HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >

Discussion

hunt for the right stockpot - help please!

  • b
  • bka Oct 14, 2011 03:19 PM

cook on my antique Oriole 4-burner gas stove.

prefer made in USA - not China.

clueless: copper? stainless steel? best all-purpose size?

recommended companies?

thanks, mavens, in advance

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. Is it primarily for cooking stock? I like my 12 quart stainless steel one most for stock making, but I am canning it when it's done.

    1. I think if you just want a huge stockpot for making stock, then aluminum is the way to go. Don't even bother with anything too expensive. Just a plain aluminum.

      If you want a medium size stock pot, then either pure aluminum or cladded cookware are good choice. Aluminum is cheaper and just as good for performance. Cladded stainless steel cookware are easier to deal with in term of sticking them inside a wash disher ...etc.

      1. It may be worth your while to check out your local restaurant supply house to see what they have to offer in US made stockpots. Vollrath would be a good choice.

        I have a 12 qt stainless and wouldn't want to go lower if I had to replace it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: SanityRemoved

          I like Vollrath, but keep in mind that, while they're a US-based manufacturer, not all of their product lines seem to be US made. I have a Tribute tri-ply 8 qt stockpot which I like quite a bit -- but it's described as 'imported' by the site I bought it from, and Vollrath's site doesn't say "Made in USA" for that specific product, though they don't say where it's made. Also, their stockers tend to be a bit shorter and squatter than I'd really like.

          Polarware does make some US made stockpots that are tri-ply, but with carbon steel instead of aluminum as the middle layer. Vollrath also makes this style, but I don't know where they're made.

          Browne Halco has some good disk-bottom stockpots at reasonable prices, but I'm not sure about where they're actually produced.

          If your gripe is just with China / Asia, and you don't mind European made stuff, you could look at Sitram and Mafter Bourgeat's stainless cookware with disk bottoms, though a bit more expensive than the major brands sold in the US for commercial kitchen use.

          Of course, you could go with All Clad or Demeyere -- the product is good, but it will be expensive, and IMHO, it's overkill for this application, unless you've got money to burn.

        2. Hi, bka:

          Hard to go too far wrong with thick aluminum, but I would want it a minimum of 4mm thick, at least on the bottom or on a disk. The reason you don't just want a thin pan of SS or a canner-type vessel is that a lot of stocks call for browning bones and sweating/stewing mirrepoix, and the ultra-cheap pots will have such thin bottoms that they don't provide even heat, and so are prone to hotspots and scorching. *However*, if you don't mind doing your roasting/sweating in a different pan first and then transferring (along with added cleanup), you might still consider ultra-cheap.

          Past a certain size relative to your gas burner, aluminum and copper are going to work better at the boiling/simmering part, too. Going too big with a SS or enameled steel pan will be a frustrating experience for you.

          As for optimum size, there is no clear answer. If you're of the school that only makes stock from your leftover bones/carcasses, smaller sizes work better if all your meat ingredients musty be fresh. If you're willing to freeze your leftovers (and have the freezer room/discipline), you can go as large as you wish--subject to your hob size. The largest practical size for me on a semi-wimpy home gas hob is about 14Q, but a larger stocker may straddle two hobs and get you where you want to go.

          Companies... I'd steer you to companies that supply restaurants, like Vollrath and Sitram, and the knockoffs. Stockers by the popular home cookware companies tend to be high on cost and low on value. You can also find some excellent vintage stockers for a song if you don't mind (or learn to love) some kludgy things. If you already have an Oriole, you know what I'm talking about. ;)

          Aloha,
          Kaleo

          3 Replies
          1. re: kaleokahu

            "kludgy"! great word. and yes: :0) yes, indeed I do

            1. re: kaleokahu

              Don't most instructions call for browning the bones (and whole vegetables like onions) in the oven, not in the stockpot? Sweating chopped vegetables would also be easier in a shallow skillet, as opposed to a deep pot - easier, that is, to stir.

              1. re: paulj

                Hi, paulj:

                Yes, they do. If you are constantly making stock (coulis), you pretty much have to do it that way, but if you are making it one batch at a time, you don't. Smaller stockers fit in the oven, too if you want to do it that way.

