. If you need the insulation jacket like I did, it will add almost $1000 to your total, and then with installation, you’re looking at even more. This is for people making an investment in their outdoor kitchen, not someone wanting to cook some burgers and dogs once in a while.
The nice thing about the price, though, is that DCS sets the price across all their retailers, so you will be getting the same price regardless of where you purchase from.
I have seen reviews that the stainless steel parts have rusted for some people. After 2 years, I have not had this problem, and I live in the Pacific Northwest, which is a very wet climate. I do get some mold on the interior if I don’t meticulously clean it, but this happened with my previous grill as well and it doesn’t have anything to do with the grill itself.
Final Thoughts on the DCS Series 9 Built-In Grill
Overall, I love this grill. I love the cooking surface area, which is going to make meal prep for the week super fast. I envision a lot of grilled chicken breasts happening on here for healthy lunches and dinners. If you’re looking for a new high-end, built-in gas grill, the DCS Series 9 is one you won’t regret.
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