pressure cooker choices
- Tee Feb 6, 2007 10:07 AM
I am ready to purchase my first pressure cooker and have read all previous threads.
I have spent a couple of hours surfing all the pc sites and reviews.
I have just returned from Bed Bath and Beyond - and Target. (my only choices in Gastonia, NC during lunch)
So I have done my homework first.
I have decided I want an 18/10 stainless steel 7 or 8 quart.
I can buy a Fagor 8 q.(5 piece set) at BB&B for $99.00
I can buy a Kuhn-Rikon 7.3 q. from Amazon for $ 175.00 (why so expensive?)
I can't buy a Magefesa anywhere yet, their Magefesa USA website is "under construction", and the links have been frustrating, but I want one....human nature, I guess.
Please give me some guideance if you have first hand knowledge.
I will spend the extra bucks on the Kuhn if convinced.
I own a Fagor and am happy with it. If I only had one pressure cooker this would be it.
I also own a Faberware electric, which is better for slow release since it's "set and forget". It's not as good as a stove top cooker for any recipe that requires quick release, though, since quick releasing involves manipulating a valve to release the steam in short bursts, and I've very rarely also ejected boiling liquid by trying to speed the process w/bursts that were too long.
(These are the only two brands I'm familiar with.)
I've had my Kuhn Richon for 15 years or more. Very high quality. Still going strong. But, was it worth the bucks? I don't know - it's the only pressure cooker I've ever owned, so I have no idea how other models might perform or hold-up. Back when I purchased mine, I contacted the mfg to obtain a second non-pressure type lid, which I bought at a reasonable price. This, of course, means I can use the pot as a "normal" stainless steel cooking pot OR I can use it as a pressure cooker. I appreciate the versatility. This pot is verrrry sturdy. (By the way, bayoucook - I would not compare my KR to All Clad; actually its sturdier than All Clad, which I own several pieces of - or at least 15 yrs ago it was sturdier.) My Khun Richon is to average cookware as a standard issue Hummer is to, say, a Toyota RAV4. The KR has something of an destructible quality, which appealed to me when I bought it - and still does.
Have you consider a Presto? Not as elegant and cool as the Europeans...but not as expensive either. I think a 6 qt runs around $50 bucks retail for high quality stainless steel. My Mom gave me a presto about 10 years ago and I thought it was a weird gift at the time but it has come in handy. I think I use it about 6 times a year and on that level it's fine. If I were to use one on a weekly basis, a nice egro one might be worth it.
I have a Kuhn, but hunted for quite a while to buy it at a discount. I like it -- its simple, its solid, it makes you feel very comfortable and not much to clog up or go wrong. I also have a 22 qt Mirro which I like for the same reasons, but its aluminum. What are really common around here are brazilian made aluminum pressure cookers (glock brand or something) where the lid goes inside the top (instead of around) and then the handle is hooked around the post -- the pressure valve spins and usually you see folks putting a spoon to make it seal properly... these do not give me confidence.
The fagor seems pretty nice, although the dials slightly turn me off, but it seems pretty bomb proof. My Kuhn might last longer, but the amazon price is pretty steep. If you do have any latino stores in your neck of the woods, check those out... in addition to the glock spinner style, they often do have some less expensive stainless models at least up here.
Thanks all. I will most likely bite the bullet and order the Kuhn from Amazon. I only want to buy one, once.
I have few retail choices choices here in my part of NC.
I am leary of the Fagor as the handles and dials seemed "cheap", and I have read online that the handles can fall off over time.
I know that the Amazon price for the Kuhn is high, and if I had more cooking stores (like Atlanta does) I could save some money.
As an example, I saw the Fagor 8 q. in Sur la Table catalog for $ 129.00 ( on sale!) but it is $ 99.00 at my local BB&B.
The post on Chowhound, which I assume you are referring, that indicated that a Fagor handle fell off has been updated. Initially it said that the handle was glued on. For the record, no P/C that I'm aware of has handles that are glued on. The handle brackets are typically spot welded or, rarely, riveted and then the handles are attached to the brackets with screws. That post now indicates that the P/C was quite old at six years. Many new P/Cs from that company have 10-year warranties.
RE: Brazilian P/Cs. Be wary of a P/C that does not have safety systems such as a secondary (or additional) relief valve(s) or equivalent and a system that prevents the cover from being accidentally opened while it is still under pressure. Pressure plugs rather than spring-type safety valves can also be a pain. Look for the UL symbol. It shows that the P/C meets the UL safety standard for P/Cs.
Perhaps a better question than “why is this so expensive” is “why are the others so cheap?” Many factors affect the price of an item: quality, where it's made, whether the workers are fairly paid, factory working conditions, manufacturing plant safety and environmental safeguards, etc. I may be alone on this, but I like to support independent retailers as they are better for the economy and create a lot more jobs than big stores with a relatively few number of administrative employees located in a centralized location.
Came across this website ( http://fastcooking.ca ) on Google. Perhaps you already did too during your research. They sell Fagor (best site for pictures, I think), but it also has a lot of general info on P/Cs such as what to look for in a P/C, cookbooks, recipes, history, etc.
After 5 months of use, the handle on my 6qt Fagor (Elite) fell off - it's quite evident that the spot welds holding the bracket to the pot gave way. I expect Fagor to honor the warranty, but sending in for replacement will be a bother.
I was surprised how small the spot welds are - 3 dots on each side of an inch wide bracket. But I saw, on a TV 'how it is made' show, that Kuhn uses the same style of attachment.
I received a Presto stainless steel 8 quart cooker as a Christmas gift and so far, I'm very pleased. The bottom part is a sturdy piece of s/s and has been easy to clean. The cover, which of course contains the pressure regulator and vents, hardly gets dirty!
As previous posts mention, cooking a large pork butt or shoulder calls for a cooker of this size; you must Not fill it more than half full.
Cooking beef chuck or short ribs will get you some good eats AND great stock in about 45 minutes.
I've found that the thermal mass of this beast makes it possible to slightly undercook (by time), release pressure and check progress, then close and bring back up to temperature without losing much overall time.
You can find and buy online a Magefesa pressure cooker at www.tecnoagencia.com/magefesausa. You will find their whole catalog online.
I have heard that they will be opening a subsidiary company in the US in the coming months. THey are planning to expand their business in the US market.
Hope it helps.
I just got the Cuisinart electric pressure cooker and I LOVE it! No need to turn on the stove, there are browning and saute settings to pre cook and a simmer setting to reduce sauce after cooking. It also has a built in timer. I was worried about safety with the stovetop models, and I live in an apartment with a bad stove anyway, so the electric version is perfect for me. I totally love this appliance and would recommend it to anyone!
Tee, the only pressure cookers that we have ever had are Kuhn-Rikon, so we cannot compare and contrast. However, what we may be able to add to the conversation is that the Kuhn-Rikon pots and pans themselves, open to the world, or with ordinary lids, are superb cookware in their own right. We use ours -- on an induction cooktop: they are induction-compatible -- for everything that one would use non-pressure-cooker pots for. And the "bottoms" of the Kuhn-Rikons (that is, everything but the pressure lids) go straight into the dishwasher.