Slow Cooker Recomendations?
I want to purchase a slow cooker as a gift. I don't own one and have never used one. What should I look for? (Price should be under $100) Thanks.
I have two. One is at our cabin in the mountains and I'm not there now. The one here is the most basic Rival Crock Pot. It has three setting, off, low and high. That works just fine for me. The one at the lake is much fancier including a temperature probe. I never use any of those features, just low or high. I'm sure neither of them cost more than $30-40. Oh yeah, I wouldn't consider any other than the oval shape. Since most things I cook in it are oval (roasts, shank, turkey legs) that's what works for me. I love my slow cooker. I actually have it going right this minute :)
Welcome to Chowhound!
I can tell you what I think of my >25 year old one.
- Glass lid, keeps in heat, easy to clean
- Removable thick crockery insert, holds the heat, easy to clean
- Good low heat setting, very hard to find now presumably due to food safety issues
- Poor heater design - the plastic encapsulating the heating element GETS SOFT during cooking. Nothing has shorted out yet...
- 4 quart circular cooker is Not quite big enough ... for a pork picnic shoulder or a large chuck roast
- The painted aluminum outside is useless for proper cleaning, perhaps stainless steel would be better?
- The switch feels flimsy (plastic shaft) but it is hasn't broken on me (crossing fingers)
- An internal temperature gauge would be helpful, especially for monitoring 'auto shift'
- An 'auto shift' setting that starts the cooker on high (for say two hours) and then shifts to low would be great for cooking meats - gets them through the 'danger zone' quickly. My owners manual is lost so I can't trust mine.
When the search function isn't broken, there are quite a few topics on this board and the Home Cooking board centered around crock pots / slow cookers. Good hunting!
I purchased a Cuisinart PSC 400 (4 qt) for about $80 from Amazon back in July and I love it. It has 3 cooking temps, a digital timer, and it shifts to "warm" when it is done. Less chance of over cooking. Safety: Even if you set it to cook on "simmer" it will start on "high' until it reaches temperature and then shift to "simmer." The cord even retracts into the body when you are done. I have gone thru quite a few slow cookers, and this one is the best I've owned. (Just made an excellent pot roast in it last night. Today it will make chili.)
I appreciate your responses and references. 'Seems people really enjoy this appliance. Maybe I should get one for myself . . .