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Buying a crock pot

I want to change my c pot and wondering about all the new ones out there
I hear it is better to buy an oval one = also does anyone ever leave it on all day and go out

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  1. Search for slow cooker, there are a few threads on this.

    I have the cuisinart brand and I really like it! I do leave it on during the day on low.

    1. I would suggest getting one where you can brown meat on the stove top and then place that cooking vessel into the crock pot heater.

      I would avoid going for high-end brand names. For instance, All-Clad makes a slow cooker but you'll drop nearly $200 on the thing just because it has the words All-Clad on the front against a shiny stainless exterior.

      Oval versus round doesn't make any difference at all, though the larger models tend to be oval.

      1 Reply
      1. re: HaagenDazs

        Ditto. It's so much more convenient where you can use the crock on the stove/in the oven, instead of dumping the thing you browned in another pan into the crock. Less pans to clean, less spatters and hassle.

      2. I just got my second crock pot- the one I had was from the 70's, and was not really large enough for me. I do lieave mine on all day ( or all night, depending on what I am cooking). Lots of choices. Last year I got my SIL a " travel" crock pot- she loved it, as she famous in our family for her chowder, and is always asked to bring it to parties. I don't need the travel model.
        My new one is oval- it is 8 quarts. Never heard that oval is better- I wonder why? Good luck

        1. I like oval better (easier to cook ribs, and some other items without having to turn them up on end).

          Don't bother with one you can use for browning..the crocks are heavy and unwieldy no matter what you do, they don't heat up quickly or evenly, have to be used at low temperatures and no matter what you do it's far quicker and easier to brown in a pan then transfer to the slow cooker.

          Do think about one that automatically converts to "warm" after your cooking time is finished.. BUT, make sure it has some sort of power interruption program that doesnt destroy or fail to cook your food if the power goes out while its on.

          2 Replies
          1. re: karmalaw

            So far, I like my Ham Beach 33967 (6 qt oval) that I picked up after an 80's vintage Crock Pot wore out from being abused. It has 3 settings (hi, lo, warm), 3 cooking modes (manual, program, and temp probe), a lid that locks down for transporting, and a built in serving spoon. I have used it 1-2 times per week since I purchased in early December and it has worked well, no problems. it is in a brushed stainless finish, so darn near good looking (the old Crock Pot was suitable for Carter-era decor).

            Most of the slow-cooker cookbooks and owners manuals recommend that it be filled at least 1/2 to 2/3 full -- so unless you are feeding an army or really like leftovers, no need to go for the biggest model. Somewhere between 4-6 quarts works for most. Oval is nice for large cuts of meat, but otherwise no advantage either way (ovals tend to be the larger models).

            1. re: MikeB3542

              Ditto the Hamilton Beach. I have the 33966 model. Same thing except no locking lid. The temp probe is marvelous. No more guessing on the time.
              Has never given me any trouble.

          2. I don't have as much crock pot expertise as everyone else, but I can use Google! http://tinyurl.com/9wws9q

            1 Reply
            1. re: KaTom

              if you';re going to google, there are far more informative articles, try:

              http://products.howstuffworks.com/cro...

            2. I prefer oval to round - not for cooking reasons, but that most meats/roasts are enlongated in one fashion or another and seem to "fit" better for adding vegeatables around. Whatever you do, go bigger rather than smaller. Since there is only 2 in my household, plus I was worried w/storage, Ibought a small one only 3 or 4 qts. BIG mistake. And yes, the "warm" setting is a plus.

              1. While searching for my last crock, I found quite a few models (which also happened to be on sale) whose lid did not fit properly. A good seal is necessary for slow cooking, so check it before buying.
                Certainly leave it on all day.

                1. I think as capacity goes up, they're generally all oval shaped. You might as well get a bigger one, generally about six quarts. You can cook for fewer in a big pot, but you can't cook for a crowd with a small one. Besides, slow cooker dishes keep exceptionally well. The thing you want above all else on a slow cooker is a built in digital timer. These will generally have a High and Low setting, along with Keep Warm. With the timer, you can set it to Low before you go to work, and if you end up getting caught in traffic or otherwise delayed getting home, the cooker switches to Warm automatically so your food doesn't overcook.

                  1. After several off-low-high rotary switch crocks, I invested in a Cuisinart nearly a year ago. I like that it starts on "high" no matter where you set the level until it gets up to temperature, and then goes to what you set...simmer, low or high. When it times out it automatically shifts to "keep warm" for up to 24 hours. The digital timer is easy to set, and after it times out it starts to count up so you know how long it has been on "keep warm." The only minor drawback is no "dual timing." You can't set it for 4 hours on high and then 6 on low or simmer. Still worth the money, IMO.

                    BTW - I love Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners. Don't crock without one.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: al b. darned

                      I don't like cooking in plastic.. BUT, there is a VERY easy way to clean a crock pot: after you empty the food, fill it with water, add a scoop of oxyclean, dish soap or dishwasher soap, and put the crock back into the cooker and put it on warm while you're doing everything else.. when you get back to it, the baked on food will slide right off.

                      1. re: karmalaw

                        Or you can get someone else to clean it for you. : }

                        1. re: al b. darned

                          when are you coming over to clean it?

                          :-)

                    2. If the c pot you have now is fairly old, you should know that the "low" setting on new models is quite a bit higher than the "low" on previous versions because of fiddley concerns about food safety. If you are using recipes from an older crock pot, you may not be able to cook on low for as long. This would be a good reason to get one of the units that switches down when your cooking time is done.

                      I was looking to get rid of my early-90s-vintage country-kitchen-looking crock pot, but when I learned that low wasn't low any more, I decided to nurse this one into old age.