Wednesday, October 30, 2013

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The Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven Makes Delicious Home Cooked Meals in Less Time Than a Standard Full-Size Oven


Thank you to KitchenTek for providing a complimentary sample Wolfgang Puck Oven for us to base this pressure oven review upon. All opinions expressed are my own.

We lead a very busy life. Actually, that's quite an understatement.  We actually lead a crazy, hectic, and non-stop busy life. I don’t ever remember being this busy when I was younger and my mother always seemed to have time to prepare a proper dinner for us. As a parent myself today, I simply do not know how she did it.  Any tools, tips, or tricks that can help my wife and I prepare a quality dinner are welcome in our home. It is not uncommon to reach 6pm and we are still figuring out what we are going to do for dinner! Well, recently we were introduced to a tool that could potentially help us prepare a home cooked meal for my family in a shorter amount of time. I was instantly interested.

We were sent the Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven to try for ourselves. As excited as I was to try such a nice oven, I was equally skeptical of the oven's key feature: Pressurization. That's right, the Wolfgang Puck oven seals and cooks with pressure. I was intrigued and cynical at the same time.

I understood the concept of cooking with pressure and knew that it works, but in an oven? Once I opened the oven up and placed it on the counter I knew right away this was no gimmick. The Wolfgang Puck Oven is a serious and solidly built machine. The all stainless steel construction has a handsome and professional look.

This pressure oven is more than just a pressurized oven.  It is also a rotisserie and can be used to replace your toaster. You can use the oven as a regular un-pressurized oven as well. The oven comes with all the drip pans, racks, crumb trays, and meat skewers needed to use all the features of the oven, although it would have been a wonderful bonus for a mini cookie sheet to be included. The unit even comes with removable handles to use in removing the racks and trays from inside the hot oven.

The operation of the oven is simple and intuitive. Although you could probably figure out how to use the oven without reading the manual, I highly advise reading it, even for experienced cooks. When dealing with high heat and pressurization, you can never be too careful. I certainly learned some important safety items in the manual that I may not have figured out on my own. For instance, the oven needs to be run through a 30 minute cooking cycle before the first use in order to burn off any coatings or oils applied during manufacturing. The oven also gets very hot on the outside and needs to be at least 3 inches from everything all around, even in the back. I made sure my children stayed far clear of the oven when it was in use.  The oven has a pressure release valve on the top that lets out extra gasses to control the pressure and to release it all when the cooking cycle is done.

Now for the big question: Does it work? Did the Wolfgang Puck Oven cook our food well and save us time? The short answer is yes, cooking with pressure saved a great deal of time and the food was delicious.

We chose to try a roast and some sliced baby red potatoes to test the oven. I decided to cook the potatoes earlier in the day as they can take quite a bit of time to cook (and honestly I had no idea what to expect). Although the oven comes with a recipe and cooking instruction book, I did not have instructions for potatoes so I had to wing it. I decided to set the temperature at 350 and the timer at 60 minutes. As it turns out, I was lucky and nailed it with those settings, the potatoes were cooked to perfection. Nice and roasted on the outside and soft on the inside. One hour roasted potatoes? Win.

We bought a 4 pound rump roast to rotisserie. I prepared the meat simply by drying it off and rubbing salt and pepper into it. I really wanted to see if the oven could make the meat taste better than a non-pressurized oven so I didn't want to complicate the taste with lots of other flavorings. The instructions called for 1.2 hours at 450 degrees for a 5-6 pound roast. I decided to leave the temperature at 450 but cut the time to 60 minutes for my smaller roast.

I should mention at this time that I have no idea how I could have fit a 6 pound roast in the oven as my 4-pounder was as wide as it could have been while still fitting (it was shaped like a giant meatball). I guess a thinner and longer roast would work at that weight. I should also mention that I had never used a rotisserie to cook anything before either!

How did I do? It came out nearly perfect. I was stunned that I could cook a roast in an hour. In my regular oven it would have taken 2.5 -3 hours depending on how I wanted it to come out. My roast was unusually round so the middle was a bit more rare than my family likes it, but still nicely cooked if you like your beef rare. The outer edges were ever so slightly overcooked.  If I were to do a roast again today, I would choose a longer and thinner, but heavier roast and used the same settings because the exterior of the roast would not be as close to the heating elements. So, now I know and my next roast in the pressure oven is going to be the best I have ever had.

The Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven is not tiny, but it is not that big either. You will NOT be preparing a turkey in this oven. But the Pressure Oven is a nice size to supplement your existing oven or to be used as a specialty oven for roasts or what have you. You can bake with it, but you would only be able to bake 6 cookies at a time. I can see the oven used for loaves of various kinds.  The oven can also be used as a 6 slice toaster oven, so you can get rid of your current toaster oven, saving some counter space (a precious commodity in my home).

Overall the Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven works. I am excited that I can prepare perfectly cooked meat in the same time it takes to order takeout. If you want to roast a chicken you don’t need to plan it a day in advance, you can cook it 3 times faster in this oven. Side dishes like veggies or potatoes cook 30% faster and turn out delicious.

If you are as busy as we are, then I know you would appreciate the Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven's fast cooking times and quality results. The construction is solid, the operation is simple, and it looks great. At $299.95 the Wolfgang Puck Oven is an investment, but if you appreciate properly cooked food in a short amount of time you will think it is worth it. Rotisserie is now on my families menu!

This oven would make the perfect Holiday gift for someone with a busy lifestyle or someone who needs multiple ovens to prepare more than one food item at once.  You can learn more about the Wolfgang Puck Oven at www.puckoven.com, where you can watch the oven in action in their video library and order a pressure oven of your very own.  You can also find ideas and tips for using the Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and YouTube.