LG LSRG309ST review: LG's adaptable gas range gives you too many cooking options
At $1,999, the LG Studio Gas Range with Evenjet Convection System (LSRG309ST) is a bit of an outsider. It's a few hundred bucks over the midprice average, but it isn't quite expensive enough to be considered full-on premium. Given that, I'd expect it to have a bit more to offer than the models we've reviewed recently, like the $1,699 Samsung NX58F5700 .
Unfortunately, the only extras it seems to tack on are an inordinate number of oven and warming drawer racks, one of which I still can't figure out how/why/when to use. I do like that it comes with a griddle and a broiler pan, but all of the other stuff doesn't quite justify that $2,000 price tag. That's especially true considering that the Samsung NX58F5700 had more features, better performance and comparable looks (for $300 less). Get the LSRG309ST if you can find it on sale. Otherwise, I'd go with the NX58F5700.
A range apart
Let's face it; ranges aren't the most exciting thing to shop for. Manufacturers seem to slap on stainless steel finishes and call it a day, making it hard to distinguish one brand's metallic appliance from the next. For that reason, small details can go a long way toward making a range stand out.
Fortunately, this LG model has that little extra dose of design appeal.
Like Samsung's NX58F5700, larger burner knobs and a sleekified touchscreen display panel give the LSRG309ST a slight professional edge. Otherwise, it would look exactly like the LRG3085ST, a less expensive LG range with similar options.
|LG LSRG309ST||Electrolux EI30GF35JS||Samsung NX58F5700||LG LRG3085ST||GE PGB920SEFSS||Whirlpool WEG730H0DS||KitchenAid KGRS306BSS|
|Oven size (in cu. ft.)||5.4||5.0||5.8||5.4||5.6||5.8||5.8|
|Cooktop output, in BTUs||5,000 to 19,000||5,000 to 18,000||5,000 to 18,000||5,000 to 17,000||5,000 to 19,000||5,000 to 17,000||5,000 to 17,000|
The problem is that the LSRG309ST doesn't have many other distinguishing characteristics.
Compared with many less expensive models, it has a smaller oven and fewer features. Specifically, its oven has a 5.4-cubic-foot capacity, while the Samsung NX58F5700, the Whirlpool WEG730H0DS and the KitchenAid KGRS306BSS all have 5.8-cubic-foot ovens. It's also missing advanced features like the NX58F5700's defrost and dehydrate modes or the WEG730h0DS's frozen bake mode.
In fact, the only thing that separates the pricier LSRG309ST from the pack are its myriad accessories. This gas range comes with a griddle, a broiler pan, two flat racks, one split rack and two smaller racks. The griddle, broiler pan and flat racks were very welcome accessories that made it easier to cook a variety of foods. While those are all useful, I was truly perplexed by the split rack, as well as the two smaller racks.
A quick online search showed that I wasn't the only one. In fact, a customer who had purchased a different LG range (model number LRG3097ST), asked the following question in LG's online forum:
"My husband is in the kitchen installing our new LRG3097ST as I ask this. I read the manual cover to cover and I don't see an explanation on what the split rack is for. What is it for and how do I use it?I can't wait to see it in action!"
This is one of the responses, presumably from a customer service representative:
"The split rack, for this oven, is designed to allow more baking room in the oven, while at the same time, allowing the baking of larger items. Place the larger (taller) item on a full rack, remove half of the split rack to allow it room, and then you may bake a smaller item on the remaining half rack. If you have additional questions, please contact our Customer Interactive Center at 800-243-0000."
Hm. I guess that makes sense, but any oven rack that requires explanation would probably just end up collecting dust in my kitchen. Of course, you can always comment below if you regularly use a split rack or can think of a potential use for one.
Burgers, burgers everywhere
If you're looking to satisfy your burger craving, LG's LSRG309ST is definitely up to the task. This oven operates on a closed-door broil system and delivers a pretty even supply of direct heat. That ensures that bigger batches of burgers are cooked to a similar degree of doneness. This model even comes with its own broiler pan, so you have no excuse not to try it out for yourself.
