Thread Number: 72645  /  Tag: Small Appliances
Is a more expensive crockpot (slow cooker) worth it?
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Post# 959848   9/29/2017 at 17:17 (360 days old) by Dermacie (my forever home (Glenshaw, PA))        

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I recently broke the top off the lid of my crock pot brand slow cooker that I have used less than a year. I seem to be hard on them and none have held up like my original one I had from the 1980s.

I am wondering if I would buy a more expensive one like an All-Clad brand one if it would last longer than a year?

I am open to suggestions on a new slow cooker!

Post# 959853 , Reply# 1   9/29/2017 at 17:38 (360 days old) by ea56 (Sonoma Co.,CA)        

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I too broke the glass id on my first Crock Pot, it was one of the first, smaller, models, I think 3 or 4 qt, size. Anyway, I just used a RevereWare lid for a 2 qt. sauce pan and it worked beautifully, problem solved. Take a look through your lids and I'll bet you can find one that will do the trick. I use my Slow cooker so seldom that one of the newer, fancier models would be a waste for me.

Post# 959857 , Reply# 2   9/29/2017 at 18:26 (360 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        
Not worth it

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Replacement glass lids can often be found on thrift store shelves.  Just measure what you have and then head out!


There's also a very good chance you'll find a perfectly good vintage slow cooker there as well, in case you'd just as soon buy one that will last a lifetime to replace your year-old Crock Pot.

Post# 959863 , Reply# 3   9/29/2017 at 18:40 (360 days old) by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

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 from a "leading" consumer reporting source  


"Prices for the slow cookers we bought in past tests ranged from $40 to $250, but the cost of the cooker didn't predict performance. Specific features helped make one slow cooker better, or more convenient, than another. The newer models feature electronic controls that let you pre-program cooking time, usually in 30-minute intervals, and that automatically switch to warm when cooking is complete.

Because there is so little difference in overall cooking performance we no longer test slow cookers or provide slow cooker Ratings. But if you're looking for buying tips, check out this guide.

Post# 959864 , Reply# 4   9/29/2017 at 18:45 (360 days old) by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

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Honestly if you just shop around at all the major retailers you're going to find a super deal on a fully featured slow cooker somewhere.. they always seem to be on sale or in the stores "clearance" area.. I got my Hamilton Beach Set & Forget with probe for about $40 on sale.. and one day in Meijer I saw big electronic Crock Pots on clearance for I think it was $25 plus an additional $5 off for something,, t hat was less than 1/3 the regular price so I bought two to give as gifts

Post# 959869 , Reply# 5   9/29/2017 at 19:19 (360 days old) by Xraytech (S.W. Pennsylvania, near Pittsb)        

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I had a newer Rival Crock Pot that I hated.
I much prefer my 70s and 80s one.
I did pick up an All Clad slow cooker at their factory sale, it is better than other new ones.

Actually I have a Brand New 80s Crock Pot I'm looking to sell if you're interested, as I see you're in Pittsburgh too

Post# 959874 , Reply# 6   9/29/2017 at 19:53 (360 days old) by Dermacie (my forever home (Glenshaw, PA))        

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I am in Pittsburgh Sam. I might see if I can find a vintage one instead.

Petek thank you for the info It is so difficult finding quality products today.

Eddy I looked on Crock-pot website and they sell a replacement lid for almost as much as a new unit lol.

Post# 959879 , Reply# 7   9/29/2017 at 20:47 (360 days old) by mikael3 (Atlanta)        

As I understand it, Rival invented the crock pot as we know it, and theirs have always performed the best for me.  I’ve worked with a Cuisinart and it was not as good as my $50 Rival—it was smaller and very heavy, and of course over $200.  I do like the newer Rivals with the time controls, which has kept from looking too hard for a vintage model.  I’m sure I’ll buy if I see one, though.

Post# 959886 , Reply# 8   9/29/2017 at 21:48 (360 days old) by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

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I don't know much about them, never really used one. We got one of the newer Rivals with the locking lid, was a freebie, but never used it.

I remember my grandmother having a West Bend model with a metal pot was separate and could either go on the stove or on the base. She loved that one but I think something happened to it and she was dismayed that she couldn't get a new one in that style.

I do frequently see the older Rival models with the brown crock from time to time at Goodwill and other places, usually in avocado green.

Remember reading that the newer models heat hotter than the old ones did. I believe it has to do with food safety and getting the food to reach the proper temperature faster, which took longer on the older ones, and trying to cook on low would have taken too long.

Post# 959914 , Reply# 9   9/30/2017 at 12:14 (359 days old) by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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I remember my grandmother having a West Bend model with a metal pot was separate and could either go on the stove or on the base.


My mother had one of these. Hers had a round pot (later West Bend models had a rectangular pot). AFAIK, she never used the pot on the stove--indeed, the only thing I can remember her using the slow cooker for was vegetable soup.


I see the pots turn up regularly at Goodwill--I suspect that they have outlasted the hot plate.


Remember reading that the newer models heat hotter than the old ones did. I believe it has to do with food safety and getting the food to reach the proper temperature faster, which took longer on the older ones, and trying to cook on low would have taken too long.


I've seen commentary along those lines in cookbooks, etc. Often there is a suggestion that if one has an older slow cooker, one should immediately rush out and upgrade to a new one for food safety.


Post# 959917 , Reply# 10   9/30/2017 at 12:24 (359 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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I have three slow cookers.  Two were made by HB, a 6-quart "Crock Watcher" from the '80s with removable crock, and a 4-quart "Crock-A-Dial" (Dominion badged) from the '70s with fixed crock, plus an oval shaped Farberware 6-quart with removable crock that's maybe 15 or so years old.  All three have the "Auto Shift" feature that starts out on high heat for a relatively short period and then bumps down to low for the remainder of the cooking time.  I use that feature a lot.


