Saturday, November 10, 2012

Article: New GE Profile Gas Range Comes With a Pleasant Surprise

The GE Profile gas range makes its debut in my kitchen
For those of you who follow this blog, you're probably used to me complaining about my electric glass-top range, the Frigidaire Gallery. Well, the kitchen gods have smiled upon me (or at least smirked): The Frigidaire is dead!

The glass-top range had been basically new when we moved into the house 8 years ago... but my years of restaurant work meant I was always secretly planning for a gas range (while my wife may never believe me, I didn't actually sabotage the glass-top).

My primary complaint about the glass-top electric was that the stovetop burners were completely unresponsive to having the heat turned down. It was literally impossible to cook simple foods like pasta, oatmeal, and rice—without standing there the whole time shuffling the pot between on and off burners. If you left the pot on a recently-turned-to-low burner for even a minute, it would boil over and make a mess.

I toyed with the idea of getting a "real" stove... a commercial range like a Wolf or a Vulcan. But those typically come in 36-inch widths, and I wasn't up for an extensive kitchen remodel just now. Having to move the gas line from the old range location was enough hassle.

Having settled on a household range, I hopped on Consumer Reports to do some research. I  found two likely contenders: the GE Profile and the LG LRG3097ST.

The convection oven will probably never
again be so clean!
My primary selection criteria were high heat and low heat. I wanted enough BTU output to sear foods and boil water without waiting all day. Even more important, I wanted to be able to simmer foods at very low temperatures without burning delicate sauces or making boilover messes.

The GE Profile and the LG LRG3097ST are at the top of their class on both high heat and low heat. They both feature convection ovens, stainless steel finish (to match my other appliances), and decently-rated broilers—which are usually not as good on gas models compared to electric. I also wanted continuous grates on the cooktop to make sliding around heavy pans (like, you know, cast iron) easier.

I had a slight preference for the LG range since it had two high capacity (~17,000 BTU) burners versus only one on the GE model. But when I learned that LG needed to re-tool a factory and wouldn't have them available for weeks, the GE (which could be delivered in 2 days) won out.

A real Lodge cast iron griddle was a nice surprise
The GE Profile has five burners, with the middle burner having an elongated shape. This should come in handy when using my oval enameled dutch oven. It also comes with a custom-shaped griddle that fits inside the four outer burners in a tapering, curved pattern. I was sure this griddle would be some teflon-coated piece of junk that I'd never use. Imagine my surprise when I unwrapped a Lodge cast iron griddle!

After getting things hooked up and tested, I was ready to rock. I gave the griddle a scrub with hot soapy water, rinsed it thoroughly, coated it in organic canola oil, and gave it a good oven seasoning.

While I've only used the new range a handful of times, I've found the central griddle to be perfect for cowboy eggs, french toast, and quesadillas. I was also able to cook the boys' morning oatmeal on a nice low simmer with no boilovers.

I'll keep you informed as I use it more and discover its strengths and weaknesses. For now, I'm a happy camper cooking on natural gas.

12 comments:

  1. I'm dying to replace the oven in my dad's kitchen, and that Lodge griddle does sort of seal the deal. I'll have to keep this one in mind.

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  2. I've been really happy so far... so yeah, keep it on your list!

    -D

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  3. Almost daily, I have found myself thinking about this major new addition to your life, so I am delighted to see the thing. Lovely!!! I wasn't thinking that you had committed any act of sabotage, although I firmly believe you have considered it. Glass-top electric?!?! SO NOT YOU. (Actually, your ability to live with this for 8 years is a credit to your stellar character.)

    Congratulations, Derek . . . and many years of happy cooking to you!

    Diane

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  4. Hey Diane!

    Glad to hear you approve of our new appliance... and of my stellar character. ; - )

    See you soon!

    -D

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  5. I didn't know they made these but now that I do I'm definitely putting it on my wishlist. I started using cast iron about 4 months ago and I got the Lodge and the Tramontina and I absolutely swear by them!

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  6. Hi Carlana,

    Glad to hear you are using cast iron... please let me know if you have questions about seasoning or other topics. Thanks for stopping by... and happy cooking!

    -Derek

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  7. Thanks for the review, even though I'm kind of late to the party.

    I just ordered a similar GE, with the oval gas burner and the Lodge griddle. I am looking forward to making my daughter weekend breakfasts of bacon and eggs with it.

    I've been using the All-Clad griddle from Williams Sonoma, and it's excellent. But in my small city kitchen, counter space is at a premium, so I hope this can replace it.

    Thanks again for all the work you put into this review. I appreciate it!

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    1. Hey Steve,

      You're welcome! Glad you found it useful. Hope your new range works out great... Let us know how it goes!

      -Derek

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  8. Hi, I have just gotten the GE with Lodge grill and griddle, love it , but the smell of grease seems to linger...how do you clean the grill? I had the best steaks I have ever made on it, but that was 3 days ago and I can still smell them when I walk in the house by the stove...thanks

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    1. Hi Mommiemole,

      I clean the griddle the same way I clean all of my cast iron… with hot water and a plastic scrubber. I then dry it with heat and give it a light coating of oil. I know some folks leave food residue on their cast iron as "seasoning," but I've never followed that approach. Did you give the griddle a good scrubbing with hot water?

      Please let me know (and if so, we'll see what else we can try). Thanks!

      -Derek

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  9. How the heck do you keep that griddle clean? I NEVER need to switch,so the "Griddle in the Middle" is the resident beast. I line it with foil when I get that far in cleaning. Seems lame, do you know of a silicon cover for this model?

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    1. Howdy,

      Not aware of a silicone (or other) cover for the griddle. I also don't seem to have too much trouble keeping mine clean. Is it getting dirty from lots of use? Or is it just the place where dirty cooking spoons always get set? Or are we talking about splatter?

      Thanks!

      -Derek

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