Ovens with bells and whistles have become the norm as manufacturers attempt to reach consumers for whom cooking is more hobby than necessity. Often, these bonus features can disappoint and bog down an otherwise fine oven, so it's nice to have a little simplicity with the LG LRG4115ST, a 30-inch range that's a pared down addition to the brand's ProBake line of ovens.
The LRG4115ST doesn't have a double-oven capacity like LG's LDG4315ST or the speedy cooking modes of the LDE4415ST. Instead, LG equipped this single-oven cavity model with simple settings that won't intimidate home cooks weary of a range that has too many wonky upgrades.
The LG covers some of the basics well. Like other LG ranges I've tested, the oven's convection roast mode produces nearly perfect chicken. And the cooktop can boil water at an impressive speed, especially when you compare this LG to other gas ranges. Other essential cooking tasks, however, proved more formidable for the LRG4115ST. Biscuits bordered on burnt during my baking tests, and the broiler took its sweet time cooking hamburger patties (an average of 20 minutes, to be exact).
The LG LRG4115ST still has some work to do in perfecting its performance, especially when you consider the $1,600 price. Instead, go for a cheaper gas range with a more stable performance, such as the Kenmore 74343 or KitchenAid KGRS306BSS.
LG ranges have a slightly bulky visual profile that I've grown fond of in reviewing this company's products. Like its sister ranges, the LRG4115ST is a 30-inch wide model wrapped in stainless steel. The touchpad control panel on the back of the range contains clear, large type that indicate the buttons for the oven's cooking modes: convection and traditional bake, convection roast, broil, pizza, warm/proof, self clean and Easy Clean. Controls for the clock, cooking timer, warming drawer and oven temperature are also located on the back panel, along with the NFC (near-field communication) tag that works with LG's Smart Oven app (I discussed the abysmal app in more detail in my review of the LG LDG4315ST double-oven range).
Large cast-iron grates cover the entire cooktop, which includes four traditional round burners in each corner and an oblong burner in the center of the cooktop designed for use with an included griddle or other oblong cooking vessel. The middle burner can be useful if you often cook with a griddle, but including pots on the cooktop while the griddle is in place makes the surface feel pretty tight. The chunky knobs for the burners are located on a rounded stainless-steel panel that is slightly tilted upward, an intuitive feature that gives you a better view of which burner you are turning on or off.
The oven on this LG model boasts a cavernous 6.3-cubic-foot capacity, the most room I've seen in a single-oven gas range in the test kitchen. LG's signature ProBake convection fan is located on the back wall of the oven. This component, which other manufacturers have called pure, true or European convection, is made up of a heating element that surrounds a convection fan that warms the air as it circulates throughout the oven cavity for faster and more even baking. The window to the oven is also wide enough to give you a good view of your food as it cooks. A warming drawer located below the oven cavity rounds out the unit.
The LG LRG4115ST is an oven of extremes. When the range cooked something well, the cook times and taste were often outstanding. But when the range stumbled, it gave some of the slowest cook times and overcooked results I've seen.
Let's take a look at the roast chicken for an example of superb results.
When I cooked a chicken with the convection roast setting, the bird came out with the perfect pairing of crispy, golden skin and juicy meat. LG might not be able to match the heavenly chickens that Dacor ranges regularly produce, but the brand comes in second in terms of the reliability of its convection roast feature.
The LRG4115ST also excelled in my water-boiling tests. The extra-large burner in the front right of the cooktop boiled 112 ounces of water in an average of 10.43 minutes, a time that pummels those of most other gas ranges we've tested.
My feelings toward the LRG4115ST cooled after the other performance tests in which the range was slow and uneven. For instance, it took an average of 20.72 minutes to broil six hamburger patties until they all reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. The slow times, however, resulted in juicy burgers and very little smoke.
There was also a substantial difference in the time it took to broil each of the burgers. I broil burgers in two rows of three patties each. In the photo below, you can see how long it took each patty to reach 145 degrees F. This disparity shows that the broiler unevenly cooks food depending on its position beneath broiler. In this case, the cook times reveal that the burgers in the center and to the right cooked much faster to cook than the burgers on the left. And that burger in the bottom center that only took an average of 15.63 minutes to cook ended up being very well done while I waited for the rest of the burgers to reach the right temperature.
The ProBake convection was also disappointing. The oven automatically lowers your set temperature when you're using the convection fan to account for the more efficient heating. But when I baked two racks of biscuits while using the convection bake mode, the biscuits on the bottom rack were always browner than the ones that were higher in the oven, and they were nearly burnt around the edges. Using the convection bake feature on this range would mean more recipe tweaking to figure out the right cooking time when using more than one rack.
The oven performed better when it came to cooking biscuits for a longer amount of time in the traditional bake mode. When I baked larger biscuits for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F, they came out light brown and fluffy (though still not uniform in color).
With the LRG4115ST, LG delivers much of what we've seen in other ProBake models: uneven performance punctuated with quick boiling times and tasty chicken. Go for a simpler, cheaper gas range until LG improves the ProBake line.