What I've found is that the Farberware seems to run hotter and cook faster than the older units.  We gave Dave's daughter and SIL a slow cooker for a gift several years ago, but I don't remember the make.  It had hasps to hold the lid down for traveling, and a snap mechanism to store the included spoon/ladle on the top cover.   Per their feedback, it sounded like it behaved similarly to the Farberware.  I'm tending to think newer versions run hotter across the board.  Perhaps their crocks aren't as thick or are made from different materials than the vintage ones.


So, if you want the low and slow performance of a vintage cooker, you'd be better off finding one of those than buying new, plus, unless you like the rigamarole of getting a new one with a fancy control panel to start cooking, the ease-of-use factor with vintage is superior.



Post# 959918 , Reply# 11   9/30/2017 at 12:37 (359 days old) by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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I'm tending to think newer versions run hotter across the board.  Perhaps their crocks aren't as thick or are made from different materials than the vintage ones.


One thing I think I've noticed on Rival is that the power consumption seems higher on newer units than similar sized old units. Suggesting that the heater runs hotter. But I also would not be surprised if the crocks aren't as thick--it's a way of cutting costs for the maker...


the ease-of-use factor with vintage is superior.


True. I also wonder if older slow cookers won't outlast a new slow cooker...even if it's many years old/high miles at the time of purchase... As far as I'm concerned, Features=More Stuff To Break. Particularly on a cheap appliance.

Post# 959934 , Reply# 12   9/30/2017 at 15:57 (359 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

We only had one slow cooker, and it was a West Bend that had the rectangular pot that set on a heating base. I think I gave it away some time ago.

My sister has several, including the Rival (Avocado) she got for her first wedding in '79, when they were all the rage.

There are a couple in the church kitchen, and some of the women who make things for the church dinner bring their own filled with food. They all have removable crocks, which seem so heavy - I hate having to wash and dry them. It's also a pain transferring the contents to the steam table pans to serve.

Post# 959984 , Reply# 13   10/1/2017 at 00:28 (359 days old) by mrsalvo (New Braunfels Texas)        

In my humble opinion, Yes, I think a more expensive one is probably better. I bought a "Crock Pot" from Wal-Mart last year, VERY CHEAP. I swear the outer metal is so thin, you can burn yourself easily. It cooks much hotter than another older one I have, that's also heavier. Have to be more careful in cleaning it also. The pot lifts out, and I throw it into the dishwasher. If a recipe calls for, say 5 hours on high, I usually cut cooking time to around 4 hours as the temp's are hotter. Low settings cook much faster as well.

Have been thinking of disposing it actually, it's so flimsy and cheap it kind of scares me. There sure isn't much between the heating elements and the outer metal skin. I burned myself one day using it.

Post# 959987 , Reply# 14   10/1/2017 at 01:18 (359 days old) by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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I have my mother's old crock pot she used when I was growing up.  She bought a new one when the lid broke and just stuck this one up in the attic.  When I set up housekeeping she said I could have it if I wanted it and maybe I could find a lid for it...and I did.  The crock is not removeable.  I also have two with removable crocks.  The old one does a better job but is such a PITA to clean since I can't stick it in the dishwasher...although now they have those crock pot liners.  I think the new ones get hotter in order to pass the heat from the cooker and through the crock.  The old one has the heating element embedded within the crock pottery.

Post# 960008 , Reply# 15   10/1/2017 at 07:09 (358 days old) by Xraytech (S.W. Pennsylvania, near Pittsb)        

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This is the NIB crock-pot I have to get rid of, if interested.

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 2         View Full Size
Post# 960022 , Reply# 16   10/1/2017 at 08:47 (358 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
I have my doubts as to the need for running hotter and food

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Safety on the newer ones. I suspect it has more to do with the fact that people lift the lids today during cooking and that was absolutely forbidden on the older units.

I rarely use a crockpot, I'm a pressure cooker fan. When I do, though, I always cook with something super acidic just to make sure the food doesn't spoil. I also preheat the food and cooker so get off to a boiling hot start when nobody else is in the kitchen to comment on how I'm doing it wrong.

Generally speaking, newer appliances have better safety features and are built to fail fast. Older appliances are safe, but require user intelligence. They were expensive so built to last forever. I'll stick with the older ones whenever I can.

Post# 960042 , Reply# 17   10/1/2017 at 14:25 (358 days old) by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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The old one does a better job but is such a PITA to clean since I can't stick it in the dishwasher...although now they have those crock pot liners.


I've not used a slow cooker with non-removable insert in recent memory. But I shudder at the hassle of cleaning. Dishwashers are obviously out, and I can imagine that even hand washing could be a pain.


It's interesting, because it seems like one argument for slow cookers is convenience--just toss everything in, plug it in, and forget it. And yet so many designs are less convenient come cleanup time.

Post# 960043 , Reply# 18   10/1/2017 at 14:27 (358 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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I have a "Fiesta" brand, whatever the hell is that.  I use it occasionally.  It doesn't heat evenly across the crock.  Once tried a cake recipe, it burned on one side, mooshy on the other.  Works OK for casseroles, soups, roasts, etc.

Post# 960047 , Reply# 19   10/1/2017 at 14:46 (358 days old) by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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As for running hot for food safety, I can't comment except that I've read commentary about modern slow cookers running hot for food safety. This isn't Internet commentary--I've seen this in articles and books. But, of course, the writer may not have the right answer. Or the writer may be working with some information purposely given by a slow cooker maker in hopes of it going into print and frightening people into buying a new slow cooker...