                I find swapping, washing and drying 2x the pans more trouble than stirring my mirrepoix with a long-handled spoon

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

            2. I'm a big fan of thrift stores that give things a second life. If your stock pot just needs to have volume, rather than being used for an another techniques, I say just go to your local thrift store and find one that provides the volume you require. I would bet the price will be great.

              1. i have been researching stock pots and came across Libertyware Stainless Stock Pots (made in Turkey). Does anyone have any opinion on these as the price seems lower than other equivalents I have found?

                toward the bottom
                http://www.dvorsons.com/Volrath/Stock...

                1. I have an 8qt pasta pot from Bed. Bath& Beyond's store line. Not long after buying it, I learned that pasta is easily mad ein a smaller pot, steeping it over a turned-off burner once the water comes to a boil. So i was wishing I had never bought the pasta pot until I realized it's the PERFECT pot for making stock. No hoisting a hot, heavy pot to pour out the solids into a colander over a second pot, blinded by steam and inevitably splashing as the solids hit the colander. Just lift up the perforated insert, tilt it and let it rest against the rim to drain a moment, then remove it and let the stock cool in the pot it cooked in. It's safer and easier. You do not need a heavy pot for stockmaking. In fact, the heavier the pot, the harder it is to move the filled pot.

                  1. thank you all! still confused, but confused and enlightened. not a bad combo. leaning toward iron of all things....about to check out the restaurant supply pots. as Joni Mitchell said "none of the crazy you get from too much choice"..luxury problems in crazy times.

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: bka

                      Oh, do reconsider. A large iron Dutch oven is plenty heavy empty. A quart of water weighs 2 pounds. It's awfully hard to control a full pot weighing close to 20 pounds as you tilt it slowly to pour it out, even if your arms are strong. I say this as someone who lifts a 40 pound bag of dog kibble with one hand.

                      1. re: bka

                        It might help if you mention what you'll be using it for primarily -- will you mostly be using it for stocks? Boiling pasta? Making soups / stews?

                        1. re: bka

                          Iron? You want a iron stock pot? Or do you mean a cast iron Dutch Oven? Now, I am confused too.

                          1. re: bka

                            Hi, bka:

                            Please don't do that. You will probably regret it. Friends don't let friends buy iron cooking pots (except maybe camp ovens--the real dutch ovens).

                            Do you have $25? I recommend this:

                            http://www.ebay.com/itm/GUARDIAN-STOC...

                            You'll have to find a lid, sorry. If you cook in this and regret it, I'll buy it from you.

                            Aloha,
                            Kaleo

                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              "Friends don't let friends buy iron cooking pots "

                              Ha ha ha.

                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                my grandmother promised me there would be a lid for every pot. :0)

                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                  I hate carrying those swingy things. It's virtually guaranteed I will spill something from that sort of vessel when I move it.

                                  Someone (greygarious?) recommended using a stainless steel pasta pentola (or multi cooker) for making stock. You simply lift the pentola out to remove the bones, veg, etc. What could be easier? I'm thinking of getting one myself.

                                  Cuisinart: http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-Class...

                                  All Clad: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000...

                                  1. re: Jay F

                                    I lied - my pasta pot is not from BB&B, it was Linens 'n Things when they still had stores.

                                    This appears to be the same thing (and you can deduct 20% through Tuesday) but I know for sure that when I bought mine, on sale, it wasn't more than $20. Though the stainless sides are fairly thin, the bottom has an aluminum core so it heats up well, even on my ancient electric cooktop that doesn't heat as hot as I'd like. http://www.lnt.com/searchx/0/0/1/1/?s...

                                    There are a bunch in the $20 range on eBay.

                                    1. re: Jay F

                                      Hi, Jay F:

                                      The pentola is not a bad idea, nor is a chinoise, for this. If it fits the stockpot closely, it is the functional not only for the initial filtering/straining but for maximum exposure of the ingredients to the convection currents within the liquid. *However*, if the pentola/chinoise confines the solids in a smaller area, I think you lose something.

