Profile Of A BBQ Legend, Surjit Kalsi

Surjit Kalsi is to cooking what Chevy is to NASCAR. You may never have heard his name before, but he's the genius behind putting professional quality ranges into homes around the world. Kalsi was recently inducted into the National Kitchen and Bath Association Hall of Fame for "changing the face of the appliance industry." (Yes, the NKBA exists, and now we want to be inducted into its Hall of Fame too!)

Since we're in the midst of grilling season we thought it only apropos to chat with the grilling genius behind Capital performance grills, since he is credited with developing the world's first all-stainless steel outdoor barbeque. Recently, we picked his phenomenal brain about grills and he shared his thoroughly researched results on gas vs. charcoal.

Grill folklore has it they thought you were actually thrown out of the office of a prominent distributor when you first presented your idea for an outdoor stainless steel barbeque.

Very true. I explained how this would be the first stainless steel outdoor unit. I told him it would cost $3,000 and he said, "Get out." He told me to redesign it for $500 and he would consider. I was not discouraged. I went down the street and tried another. This time the response was, "This is what I have been looking for all my life. I'll take 20."

Against the odds you were a BBQ cowboy. How'd it go after the first 20?

They sold like crazy and the next order was for 200. We couldn't build them fast enough.

So what's your take on gas vs. charcoal?

It's a myth that there is a difference in taste from gas to electric heat. The only thing that imparts taste to meat is the smoke. Fat melts and creates smoke and smoke produces taste. This has been proved by the ancient Indian cooking method of Tandoori, the clay oven. You can do Tandoori on natural gas or propane gas and still get the same flavor. This disproves it is the charcoal; it's the smoke that imparts that special flavor.

How much does one need to get one of these Capital grills in their backyard?

The 30-inch starts at a little under $5K and it goes up to the 52-inch, which is about $7,200. Remember, performance is key. I created these grills to impart the most intense heat, using a unique patented system of radiant heat and ceramic rods encased in stainless-steel perforated sheet metal.

Whoa, so what does that mean for our burgers and steaks?

They will be the best.

Okay, fess up. Do you have a Capital Grill in your yard? Are you into charcoal or gas? Talk it up in the comments.