Post# 960051 , Reply# 20   10/1/2017 at 14:53 (358 days old) by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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Generally speaking, newer appliances have better safety features


Generally speaking, maybe, but I've heard too many horror stories about cheap modern appliances starting fires...


If buying new, I wonder if it wouldn't make sense buying a recognizable name. Even if the "name" no longer actually exists as an independent company. Theory: there is value in those names, and so safety might be important. And if something goes wrong, there will probably be a recall. Meanwhile, a name you never heard of before has less to lose...

Post# 960057 , Reply# 21   10/1/2017 at 15:14 (358 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Crock pot liners are the bomb!  They make the most sense for vintage cookers that don't have a removable crock.   That having been stated, my Crock-A-Dial has a non-removable cord and while I don't immerse the thing, I also don't worry too much if the exterior gets wet during the process of washing the interior.  It's managing the rest of the power cord while washing that's a PITA.


I end up washing removable crocks by hand too if I haven't used a liner because even my Miele can't get every bit of crusty residue off. 


I'm with Keven, though.  I tend to use a pressure cooker more often than a slow cooker.  I'm the world's worst meal planner, and am more last minute about putting dinner on the table.  Getting dinner going before I've even had my morning coffee just doesn't happen very often.

Post# 960071 , Reply# 22   10/1/2017 at 15:49 (358 days old) by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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I'm the world's worst meal planner, and am more last minute about putting dinner on the table.


I seldom use slow cookers. I am thinking the last time I used one was probably nearly two years ago. Part of it is just that I'm not in the habit, I guess, and never have been. One tends to use the old and familiar cooking methods--at least I do. But slow cookers are also a problem in that I tend these days to cook fast/last minute meals.


Of course, I hear a lot about slow cookers from people who tell me about the wonders of slow cookers as if they were imparting some sort of strange, magical, unknown wisdom. I get a bit tired of this--yes, I know they exist. (I am talking about people here I know in daily life. I don't mind conversations about slow cooker meals or the neat vintage slow cooker someone found.)


I've never used a pressure cooker, but it's on my "someday" list...


This post was last edited 10/01/2017 at 17:53
Post# 960094 , Reply# 23   10/1/2017 at 19:05 (358 days old) by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

The newest one I have has a lid that clamps-down for travel. A very useful feature when you bring the soup.
However, this unit runs HOT.

Since I have noticed it I have heard a number of people with this model who are having the same experience.
I think I prefer a model with more moderate "keep warm" heat.

Would a more expensive model made a difference?

Post# 960095 , Reply# 24   10/1/2017 at 19:07 (358 days old) by kimball455 (Cape May, NJ)        

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Seldom use a crock pot. In fact, it is not been off the shelf in close to 2 years. About the only thing I used it for in the past was to hold pulled pork made in the pressure cooker. This year I just left everything in the pressure cooker (electric version) and use that at the annual summer block party. Worked great and I did not have always messy problem of transferring from pressure cooker to crock pot. Pressure cooker has a heavy stainless steel insert that goes in the dishwasher.

It will most likely be yard sale material in the spring yard sale season at the shore.


Post# 960098 , Reply# 25   10/1/2017 at 19:34 (358 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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I have a '50s-'60s Nesco "full range" 6-quart roaster with porcelain enamel coated metal insert.  I prefer to use it as a slow cooker for certain things because the insert is so much lighter and easier to handle, and isn't like a 500-lb gorilla in the dishwasher, although as mentioned above, I can't always trust the dishwasher to render satisfactory results with slow cooker inserts.

Post# 960220 , Reply# 26   10/2/2017 at 11:46 (357 days old) by mrb627 (Buford, GA)        
Crock Pot / Slow Cooker

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I currently have three. Two are Rivals and the other brand escapes me at the moment. All various sizes used for specific tasks. I could not live without them. I wouldn't spend more than say 40 bucks on one. My oldest one was purchased around 1998 and gets the most use. They are invaluable to a single person household.


Post# 960229 , Reply# 27   10/2/2017 at 13:13 (357 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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Seems like Crock Pots or Slow Cookers have come a long way...

My RIVAL has gone to one appliance that I'd never used to used tremendously, to wondering if ti's time to upgrade to one that is more automatic & in less need of tending to than my current one that still works well for me...

-- Dave

Post# 960230 , Reply# 28   10/2/2017 at 13:17 (357 days old) by mrb627 (Buford, GA)        

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I would avoid an electronically controlled model.
They limit you to a maximum cooking time, and if you lose power for a minute or two, it could remain turned off. It is a simple device and shouldn't require n electronic brain to complete it's task.

Just my opinion.


Post# 960238 , Reply# 29   10/2/2017 at 14:04 (357 days old) by RevvinKevin (So. Cal.)        

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I have a basic "Crock-Pot" brand 5 qt. model with removable insert an "off-low-high" switch, that's probably 16 years old(?) now.  I've only used it a handful of times, that is, to start it before leaving for work to cook something for dinner.  This is because I've mostly tried chicken dishes and they all say "5-6 hours", but by the time I get home it's often 9-10 hours.  I don't want a pot of "chicken mush" for dinner, LOL.  


I'm sure it's ideal for cooking beef, but I rarely eat beef for dinner.  I'm also pretty sure they work great for pork too and while I do love pork, I've yet to try it in the crock pot.  I have used it numerous times to heat & serve (or just serve) food at parties and that works quite well. 


Re: The subject of food safety.  Every time I do use it, I always start it on high for 10-15 minutes, then turn it to low.  I want to reduce the amount of time meats stay at "unsafe" temps as much as possible.



Post# 960241 , Reply# 30   10/2/2017 at 14:46 (357 days old) by dermacie (my forever home (Glenshaw, PA))        

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Malcolm made a good point about power failure on a fancy one. That could make a tragedy out of dinner for sure.

