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All-Clad Stockpot Questions - SS v. MC2?

e
empowah Jan 26, 2008 04:57 PM

Hi all, I currently have an All-Clad Stainless Steel 4-qt saute pan that I really like. It seems to conduct heat very well - good for searing - and at the same time, it "deglazes" well and is easy to clean.

I'm looking for something similar but with a greater liquid capacity, so that I can sear meat, saute mirepoix, add lots of liquid, move it into the oven, and then slowly braise short ribs, ox tails, lamb shanks, etc. Or I could make a good amount of ragu, using just one pot.

I've read a few posts that suggest not to spend money on a nice stockpot, especially for making stock, as it's a waste, and that lots of cheaper alternatives can do the same thing. I'm concerned that with a thinner "core" or "base", I won't be able to get a proper Maillard reaction (or "wok hei" in Cantonese), and that transferring from my saute pan ingredients into the stockpot might be messy or inconvenient.

In any case, I am wondering if there are any quality differences between All-Clad's Stainless Steel line and their Master Chef 2 line. The MC2 8-quart stockpot is $35 more than the Stainless Steel equivalent. Interestingly, the 8-quart versions of the Stainless Steel stockpot is silver (I assume a sort of "brushed" finish), like the MC2, and unlike most other Stainless Steel models. Hopefully it's up to the same standard as their normal chrome ones.

I'm looking for something similar to my beloved saute pan. Also, are there any alternatives, preferably available at BB&B (I have store credit there) you Chowhoundians suggest? :) Thanks in advance!

  1. b
    blondelle Jan 26, 2008 05:19 PM

    All-Clad makes a pot called a 6 qt. deep saute. It was just on sale at Williams Sonoma in stainless for $74.99. You might be able to still find one. It's the same as yours but taller. It's the same exact pot as their 6 qt. stockpot but with one long handle instead of two loops, and it's at a promotional price. There is also an AC fry basket that fits it perfectly making it even more useful.

    1 Reply
    1. re: blondelle
      e
      empowah Jan 26, 2008 05:44 PM

      Thanks for the tip. I actually purchased that at BB&B for ~$140 after the 20% off coupon, but then returned it because of a chipped handle and dented lid. They promised to special order a replacement, after I paid a shipping charge, but instead they ordered the giant 6-qt "shallow" saute pan, which I have no use for.

      I think I'll get the one from Williams Sonoma, if I can find it. Their website lists it at $159.99.

    2. c
      Cary Jan 26, 2008 05:27 PM

      The MC2 line has roughly a 4mm total aluminum thickness. The SS line only has roughly 2mm thickness, which is equivalent to the aluminum thickness for many cheaper (but not necessarily worse) brands. I'd prefer MC2 over SS.

      If you get a good stockpot, you might have to sear your meat in batches or in a separate saute pan anyways, b/c the cooking surface isn't that big (usually) and you don't want to overcrowd the surface.

      On amazon there is a calphalon Commercial 12qt stockpot (no tax and free shipping and sometimes it's on sale on Fridays for their one-day sale): http://www.amazon.com/Calphalon-Comme...
      I don't have this newer model, so i don't know if the thickness of the aluminum is as thick as their older (pre 90's) Commercial stuff. From the weight though, it's probably around 3-4mm.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Cary
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        empowah Jan 26, 2008 05:47 PM

        Ahh, that's true. I'm starting to think any old SS stockpot would do, provided they don't have plastic handles (like my current one).

        At low "simmering" heats, it doesn't really matter how thick the core/bottom is, right?

        1. re: empowah
          c
          Cary Jan 26, 2008 05:59 PM

          For stewing things yes. Even with plastic handles, they should be okay at ~200F cooking.

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