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crockpot.. I think I prefer stove?

I am considering getting rid of my crockpot because it takes so much space.
yesterday I used my induction cooktop and big le Creuset 7.25 qt round pot and slow cooked some tough meat for 6 hours, result is excellent and also more room to work with to cover the meat with less liquid. The heat was so stable.

The only thing crockpot has going for it is that it has autoshut off and I feel safe leaving the house while it is cooking. I do not feel safe leaving the stove on unattended even if it has no flame.

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  1. Agreed. I don't use my crockpot for anything, other than to keeping something hot/warm. Anything you cook in it typically needs to be browned in a pot on the stove first, and then transferred to the crockpot.

    If I make a dish ahead of dinner time, I may transfer it to the crockpot so that when we get home dinner is hot and ready to serve. Other than that, I don't see the point.

    7 Replies
    1. re: lynnlato

      I use my 7 quart crockpot for the best stocks I've ever had. Vegetable, chicken, turkey, I can start them at night and they are done in the morning. Thanksgiving is coming up, and I will use it to make the basic stock for turkey gravy. And I won't have to stay around the kitchen to do it. I think it makes pretty good baked beans and beef stew also.

      1. re: joan828

        Hmmm, stock is an interesting idea. May have to try that some time.

        As for beef stew, I wouldn't want to dirty two dishes (one to brown the meat in and then the crock pot itself), unless I wanted to come home to a cooked meal - then I suppose it would be worth it.

        The beans - how do you obtain that lovely browning on the top of the beans when doing them in a crock pot?

        1. re: lynnlato

          I too make BB in the crock but pop the crock in a hot oven for the last 30 min or so. Also I use less liquid than a conventional recipe and reduce liquids for more flavor before adding to the crock. For beans 1part beans to 2 1/2 parts liquid, sometimes a bit less if there are juicy veg.

          1. re: just_M

            Putting the beans in the oven is a great idea, never thought of that! :) I also use a little less liquid in the crockpot. As for the beef stew, I don't mind browning the meat first in a separate pan, I just use some beef stock to get the frond out of the pan and it all goes in the crockpot. I also like that I can make these recipes anytime, not just in the cooler weather because the crockpot doesn't heat up the kitchen.

            1. re: joan828

              Browning makes everything better and is well worth the extra step :-) I forgot to say I don't soak my beans if they're going into the CP.

        2. re: joan828

          I agree. They're great for stocks.
          I make chicken stock every time I roast a chicken. Thanks to ATK's 'High Roast Chicken', I almost always spatchcock my whole birds now, so the backbone and neck go in raw and the rest of the carcass goes in after I remove the meat. Depending on the time of year, the crockpot stays on the low or warm setting to maintain a very low simmer....there is no such thing as "too long" - it can go over 24 hours without having to add more water.

          1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

            This is exactly what I do. Best stock I've ever made, and it doesn't heat up the house (important here in Phoenix where it's still in the 90's). I prefer to not simmer the stock more than 10 hours though, so I tend to make it while I'm at work so I can either use it when I get home or strain it and cool it off in time to go into the fridge by the time I go to bed.

            Stock is pretty much all I use it for. Oh, and stuffed grape leaves.

      2. I do not use my crockpot for much, either. My old one finally died last year (unfortunately with a beef stew in it, unattended for hours) and I waited almost 6 months before replacing it. I tend to use it for beef stew, and to keep things warm when having a large dinner & all burners are in use. That said, I did replace it & like the new one, even think I will try a few more things in it. I am fortunate to have enough space in my present kitchen that it sits in a cupboard til needed and does not interfere with counter space.

        1. +2 for the stove....Crockpots? We have three...haven't seen them in forever.

          1. I bought one, used it for beans, pot roast and braised pork chops, that's all. Now it's gone.
            I just love my stove too much.

            1. i don't own one and don't like the idea of food cooking on its own. a dutch oven i can always peek in at.

              my b/f bought one over the summer -- for me to cook with for him, lol -- i used it exactly once for tapioca pudding which was a disaster. it hasn't seen the light of day since.

              i know people use them so dinner is ready when they get home from work, but anything you make in a slow-cooker will taste even better if you cooked it the day before and just reheat. maybe that means more organizing, but i rarely plan on a braise for dinner the same night. it sits in the fridge so i can skim the fat next day, and the flavors are more developed for having spent the night together. :)

              i vote give it to goodwill.