Post# 960252 , Reply# 31   10/2/2017 at 15:59 (357 days old) by RevvinKevin (So. Cal.)        

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Depending on how often you experience power outages.....


=      =      =       = 


The last power failure in my area I know of happened sometime last year, during the night while I was sleeping.  It must not have been out long because out of 5 clocks, I only had to reset the microwave.

Post# 960296 , Reply# 32   10/2/2017 at 20:47 (357 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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I've had the earlier version of Pete's Hamilton Beach "Set and Forget" slow cooker with temp probe for about 10 years now.

It's simply a "Stay or Go" with temp probe. I'm not sure if it operates any differently than the "Set and Forget" model, but it does look a bit different. I suspect the only significant difference is that the later version has a rear hinged locking lid, while the earlier one has a more traditional style lid with added clamps at the sides. Not sure which one I'd prefer.

I've used it numerous times to make roast/pulled pork, and it does very well with that. I'm a big fan of the temp probe idea, it can take a lot of the guesswork out of slow cooking larger cuts of meat.

Post# 960307 , Reply# 33   10/2/2017 at 21:47 (357 days old) by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

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I actually use my electronic pressure cooker a lot more than the slow cooker.  I recently bought a new 8qt Instant Pot and very happy with it although 20/20 hindsight I probably should have just gone with the 6 qt model. 

Post# 960308 , Reply# 34   10/2/2017 at 21:54 (357 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I bought a new

All Clad at the goodwill for 20.00!! It really works great.

Post# 960369 , Reply# 35   10/3/2017 at 07:04 (356 days old) by mrb627 (Buford, GA)        
Beef and Pork

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I often cook beef or pork overnight. Averaging about 12-15 hours improves results, IMO. I once complained to a friend's wife about meats being tough coming out of the crock and she said I wasn't cooking it long enough the get tender.

One of the easiest and favorites is pickled pork.

1 pork shoulder, 1 12oz jar of hamburger dill chips (juice and all), 1 head of garlic, and black pepper to taste. I set it up the night before and by lunchtime the next day it is ready for pulling for sandwiches. YUM!


Post# 960377 , Reply# 36   10/3/2017 at 08:19 (356 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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Yes, longer is better for pulled pork. That is, perhaps, a drawback of the temp probe method. On the other hand, keep warm seems to keep the temp in the safe zone. I'll have to try using the HBSOGTP pot in that manner.

On a related note, I've had a Cuisnart 6 qt pressure cooker for a number of years. Last year I got an 8 qt "Power Pressure Cooker XL" thinking it would be an improvement. It isn't. Gone back to the Cuisinart, primarily for brown rice.

Post# 960379 , Reply# 37   10/3/2017 at 08:22 (356 days old) by dermacie (my forever home (Glenshaw, PA))        

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I only use a stove-top pressure cooker. I may need to buy an electric on in addition to the crock pot.

Post# 960444 , Reply# 38   10/3/2017 at 15:41 (356 days old) by earthling177 (Boston, MA)        

There was some talk about some electronic pressure cooker or another (can't remember if it was Instant Pot or Power Pressure Cooker XL or some other brand) which one could use as a pressure cooker, a fryer or a slow cooker, depending on the settings.

If I needed a slow cooker (I don't, I already have one and it's barely used), I would first research to see if such an electronic pressure cooker/multiappliance would actually work well as a slow cooker. Seems to me it would be more pros than cons, including a removable (dishwasher safe) insert, and the proper programs to start up, cook and then keep warm all automatically.

I haven't looked at those yet because so far I've been very happy with the stovetop pressure cookers that I have, and when I cook (which is rare), I'm usually in a hurry and use the pressure cookers, not the slow cooker.

Good luck!
   -- Paulo.

Post# 960451 , Reply# 39   10/3/2017 at 15:55 (356 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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If I had an electric stove, I'd probably look into an electric pressure cooker, since adjusting the burner settings on an electric stove just right can be tricky without a "smart" burner.  Since I have a gas stove, using a stove-top pressure cooker is a cinch. 


The only advantage an electric cooker would have is automatic shut-off, but generally I'm working in the vicinity of the cooker while it's cooking, and the ancient method of setting a mechanical timer works fine for me.

Post# 960457 , Reply# 40   10/3/2017 at 16:45 (356 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

My sister makes pulled pork frequently for their wingdings (usually hosting between 75-125), and she uses one of her 18 qt. electric roasters to cook it in.

Post# 960458 , Reply# 41   10/3/2017 at 16:45 (356 days old) by earthling177 (Boston, MA)        

I have had no problems adjusting the burner settings, but then again, we have an induction stove, so the adjustment is actually faster than when we had a gas stove. The auto off is no big deal for me either, the timer works just as well, but like Ralph, I tend not to leave the kitchen when I have stuff on the stovetop, particularly pressure cookers.

But I have many friends that love Instant Pot and Power Pressure Cooker XL etc -- they all have kids, and while the electronic pots are slower than a regular pressure cooker on the stove top, they like it that they don't *have* to be in the kitchen because the machine will regulate the temp just fine and turn off when the timer goes off.

In any case, I was just taking a look at Cook's Illustrated website and they're not in love with the multi cookers -- pardon me the pun, but I'd take their opinion with a grain of salt after I've seen what they "recommend" to cook rice in a pressure cooker (I bought their book on pressure cooking and after looking at that recipe I'm not sure I trust the rest of the book, super complicated recipe). In my home, I just put the quantity of water and rice the pot manufacturer recommends, for the appropriate time -- sure, it means I need to remember different ratios of water and time for 3 different manufacturers, but they are pretty close, while Cooks Illustrated's method is a nightmare just to have "one" recipe that "works" in every pot.