Although it cooks evenly, it isn't the fastest broiler we've encountered. On average, it took 18 minutes and 54 seconds to broil six 5.3-ounce burgers to 145 degrees. That isn't great, but Whirlpool's gas WEG730H0DS took the longest by far at over 24 minutes.
The chart above shows that the gas ranges we've tested so far tend to take longer than their electric counterparts, with the exception of the KitchenAid KGRS306BSS -- this impressive gas model beat its gas and electric competition at 14 minutes and 37 seconds.
Fortunately, LG's burgers tasted good, so there's not much to worry about here unless you really want a quick broiler.
After broiling, I tested the LSRG309ST's convection roast mode with a preseasoned pork tenderloin. This was simple enough. I repositioned one of the racks to the center of the oven, preheated it to 450 degrees (I relied on this Kitchn recipe for the cooking instructions), dropped the tenderloin on a roasting pan and voila.
It turned out pretty well, if not a little dry. But I won't blame the oven for that, so much as the internal temperature readings -- my goal was 145 degrees, but it topped out at closer to 155-160 degrees after it rested.
Some of the gas models we've reviewed had surprising multirack bake results; this oven was much more predictable. Its traditional mode top and bottom rack biscuits (shown above on the top row) weren't very uniform, while its convection mode top and bottom rack biscuits looked pretty even. I'd definitely stick with convection bake when you're dealing with more than one rack at a time.
It was much tougher to distinguish between traditional and convection mode during the single rack testing. But, if that's the case -- and there's no situation where traditional bake mode excels -- why is it still such a common oven feature? I mean, this LG range has only one roasting mode and it's convection roast. It only seems reasonable to question the value of traditional bake mode, too.
Either way, this oven's single and multirack biscuits turned out fine.
If all of this tasty oven testing wasn't enough, I also gave the LSRG309ST's griddle a try. Instead of just resting on top of the burner grates, handy built-in notches secure it in place. That keeps this heavy accessory from sliding around while it's in use, but regular "griddlers" can also comfortably leave it on the cooktop year-round. That's certainly better than having to lift cumbersome cast iron every time you want to make pancakes.
Speaking of food, I cooked a package of plain ol' hot dogs on this griddle. The 8,000-BTU oval burner maintained a nice even heat throughout and the hot dogs tasted great. And, the handles make it easy to grip if you do want to stow it until next time -- or give it a quick clean.
The LSRG309ST's powerful 19,000-BTU burner was very helpful during this 5-quart test. Even so, it still took 12 minutes and 41 seconds for the water to reach a rolling boil. That isn't bad, but the Electrolux EI30GF35JS and Samsung NX58F5700 -- which both max out at 18,000 BTUs -- were faster.
The LRG3085ST, a similar LG model that's about $350 less expensive, got the worst performance score yet at over 15 minutes.
The small burner test was pretty disappointing. At 17 minutes and 44 seconds, the LSRG309ST got the lowest overall score, although the LRG3085ST wasn't far behind. Given that this is the most expensive gas range we've tested yet, I definitely expected it to do better.
But, both the LSRG309ST and the LRG3085ST have 9,100-BTU burners, while many of the midprice models we've reviewed have more powerful 9,500-BTU burners.
LG's $1,999 LSRG309ST has a lot going for it. It looks quasi-premium, it's easy to use, you get all of the basic features plus a proof mode for making bread and it comes with a whole mess of accessories. That said, it didn't have any standout performance results and it costs about $300 more than it should.
The $1,699 Samsung NX58F5700 is comparable to the LSRG309ST in many ways, but performed better and came with additional cooking modes, like defrost and dehydrate. Yes, the LSRG309ST is a very good range, but I don't think its extra oven racks are enough to justify the added expense.