              1. Oh my...well, I'll be the lone voice here...not really refuting what you say because you obviously don't like your particular crockpot, all well and good...mine is very old, from 1979, seems to have stable heating, and I adore it...but I don't ONLY use it for everything. Plus, I don't own anything le Creuset due to finances so I can't honestly compare. But here in FL, that little contraption saves me a ton of money on electricity especially in the summer (which really is continuing right now...lol!) so I don't heat up the whole house and run my a/c triple-time when I use it. Hopefully, you'll find someone to buy it or you can donate it to a place or family member that will have a good use for it. For the 20+ years of using my old Rival crockpot, I've never felt unsafe leaving it on low while I'm at work for 8 or 9 hours, truth be told. People shouldn't keep items they don't like or use, so I understand your decision. For me, it's a matter of economics and practicality.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Val

                  The crock pot will be used here before the oven whenever it is hot -- which is most of the year for us. Obviously, you can't do everything it it, but things like pot roast and stew and even meatballs and tomato sauce can work it it. It keeps the kitchen cooler, and I get to leave the house if I need to.

                  1. re: RGC1982

                    i never think to eat pot roast or beef stew in summer.

                    <<shrugs>>

                    then again, my summer in boston is only a few months, and this one never happened.

                  2. re: Val

                    I'm with you. I have a Rival I got at a thriftstore 15 years ago so it is vintage. I use it for stock, beans, oatmeal, meat sauce. There are plenty of things I wouldn't bother to cook in the crock but in the summer I make beans every week or so and it is too hot in VA to use the stovetop for that.

                  3. I love my crock pot and use it alot but there are certain things that a crock pot can't be used for. It does come in handy in summer when it's too hot to turn on a oven and I like that I can fill it in the morning and come home to a cooked meal.

                    1. "The only thing crockpot has going for it is that it has autoshut off and I feel safe leaving the house while it is cooking. I do not feel safe leaving the stove on unattended even if it has no flame."

                      I love my crockpot for that reason. I have a few hours during the day where I'm free so I can prep dinner and put it in the crockpot. We get home after 7pm most nights and it's nice to have dinner ready when we walk in the door (rice or potatoes in the rice cooker). I think it does braises and anything simmered well. It does great stock and I don't have to be home for it. But, it's more work than cooking on the stove and if I'm going to be home for 6 hours (rarely happens), I'd do it in the oven or on the stove. I also find that crockpot gives off more heat than I like in the summer so don't use it then. If you're home during the day and can babysit a braise on the stove, I'd get rid of the crockpot.

                      1. Crockpots saved both of my sons from constant dining hall food in college. I gave them many recipes for stews, chilis. chicken cacciatore & even ribs with barbeque sauce. They became very popular at dinner time. I still love mine, even though I'd rather heat the kitchen with tsomething in the oven in winte.r

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: jenni49

                          the problem I have with my crock pot is I am not sure there is heat element on the bottom, the sides get pretty hot and dry out the meat.. but the middle isn't simmering..

                          1. re: CACook

                            I know the early Rival crockpots from the 70s just had heating wire wrapped around the outside of the ceramic inner pot. No heating element on the bottom. Electrically these were about as simple as you could go.

                            Newer ones may have timers, even thermostats. But the old ones just depended on thermal mass of the pot, combined with the low wattage heating element to create the long unattended cooking times.

                        2. I have been playing with my crockpot while our kitchen is about to be renovated. I've always done a great pulled pork in mine but the one nice new thing I've learned is to put a whole squash (today will be spaghetti squash) with no liquid - done when I get home. (I recently did a butternut, or maybe it was an acorn and was thrilled because I don't do squash during the week because it takes a bit too long) I too, get home late sometimes and don't want to eat at 8pm so the crockpot is working great for that. I've done an awesome soup where literally the fridge ended up in this thing (even a cup of cider) and awesome soup was ready when I walked through the door. Granted, I love to cook and this really isn't feeding my passion BUT it's feeding us with very little kitchen.

                          I have this new recipe for veggie bean burritos, I'm anxious to see how it comes out if I just dump all the ingredients in the cp in the morning.

                          1. I would not have ever purchased one, but my rice cooker came with a slower cooker option. The rice cooker saves me from a familyh trait -- inability to cook rice without burning it.

                            I use the sloiw cooker function ♠ every 6 months or so, most often in winter. I wish I had a collection of recipes I could use more often. It is nice to set it up in the a.m. and not worry about supper at night.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: jwg

                              I have been inspired by this blog:
                              http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/

                              I'm amazed at all that she has done with hers!

                              1. re: lexpatti

                                I bought her book. How many of the recipes have you tried? I tried a pork shoulder recipe recently and that was pretty good. Not the best pork shoulder ever but good.
                                I am of two minds about my Crock-Pot. A lot of things I've cooked in it clearly would have been better cooked by some other method. But I like the convenience of having dinner waiting when I come home. I used my Crock-Pot the other day to prepare some beans I had ordered from Rancho Gordo and that was a big success. I plan to make a lot of Crock-Pot beans this winter.

                            2. I have one or two recipes that I use my crockpot for that don't seem to turn out as well in any other cookware. My buffalo wings, for instance.