Either way, people looking for multi-cookers, buyer beware and some research is needed, but I suppose it'd be a great option for some people if it works.

Good luck!

Post# 960461 , Reply# 42   10/3/2017 at 16:59 (356 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        
Yes, I must dare myself to make!

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The pickled/pulled pork sounds good! I can imagine how neat it would be w/ banana peppers or jalapeņos!

As for barbecue sauce, most recipes call for a mixture of dry mustard, apple cider vinegar, etc. so I bet there are lots of homemade sauces that you can make for it, or even store-bought ones must work just as good...

-- Dave

Post# 960465 , Reply# 43   10/3/2017 at 17:41 (356 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Something to remember,

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About the electronic pressure cookers as opposed to the electric pressure cookers. The electronic units All run at 10lbs, the electric at the standard 15lbs. 

The difference is day and night in speed. If you live at 1000 feet, they can't even reach canning temperature at 10lbs, by the time you get to 3000 feet, you might as well not even bother with10lbs, it's useless.

Since you can put an electric running at a true 15lbs on a timer, there's zero arguments for an electronic except below 750 feet.

Post# 960474 , Reply# 44   10/3/2017 at 18:51 (356 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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The Power Pressure Cooker XL has a canning cycle that reaches 11.6 psi, so it not correct to say that electronic pressure cookers only reach 10 psi. However, I would only can things in it like low acid veggies and meat at sea level, not at high altitudes. I have not used the canning feature, although I've been tempted to use it for food.

It also has a slow cook menu option, which I also haven't used.

My main complaint about the PPCXL (I have the 8qt version) is that the menu options are too restrictive. For example, you can't manually adjust their times beyond what the longest menu option allows. In other words, it's dumbed down too far. My solution has been to use a different menu option than the food it's supposedly tailored for. For example, for brown rice, I'll use the beans option to get the longer time I think they need. I think the pressure is exactly the same for these two menu options. The canning option allows for more flexibility in time adjustment... but it's probably dumbed down too.

The Cuisinart allows me to cook brown rice for 30 minutes, which seems to be close to ideal (for my taste, as it produces less crunchy brown rice). The max rice setting on the PPCXL is, I think, 25 min.

The other PPCXL complaint is that the little cook book that comes with it is inadequate, and the recipes on the PPC website are full of obvious errors, and some not so obvious. After this experience I find watching Eric Thiel on the TV infomercial to be more unpleasant than most (not that I watch for very long).

Instant Pot gets much higher ratings by CR, than the PPC. They dinged the PPC for being too slow with a warranty not much longer than the life of a fruit fly. The Cuisinart came in the middle, more or less.

Post# 960478 , Reply# 45   10/3/2017 at 19:20 (356 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

Darryl bought one of those Ninja 3-in-1 or 4-in-1 or 3265235623563-in-1. Not sure exactly what model. Probably bought at QVC, HSN or whatever other late night infomercial.

Theoretically it's a slow cooker, tabletop oven, stovetop, that also works as a rice cooker, vegetable steamer, laundry soaker and when not in use it also sings, dances and performs as a drag queen.

Not so strangely (knowing my husband) it sat in his car's trunk for something around 2 years, now it sits in the garage, still in it's original shipping box, unopened.

This thread made me a little curious about slow cookers for the first time ever as I never had a slow cooker before, never used one, never needed one and until now I don't understand very well why use a slow cooker or how a slow cooker can be useful.)

Anyway, is that Ninja Slow cooker any good? What can you guys tell me about it? Depending on the answers, i may feel encouraged to open the box and give it a try, or forget that box is there taking space in the garage for other 2 or more years.

Please note that my question is about it's usability, not it's durability, as we will not buy one, it's already home. I just want to know if it's worth opening the box (my husband bought before we got married) or simply avoid wasting my time and ignore it exists.

Post# 960494 , Reply# 46   10/3/2017 at 21:08 (356 days old) by earthling177 (Boston, MA)        


For most people, a slow cooker is a godsend -- in theory, you load it in the morning or the night before with things that will be cooking for a loooong time (4-8 hours, although some recipes need 12) and all the flavors will meld into something divine, the meat will be falling off the bones, and you wake up or come home to a perfect meal you did not have to pay any attention to, stir, etc.

And, for many people that is true: I have a friend who makes a "disappearing chicken" for the holidays, and yes, it looks and tastes fabulous and as soon as she declares it done, a line forms and *poof* it's gone, there's no time for seconds or anything. Other friends make pulled pork etc.

I was never that lucky, when I try it, things taste "processed" like canned food and cleanup is annoying.

I should not complain, because usually, I don't have the patience anyway, *and* most things I cook in pressure cookers come out fabulous in less than one hour and folks usually complain about how hard it is to make pressure cooked stuff not taste like canned food, so I suppose we're even.

That all having been said, I'd say try the appliance, worst that happens is it doesn't work so well or you don't like it, then you put it back in the garage or give it to some charity to sell it in their stores.

I have never tried it for say feijoada, but I'm supposing given how everyone says that the best feijoada is made over several hours, it might work pretty well. I would try it, but, gosh, did you know there are at least 3 restaurants around me that make it and we need to help the neighbors with their business, right? ;-)

Have fun!

Post# 960500 , Reply# 47   10/3/2017 at 21:50 (356 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Crock Pots

combo52's profile picture

To me were always useless appliances that wasted space, if you have an electric stove top you can use any covered pan or dutch oven on a stove top element on the low setting and get the same results and if you are like me and don't like to plan and start dinner 6-12 hours in advance you can use a pressure cooker and have a fresher looking better tasting meal in under and hour.


