My Mexican Stove Revisited

(Post 51 of 233. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

One of the most frequent post requests I get, usually from someone on a Mexico expat forum who stumbled on the post, is an update on the range I bought at the end of December of 2017. Do I still stand by that post? Is that information still relevant?

In the months after I bought my range, I was so disappointed with it because it never generated enough heat to cook properly. I really regretted not buying a really good stovetop and complementing that with a high-end toaster oven. But it turned out that the regulator on the propane tank on the roof needed to be replaced! What convinced my landlady to have the regulator looked at is that I bought an oven thermometer to prove that the oven really wasn’t getting very hot no matter how long I ran it.

Once the regulator was changed and I started to use the stove again, my satisfaction increased and I grew more bold in the recipes I attempted because the range was finally hitting the right temperatures.

That said, it’s not a great range, there are tons of issues with it, but it does what I need it to do, so I can ignore those faults. The thermometer plays a huge role in that — you can’t really get an exact temperature with a gas range that leaks heat, but for the recipes I make (I’m not much of a baker, for one thing), just knowing for sure that the oven is at a minimum temperature before adding the food makes such a difference. The egg rolls I treated myself to tonight needed to be cooked 20 minutes at 425 or to come up to an internal temperature of about 170F. I popped the tray in the oven when the oven was at about 400F and 20 minutes later, the oven read about 450F and my egg rolls were perfectly done. I’ve also successfully made cakes and bread in it, and I can actually roast a joint of meat or make sweet potato fries without it taking all day!

The biggest issues are cosmetic. It doesn’t have a high quality finish. As you can see in the pictures, it’s staining and rusting. I’m someone who really uses her stove multiple times daily and I can’t be bothered to dismantle it every single night to clean it. Even if I was, I don’t think that would have helped with this range. Regular cleaning is just scratching it and wearing off the finish. Some people would go so far as to cover the stovetop with aluminium foil to protect it, but I find that so wasteful. A stove is meant to be used, not kept pristine!

My other issue is, of course, with the oven, which leaks heat like a sieve. I can’t even open the door without wearing my Ove Gloves!

This is me NOT touching the oven after it had been preheating for ten minutes!

The important thing is that the cast iron grills are holding up well to my using heavy cast iron pans on it. I know that the thinner wire grills of a less expensive stove would have had to be replaced by now. I have rubbed the finish off parts of the grills and they do have some rust, but they still do their job perfectly.

I love having the six burners and, yes, I do sometimes use all six at once, but mostly, I like to be able to have two large pots going at once at opposite corners. I mostly use the middle two burners for the comal that came with the range.

It’s funny how I never used it when I first got the range, but I use it almost daily now that the range gets to temperature. I get a much better Maillard reaction on meat with it than I do in my cast iron pan, it’s ideal for roasting chiles and onions, and I can make double the amount of my favourite banana pancakes at one time with it than I can in my largest frying pan.

One of the reasons I picked this range is that it has a broiler compartment. That has worked great! I will sometimes cook small batches of things in the broiler compartment instead of the oven because the temperature is more even in there and things cook faster. Plus, I get a lovely brown crust on the top!

I’m surprised that the range’s only two little fancy extras, an oven light and an automatic lighter for the burners (oven needs to be lit manually), still work well. I was so used to lighting my burners with a BBQ lighter in my RV that I never dreamed of how lovely it would be to turn on the gas, push a button, and just like that, have a flame!

So would I buy this range again if I could go back to December of ’17 and have all the knowledge that I have now about how it performs? If I was on the same budget, the answer is an unequivocal yes because of how informed I was at the time of purchase. I’m really glad I did not go with a stovetop and toaster oven! So, yes, that post is still relevant and, yes, I still stand by it. 🙂