                              The one huge downside to crockpots is their inflexibility when it comes to quantities. For instance, you can't cook a small amount of food in a large pot. So, basically, in order to make a single or a triple batch of wings, I need to store two crockpots. That kind of sucks.

                              In addition to those two, I have a third crockpot that will eventually be re-wired with a dimmer switch for DIY sous vide. Eventually. Probably later rather than sooner :)

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: scott123

                                really, buff wings in the crockpot?? Please share - I like that idea and a lil healthier than frying!

                                1. re: lexpatti

                                  Well, assuming that you subscribe to the concept that fat is unhealthy (I don't), I'm not sure that my recipe would fall under the 'healthier' category. Wings are a fat fest no matter how you make them. That's why they're so good! :)

                                  And, although 'crockpot wings' sounds like it might be labor/time saving, trust me when I tell you, it's not. The crockpot is just one stage. I cut the wings into wingettes/drumettes, then I bake them on a single layer at 400, flipping them when they're halfway done and blotting them with paper towels when they come out. I prefer a little less vinegary bite to my hot sauce, so I take franks and simmer it for a bit. I also prefer it to cover my wings a bit better so I sprinkle in some gums and a little arrowroot. Sauce and wings go in the crockpot on warm. If that wasn't bad enough, warm on my particular crockpot is a little too warm (the goal is to have sufficient temps to melt the collagen, not cook the wings further), so I have to turn the crockpot off for a few minutes, then on, then off. This goes on for about 2.5 hours.

                                  The whole process is a tremendous pain in the tuckus, but... it produces a succulent wing that falls off the bone and is the best I've ever had. After they come out of the crockpot, I can take the wingettes and, using both hands, pop off the joints at each end and thread the bones through the flesh, leaving the skin intact. People throw around the term 'better than sex' quite a bit- too much, imo. Well, this is way better than sex ;)

                                  When I make my first few million, I will hire a full time chef whose sole purpose will be to make these wings. Boneless wings, on command. You may think I'm kidding. I'm not.

                                  1. re: scott123

                                    :-), very good - thank you. I'm a lover of great wings but don't attempt myself. I'll have to give it a try.

                                    1. re: lexpatti

                                      Seriously? After all that, I was sure I'd scare you away. I did mention that it's incredibly labor-intensive, right? ;)

                                      If you really do think you're going to take the plunge, I have an excel spreadsheet that takes the quantity of meat you have and calculates everything else. I'd say PM me if you're interested, but since there's no PM system :rolleyes: I guess just post here and I'll upload it somewhere.

                                      1. re: scott123

                                        Thank you, I don't follow things to the T so I'll improvise using your directions as my inspiration. I will do this on one of my days that I'm stuck at home office, up to my eyeballs in admin work. thanks again

                              2. I have never been on the crock pot bandwagon. I will often make someting braised on the weekend that I plan to eat during the week. Part of the issue is that to chop ingrediants, brown meat etc still takes time in the morning, and its usuallly time I dont have.

                                1. I have the Williams-Sonoma crockpot with removable stove-top insert. This way I can brown my ingredients in the pot and then just move from stove to crock-pot. I love it. Great for stocks, braises...all sorts of dishes. I like the W-S "slow-cooker" book from the Food Made Fast series. It is so nice to come home from work to find dinner done...or put it on in the morning while I go about town doing errands...I'm anticipating it will get a LOT of use when my baby arrives in December!

                                  1. I don't use my crockpot nearly as much since I've retired. But when I was working long and erratic hours, having dinner cooking while I was elsewhere was a blessing. My new favorite toy is my Presto pressure cooker. It's good for many of the same things as a crockpot like soups, stews and braised meats, plus you can brown first in a pressure cooker.

                                    But now that we're thinking about moving to Phoenix when my husband is finally able to retire, I may have to revamp my strategy. A pressure cooker cooks fast but puts out a huge amount of heat. High today in PHX: a balmy 87 degrees.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: mandycat

                                      Though using a pressure cooker on an induction burner (even a portable 1500w unit) cuts down on the overall heat production. Once it's up to pressure you can lower the heat level of the burner quite a bit.

                                      1. re: mandycat

                                        MandyCat - I use my CP all the time - I'm in Phx also so yeah, it's a a/c saver big time. And a time saver when you're out of the house.

                                        Something to consider if you're moving to Phx, a lot of people (including my SO) cook on their patios . . . all heat stays outside, if you're smart enough to make sure you have power out there. It's not unusual to go to a BBQ and see other cooking implements hooked up on the patio as well! Crockpots, rotisseries, etc.

                                        1. re: JerryMe

                                          Is anyone in this thread NOT from Phoenix? :P

                                          1. re: scott123

                                            I'm not, but my daughter lives in Mesa (lol!)