Its sort like a rice cooker which is absolutely useless if you have an electric range. It seems like all the houses I go into with gas cook-tops are the ones with these space wasting hard to clean appliances.


John L.

Post# 960503 , Reply# 48   10/3/2017 at 22:07 (356 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
11.6 is just about 80kPa

panthera's profile picture
Which, at sea level, and assuming it's dead accurate and the timing is perfect is just barely adequate for canning.
We had a lengthy discussion about this a while back. I consider it too low, there's no safety margin.

Post# 960510 , Reply# 49   10/3/2017 at 23:22 (356 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

I disagree about the tastes of things cooked slow in a crock pot vs. a pressure cooker.  There's no contest as far as I'm concerned.  As Paulo stated, a lot of things made in a pressure cooker end up tasting like canned food.  Because of that, I'm particular about what I use a pressure cooker for.  On the other hand, I don't think I've ever had a bad meal from a crock pot.


And yes, I own a gas range because I prefer cooking on one, and I have three small appliances taking up space:  a coffee maker,  a toaster, and a mixer.   I'm betting owners of electric ranges have those same items within easy reach. 


And let me just say that there's nothing difficult about cleaning a rice cooker.

Post# 960522 , Reply# 50   10/4/2017 at 01:22 (356 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

sudsmaster's profile picture
Some foods are better slow cooked. Others are best steamed for just a few minutes, or stir-fried. Still others beg to boiled, or baked, or grilled.

I see the point about not getting a plethora of single purpose cooking gadgets. I also see that one cooking gadget, no matter how clever, can do it all. Suffice to say I've accumulated more than my rightful share of cooking gadgets, but there are worse vices.

Post# 960538 , Reply# 51   10/4/2017 at 06:13 (355 days old) by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        
an easy pork or beef roast recipe

askolover's profile picture

Stick a pork or beef roast in the crock pot.  Smear a can of cream of mushroom soup over it.  Chop a medium onion and dump it on top of all that.  A little black pepper to taste.  Cook all day or overnight and it will come out fork tender and taste soooo good.  Sometimes I add a little white wine at the beginning for flavor but it just depends on my mood.

Post# 960651 , Reply# 52   10/4/2017 at 20:29 (355 days old) by thomasortega (Los Angeles - CA)        

Rice Cooker...

The only rice cooker i've ever had in my life was a tiny Black and Decker one... I think it was 3 cups... had a glass lid... it was excellent!

It would allow the brazilian rice (first pour some oil and chopped garlic) mix to spread the garlic.... put the lid, turn on... in about 2 minutes it would turn off. Then add the rice stir, turn on... when the rice is almost starting to burn it shuts off again... then pour the water and salt, turn on again..... perfect results!

When ready it will turn off, then you just turn on again (it will run for more 2 minutes maybe) only to start burning very lightly the bottom (my favorite). all done!

Post# 960688 , Reply# 53   10/5/2017 at 02:11 (355 days old) by mieleforever (SOUTH AFRICA)        

On this note I would also like to know if we can continue to use our slow coocker as the ceramic insert has hundreds of small cracks all through the pot. Another thing that bothers me is the taste its almost as if all the food that comes out of that thing tastes the same, could it be the cracks in the Ceramic pot?

Your advise is truly appreciated.


Post# 960716 , Reply# 54   10/5/2017 at 08:17 (354 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
If there are cracks

panthera's profile picture

Then you probably should use a crockpot liner for safety.

Post# 960721 , Reply# 55   10/5/2017 at 08:36 (354 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

daveamkrayoguy's profile picture
My stoneware only has utensil marks, I think the ceramic is very durable--even for the lot of use, at one point, on a slow-cookie'-streak!--I had given mine--and I even put it in the dishwasher...!

-- Dave

Post# 960723 , Reply# 56   10/5/2017 at 08:51 (354 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Mine is small,

an inexpensive Rival model. I made a 4 lb. sirloin pot roast yesterday with 2 lbs. of quartered red skin potatoes, one medium chopped onion, crimini mushrooms, baby carrots, and about a pound of fresh green beans on the top.
One packet of onion soup mix, chopped garlic, bay leaf, and 1/2 cup water.
There was no fat on that meat. In 4 hours on high, it was fall apart tender. The beans still had a bit of bite. A meal for four easy.
I halved the roast, and circled the crock with it. Carrots and potatoes in the center upward.
I've tried using an electric pressure cooker, and either it's me not knowing how they cook, but I didn't have a good result. Way under done. I followed the instructions. I allowed the pressure to build before I timed it like they said.

Post# 960751 , Reply# 57   10/5/2017 at 12:11 (354 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

rp2813's profile picture

I would be very careful with a cracked insert.   I once witnessed the bottom of an insert falling to the carpeted floor, with all contents following, while on its way to a buffet table.

Post# 960880 , Reply# 58   10/6/2017 at 01:43 (354 days old) by mieleforever (SOUTH AFRICA)        

Ok, then I think I must get rid of my slow cooker. Maybe it has reached the end of its lifespan. Apparently if there is any cracks in the Ceramic lining it could leach lead, but don't quote me on that.

It will give me an excuse to go out and buy a new one.


Post# 960887 , Reply# 59   10/6/2017 at 05:53 (353 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Mike said:

panthera's profile picture

"I've tried using an electric pressure cooker, and either it's me not knowing how they cook, but I didn't have a good result. Way under done. I followed the instructions. I allowed the pressure to build before I timed it like they said."


I've been cooking with pressure cookers since the 1970's. Based on my experience, the recipes for any meat thicker than 2" or so are about 1/3 to short on time needed. Today, I just figure that in (on top of the extra 20% for our altitude).


