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Pressure cooker recommendations? (Moved from Home Cooking)

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I'd always associated pressure cookers with 1950s gadgetry (and the risk of exploding beef stew) until a professional chef told me that that they're a great convenience and make the toughest cuts of meats meltingly tender and full of flavor. Any recommendations for a model that is not too large/costly/elaborate?

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  1. I have a 4 qt Kuhn Rikon. It works great.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Caviar

      I had a ROTTEN experience with a Kuhn Rikon that jammed and would not open had to whack it open with a wrench.

      When I contacted the US distributor they were horrible and rude. I would never buy anything from Kuhn Rikon again.

      Now I have a Presto 8 quart Pressure Cooker that works like a charm and I love it.

      1. re: StriperGuy

        I also have the Presto 8 Quart. Excellent machine. Much better than the Fabor it replaced (the plastic handle detached after a year of use). The Presto's are bolted to the cooker, so I don't see this happening soon.

        1. re: monkeyrotica

          Two years later and the Presto is still going strong. My Fagor broke around the same time.

      2. Go with the Kunh Rikon. It may be a tad more expensive, but with pressure cookers, economy is not where you want to go.

        1. c
          ChowFun (derek)

          Cooks Illustrated recommends the Fagor Duo. (Amazon.com)
          The Kuhn Ricon is recommended "with reservations"

          1. Love my 6L Fagor MultiRapid. Highly recommended. I have every piece of kitchen equipment (useless or not) that I'll ever need and it is hands down my favorite piece of real kitchen equipment. It's easy to use, quiet, easy to clean and it's the perfect shape to use as a pasta cooking pot for 2 or 3 portions.

            I looked at several: Fagor, Kuhn Rikon, Magnafesa (?sp), and a couple of others.

            The only reason to get the Kuhn Rikon, that I can determine, is if you would like to pressure fry chicken (broasting). Since I prefer pan-fried chicken as opposed to deep-fried chicken, broasted or not, that one advantage was out the window.

            I also use my Fagor on occasion for canning no- or low-acid foods (chicken, fish, meat, sausage, vegetables, other) and the controllability of the pressure (5#, 10# and 15#) is a definite advantage.

            1. I have a Fagor Multirapid 6-liter (allows 3 pressure levels, but may be out of production now) and a Kuhn Rikon 5-liter (two levels, like all K-Rs). One of the few important distinctions between them, in my opinion, is that the Kuhn Rikon lets you quickly release the pressure without having to place the pot under cold running water--an advantage in my small kitchen if the single sink happens to be filled with dishes at the crucial moment. Newer Fagor models may also offer this feature; you'd have to check the instructions. Both the Kuhn Rikon and the Fagor Multirapid have clear visual indicators of the pressure level; but on some Fagor models you have to get a sense of when the "right" amount of steam is coming out of the valve. On others, a pin pops up when pressure is reached. If you'll be doing a lot of cooking at low pressure (rarely necessary, in my experience), a multi-level Fagor may better suit your needs; it's a little tricky to maintain consistent low pressure with a Kuhn Rikon. (Obviously, there are other brands to choose from; these are just the ones I'm familiar with.) Finally, since you can only fill a pressure cooker two-thirds full (or half full when you're cooking stuff that foams, like certain grains), but can always cook small amounts in a large pot, it's probably best to go with a model that holds 5 liters or more. If you go into a well-stocked bookstore and read the introductions to a few good pressure-cooker cookbooks (e.g., Lorna Sass's), you'll get quite a bit of information that will help you decide what to buy.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Miss Priss
                c
                ChowFun (derek)

                The Fagor Duo is a newer model and allows all those things and apparently MORE according to Cooks Illustrated

                1. re: ChowFun (derek)

                  The Fagor Duo is certainly a good pressure cooker, and a lot less expensive than the Kuhn Rikon. For what it's worth, though, the Cooks Illustrated article contained several significant inaccuracies about the Kuhn Rikon. Just one example: they claimed the only way to quickly depressurize the Kuhn Rikon is to run it under cold water, even though the instruction manual for that model clearly states that you can do so by depressing the pressure valve. (There's even a picture of it!) If the descriptions of the other cookers were as careless--and not being as familiar with them, I can't judge--I wouldn't put much faith in them.