Tuesday, August 16

I used a smart oven to throw a full Thanksgiving party – this is how it went

Can I cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner with just one kitchen appliance? I figured if the single appliance was smart enough, I could throw a fabulous Christmas feast for four in my little apartment.

I skipped smart appliances in my DIY smart home renovation. But I spend a lot of time in a separate city dwelling. There, I don’t have the fancy Frigidaire appliance suite or Alexa-enabled faucet that my parents installed in their newly smart kitchen a few months ago. I don’t have much space either, but I’ve maximized my culinary capabilities with the June Oven, a 12-in-1 smart convection oven that allows me to channel my inner celebrity chef without the showroom-quality setup.

Measuring 19.6 x 19 x 12.75 inches, the June oven is truly the only Countertop appliance for which I have space in my galley kitchen. But it replaces the best toaster ovens, slow cookers, deep fryers, and more. Plus, it preheats significantly faster than my old built-in convection oven. Not to mention, I can preheat it from my phone.

As a lover of high-tech cookware, I’m no stranger to app-enabled controls and other convenience features. However, the June Oven is by far the most ambitious device I have ever tried in my kitchen. Fortunately, I’m ambitious too, so I wanted to host Thanksgiving this year using this smart oven and its various settings to make a traditional Christmas meal. Leaving nothing to chance, I tried to cook everything a week before. That was how it was.

Puff pastry baked brie bites

(Image credit: future)

I once did a different kind of “smart” Christmas food challenge. During the Alexa vs Google Assistant: Which is the best helper for Thanksgiving dinner? Showdown, I compared how each voice assistant’s smart screens presented recipes for baked puff pastry brie, my signature appetizer. Alexa won in creativity, but Google Assistant was also enough.

Open to trying something new (new meaning of something I saw in Tik Tok) I opted for deep fryer baked brie cheese sandwiches to kick off the holiday meal marathon. June Oven can act as one of the best air fryers using fast air circulation from the built-in fans. After coating the mini brie wheels with a dollop of blueberry jam and wrapping them in an egg washed puff pastry, I placed them in the June oven basket attachment.

A collection of adorable sticky cheese bags came out protected by a delicate, flaky batter. These brie bites are the best amuse-bouche, and after air frying them in the June oven, I don’t think I’ll ever make them any different again.

Marshmallow Sweet Potato Casserole

(Image credit: future)

While the sweet potato casserole is a polarizing Thanksgiving accessory, it’s a tradition and an excuse to gorge on marshmallows for dinner. I baked peeled and diced yams in the June oven, then mashed them with an outrageous amount of butter and brown sugar.

Then it was time for the show. When you put marshmallows in the oven, you should watch them closely, as they can go from a burnt brown to a charred black in seconds. Luckily June Oven has a top view camera so I was able to keep an eye on my sweet potato coverage on my smartphone. In less than two minutes on the broil setting, I watched my hollyhocks reach golden perfection, as if they were broiled over an open fire and not in my apartment kitchen. I think the ultra-satisfying time-lapse recording provided by the app impressed more than the actual flavor of the dish, although the casserole certainly delivered a fall-flavored decadence.

Turkey breast with garlic and herbs

(Image credit: future)

I admit, I am not a great turkey person in terms of cooking or consumption. When it’s just my nuclear family spending Thanksgiving together, we usually buy a turkey breast instead of the whole bird. The turkey breast that I bought at Trader Joe’s would have been ideal for June Oven’s chicken coop feature if it weren’t precooked. Sue me, this shortcut is so it’s worth it.

June also has a partnership with Trader Joes (so does the Brava Smart Oven), so if you buy select prepackaged foods from that store, the oven knows how to prepare it right. My garlic herb butter bone-in turkey breast wasn’t on the menu, but with the reheat setting and internal thermometer dongle, I could track the piece of meat as it warmed up for dinner.

I kept it covered for half the heating time, then removed the wrapped foil, allowing the skin to color and get crispy in the oven. At counter height, opening the appliance door to spray a juicy bird felt a lot safer than sticking your head inside a standard floor-standing convection oven, too. I noticed that the internal temperature of the June Oven didn’t vary much in the app’s smart temperature chart either.

Cornbread filling

(Image credit: future)

Stuffing, dressing, whatever you call it, the carb concoction you serve with turkey is my favorite Thanksgiving dish. On actual Thanksgiving, I’ll make it from scratch with stale bread, mirepoix, and my homemade soup broth. But for this experiment, I took the route of stuffing a box in another shortcut to save time. I even splurged on the cornbread variety.

I loaded a soggy mix of breadcrumbs and packaged seasonings into a casserole dish and let the June oven do the work. Knowing that the app would alert me when it’s ready, I finally walked away for the best part of the holiday, the drinks. Last week I told you about my cocktail maker robot, the Drinkworks Home Bar Classic. I loaded it into an Old Fashioned pod and let the machine do the rest, as if setting up my gadget wasn’t easy enough. I took a sip of my smoked drink until the filling was finished, at which point it was finally time for dinner.

Can a single smart oven make Thanksgiving dinner?

In addition to the dishes detailed above, I made roasted green beans and cut sugar cookies in the June oven. In addition to the sauce simmered in a saucepan, all the food materialized in the smart oven. Now when I organize the actual Thanksgiving Day, I know I don’t need to depend on my mediocre rental appliances to make the delicious Christmas magic come true.

Yes, I took a few shortcuts, but it’s not a bad thing. The whole point of operating in the world of IoT is to work smarter, not harder, right? Everything on the table still tasted delicious, and with the energy saved, he could enjoy being a host. At the very least, I’ll have time for a pre-dinner cocktail with my family. And if I fill up on charcuterie mid-prep (those brie bites are extremely addictive, after all), the June oven can toast baguettes for hearty leftover sandwiches the next day.


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