And before anyone says it's not worth it, then, they need to try using a conventional oven at well over 6000'. Crockpots up here, while producing wonderful results, are truly overnight or all day affairs, not the 4-5 hour maximums you see at sea-level.

Post# 960966 , Reply# 60   10/6/2017 at 16:35 (353 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        
Kosher Dill Pickles, but Pending TREIF-icking Charges:

daveamkrayoguy's profile picture
Re: Post# 960369 , Reply# 35 10/3/2017, by MR. B627 (of "BIG" Buford, GA)

You turned me on:

(Black Pepper, not shown--also started off on LOW; sooo, how soon do I want it? May later crank to HIGH! To accompanied by Cole Slaw, seven on some Hamburger Buns--more to come!!!!)

-- Dave

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Post# 960970 , Reply# 61   10/6/2017 at 16:46 (353 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
I grew up with

A pressure cooker and canner, My Grandmother started using both in the early 50s, She was big on doing things the way the Agriculture Extension Service said was best, Donalds Mom still cans the old hot water bath method, Beans 3 hours in boiling water, So does his Sister, I'm not afraid of this method, but why take a chance,a pressure canner is safer and so much quicker!

Post# 961428 , Reply# 62   10/9/2017 at 02:54 (350 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

daveamkrayoguy's profile picture
Hungry? Well, here is what my slo-cooker has been cooking 'n' lots of it!!!!

SO much that I may have to put off a garlic chicken recipe (you cut up and put the cloves (I have one good-sized one languishing in the fridge) here 'n' there in the chicken breasts) I have also been contemplating...

I got it to where I can juts put on my own barbecue sauce of my choice, rather to have actually cooked the pulled pork in it--and still may need more buns... (Also featured: AMKrayoPeanut Buster Parfait--just need hot fudge!)

-- Dave

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Post# 961470 , Reply# 63   10/9/2017 at 08:47 (350 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
That sure is a different twist

on pulled pork. Nothin' wrong with pickles.

Post# 961476 , Reply# 64   10/9/2017 at 09:11 (350 days old) by mrb627 (Buford, GA)        
Top Pickles

mrb627's profile picture
The pickles that cook on top of the roast are yummy.
The one's that end up in the liquid will usually disintegrate.

I do like being able to add my own sauce after the fact rather than having the pork cooked with it.


Post# 961710 , Reply# 65   10/10/2017 at 10:55 (349 days old) by dermacie (my forever home (Glenshaw, PA))        

dermacie's profile picture
That really looks yummy!

Post# 963143 , Reply# 66   10/18/2017 at 10:33 (341 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        
AMKrayoHerb-Garlic Chicken:

daveamkrayoguy's profile picture
Here's an Herb-Garlic Chicken Recipe (I had LOTS of left-over parsley, when I only needed a sprig of it, as well as one clove of garlic, I made at least one slit in each piece of chicken for each section for) that my slow-cooker came in handy for; served w/ Mustard Greens and Mashed Potatoes:

-- Dave

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Post# 963712 , Reply# 67   10/21/2017 at 18:14 (338 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        
Crockpot altitudes

sudsmaster's profile picture
Why on earth would altitude have anything to do with how fast (or slow) a crockpot cooks? AFAIK, altitude affects the temp at which water boils, and also the temp and pressure that a pressure cooker can reach.

A crockpot doesn't boil to cook food. The final temp should be well below boiling point, even in the Alps. And a crock pot doesn't work on building pressure, either. A pressure cooker most definitely will be restricted on max pressure and temp. So yeah, that could take longer at high altitude, because as the name suggests, a pressure cooker depends on building pressure to work.

But a crock pot being affected by altitude?

I just don't get it.

Post# 963753 , Reply# 68   10/21/2017 at 23:03 (338 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        
New Crock Pots

New-old-stock slow cookers are readily available on EBay. I bought a Hamilton Beach Simmer-On II a couple of years ago there, with Bicentennial sides! Still in the wrapper, 4 quart. What I wanted was that H-B made this one in two types: crockery insert and white milk glass insert. This was the milk glass. I've since given it away since I bought the Instant Pot and use the function on that. But, go on EBay and you'll be surprised at even brand new vintage ones being available.

So many people complain, and rightfully so, about the newer slow cookers boiling the food. It's known that the makers, around 20 years ago, bumped up the thermostats on their slow cookers because people were worried that they weren't getting hot enough! I've owned slow cookers these days that'll happily boil food on the lowest setting. So, any of you out there dissatisfied with the heat range--this is why.

I have a little Proctor-Silex 1.5 quart slow cooker that I'll use to make overnight oatmeal. It's also great for a pot roast for one (me) because it's oval. I'll buy a roast on special at the store, will cut it into smaller chunks, Foodsaver the chunks until I want to make a pot roast for 1-2 meals.

I'd highly recommend the Hamilton-Beach slow cooker that comes with a meat probe. It works! I made piles of roasts, chickens, Cornish game hens in mine. You could just easily set the temp for the meat, tell it what heat setting to use, and leave. It would shift to warm mode after the probe told it that the meat was cooked. I gave it to some friends at church with little kids after getting and using the I-Pot.

I also own on of those 'casserole' model Crock Pots, the one that's very low and square. I've owned it for a couple of years and have hardly used it. I like small appliances and I thought it was cool, but it really is just good for casseroles. I did learn from one of the ladies in our parish that Stouffer's lasagna and some of their other family-sized frozen casseroles fit perfectly into that 9x13 crock insert! Women will cook those up in that Crock Pot and take it to church that way.

Truly, the I-Pot has worked so well for me. I bought it over some of the other, cheaper brands because I didn't want the damn 'non stick' crap on a flimsy aluminum insert. The I-Pot stainless pot is heavy, beautifully made, and has a really heavy base. I have used that insert on my gas range many, many times now for deep frying; it's basically just a good pot with no handle! I pc my potatoes, I can have pork spare ribs ready to serve in less than 45 minutes, etc. But I probably use the slow cooker function more than any. I like the fact that it has 3 heat options, not just high and low. And unless it's on high, when it gets to a gentle boil, it doesn't overhead the food at all. Because of the very heavy base on the insert, when it cycles on and off the food inside doesn't alternately get hotter and cooler. I bought the glass lid for non-pressure cooker so that I can just look at the food without opening the lid. I like my I-Pot so much that I bought a second s.s. insert. I love the fact that if I saute or sear/brown meat before slow cooking, if I need to I can easily take a Brillo pad to the highly polished inner surface without hurting it. I truly don't understand, after 50+ years, why there is still no truly permanent non stick layer for pots. The only non stick that I own is a skillet for doing eggs.

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Post# 963876 , Reply# 69   10/22/2017 at 13:36 (337 days old) by Artcurus (Odessa)        

You'll never go back to regular crock pots with one of these-the best slow cooker in the world.

Post# 963925 , Reply# 70   10/22/2017 at 19:49 (337 days old) by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

petek's profile picture

The Instant Pot is great. I find I'm using it quite often. I bought the 8qt but probably should have gone with the 6 qt.   I haven't tried the slow cook function yet.  

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Post# 963953 , Reply# 71   10/22/2017 at 23:21 (337 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        
Sunbeam & Instant Pot

This Sunbeam cooker/fryer? I have one! I got mine new-old-stock off of EBay. I have two other brands, vintage, also bought NOS off of EBay. They are fantastic appliances and so flexible. I can see why, 60+ years ago, women loved having one. However, it works on a completely different principle than the Crock Pot. If you have the temp set properly, you literally can watch the liquid contents alternate between bubbling and resting. These weren't cheap, either--that exact model shown in the EBay auction sold in 1954 for $31.95, which would be roughly $275 in today's Dollars! These pots were made by various manufacturers into the 1980's at least. Another reasonable alternative to the Crock Pot is the Presto Multi-Pot sold today; I've owned and enjoyed more than one of them. Their weakness is the nonstick finish they come with. The advantage is the removable thermostat.

re the Instant Pot: I have the 6 qt; the 8 qt came out after I bought mine. I don't fiddle with all those silly program buttons. I've used pc's for decades so I know what time I want, setting it with the manual button. I really, really like the way that the I-Pot will shift to warm after finishing. One use for the I-Pot that I do almost daily is making fresh iced tea, which I do by the gallon. I'd always boiled the water on the stove, having to check for status, etc. Now? I just pour a pitcher of water (gallon) into the I-Pot, hit the 'saute' button and high heat. It'll boil the water faster than my gas burners and will beep to let me know it's boiling, then cut itself off. I steep the big tea bag in there and when it's through, I have fresh tea! I own the accessory silicone fitted lid for the stainless steel pot and have on occasion just let the tea cool down and put that cover on and into the icebox. And as I said before, you've got a great 8-quart pot there, too. I've done deep frying in that insert on the stove before simply because it's easier to do and clean than using my electric deep fryer. Plus--because the pot is so tall, it keeps spattering from oil down to almost nothing! Try using the slow cooker. The three heat settings are very accurate, unlike any conventional slow cooker. You really can control the heat.

One of the clues to successful slow cooking is reducing the broth or stock after cooking. A lot of people just plop the pot roast or whatever on the serving tray and that broth is way too weak. The old slow cooker solution is to take that liquid and reduce it on the stove. With the I-Pot, you can simply switch the setting to 'saute' and it'll reduce it perfectly in the same pot! Good thing is that unlike those crappy Ninjas, etc., with the cheap nonstick pots, you don't have to worry about that stuff flaking off into your food.

Have you bought the ceramic pot insert for your I-Pot? It's been out for a while but I don't see any real need for it. It'd just take up space in my kitchen.

You'll see in the first photo below that Sunbeam updated their old pot with a crockery insert in an effort to compete with the new slow cookers out there. It didn't work and they ended up selling conventional slow cookers.

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Post# 963966 , Reply# 72   10/23/2017 at 06:46 (336 days old) by westingguelph ()        
Newer Slow Cookers

I just recently purchased a higher end model Westinghouse off of Amazon after doing without a slow cooker for years. I must say I'm thoroughly impressed with it. IMHO I do think they cook much hotter than the old ones. I believe it's important to brown roasts, chicken etc. and to thoroughly cook hamburger before starting. I agree with Panthera that it's a very good idea to start things off as hot as possible including preheating the pot. The faster food is heated past 160F the safer it is. One little tip I learned from a friend is that crock pots are great for reheating rolls - just on low right before you plan to serve. Day old rolls taste fresh baked!

Post# 963971 , Reply# 73   10/23/2017 at 07:03 (336 days old) by johnrk (BP TX)        
Newer Cookers

The issue that upsets owners of current cookers isn't that they will boil items when they shouldn't, changing the food, but that even the low settings are too hot. My understanding is that that's why the makers raised the temps about 20 years ago. People were all of a sudden worried about that magic 160F threshold. Of course, these hotter pots today certainly aren't hot enough to brown meat or any thing like that.

You know what I've done dozens of times in the old pots, particularly with chicken? Toss it in the microwave and get it good and hot in there before placing it in the slow cooker. I've seldom done beef or pork roasts large enough to have any concern at all.

Of course, in the I-Pot you can simply place the meat in there, run it for 15-20 minutes under pressure, then release the pressure and switch it to slow cooking. Slow cooking is great, as is pressure cooking. But together, they are really fine.

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