                                      The biggest problem with the pentolas in making stocks is the coarseness of the strain--you usually have to strain the stock again anyway, perhaps several times. Keller warns against "dumping" stock through sieves, insisting that ladled stocks are clearer stocks. If you have to ladle anyway, the benefit of avoiding it the first time with the pentola isn't all that great.

                                      Now then, when it's the *solids* that you're keepiing, the pentola is worth it's weight in gold. Blanched vegetables can go from boiling to icebath in 2 seconds, and pasta into your second pan with butter, sauce, etc. to finish. Your sink/colander marriage (never a good match anyway) can be dissolved. They're great for that.

                                      A lot of people tend to throw these away, so you can often find them at thrift stores. I got mine, a lucky perfect fit, at a garage sale for $2.

                                      Personally, I like bail handles on larger pots, provided the pot also has an "ear"-type handle to use to steady and pour with.

                                      One stocker feature not often seen or discussed is the spigot at the bottom. The liquid is treated gently, the weight disappears, and you can strain it as it flows. Pretty slick. I think they are still made in sizes for home use. Anyone interested should start looking a homebrew supply places.

                                      Aloha,
                                      Kaleo

                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                        Is a "bail" handle the handle in that eBay auction you linked to?

                                        I've never had a stockpot with a spigot at the bottom, but yes, it sounds as if it would be very useful. I had a neighbor who used one for steaming clams when I was young. IIRC, you could tap into some clam juice that way. I never actually used it, but I think that's what you're talking about.

                                        I gave a pentola away just like you're talking about. Used for pasta, I find them sloppy: as much water gets on the floor as in the sink if you use it the way some people do on TV (Mary Ann Esposito picks up the pentola and crosses the room, getting water all over the place).

                                        I never used it for pasta, so I put in in a giveaway pile when I moved once. Haven't missed it.

                                  2. re: bka

                                    If you are serious about cast iron, consider an African potjie. This style is deeper than the American dutch/camp oven, and better suited to stews and soups. It's actually an old European style (from hearth cooking days), that has mainly survived in south Africa. A similar shaped ceramic pot (olla, bean pot, etc) has been the preferred slow cooking/stewing vessel for a lot longer.

                                    http://www.taste-africa.com/product_p...

                                    1. re: paulj

                                      great to find out about the potjie! thanks. also found this interesting info: http://www.stillmadeinusa.com/kitchen...

                                  3. Hello bka,
                                    This may not be fancy or big name bling, but our largest stock pot is a Kenmore 16 qt from Sears. Stainless with a clad bottom. It works quite well and when adding acidic ingredients to stock, there is no interaction like there would be with aluminum. We also have the 12 qt pasta pot from Cuisinart and the pasta basket is good for keeping bones and carcass relatively easy to remove. Both have served us well.

                                    1. it was a caterer who suggested the cast iron. I tend to want to use as few pots as possible - the "packing for the Apocalypse" mode: can I make soup in it? will it do on a wood stove or a campfire can I put it in the oven as well as on top, does it hold heat am I iron-deprived.....and so on. the kind of ( think dropped-mercury) intelligence that defeats wisdom. also as a card-carrying foodie, I want to be as mindful as possible about fuel, about eating as sacrament vs. "fix" - like to keep my ancestors in mind & simplify. oh well. you all are nudging me toward common sense, a place I've rarely visited. again, thanks!

                                      1. Here is another thing to think about. If you can find higher and narrower, it will be more of a pleasure to use. l use an old copper stock pot that is 13" wide by 19" high, fits easily on one burner and a lot of stuff can be stocked in it. Because of the height to width ratio it keeps stock burbling easier than a wide topped one.

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                          I like that shape a lot. have a photo of Julia Child's copper stock pot (that I read was retired to hold rolling pins when she began to use a stainless steel ? one) - and it has those proportions. haven't seen one yet. it would be ideal on my small stove.

                                          1. re: bka

                                            The Mauviel "soup station" has similar proportions, tall and narrow, fairly heavy copper, tin lining, POS brass handles.

                                            1. re: tim irvine

                                              pretty, "no longer available" at Wms.Sonoma, and priced at $199 - $495 - too highbrow for my Oriole, methinks, but thanks, t.i.

                                              1. re: bka

                                                Usually see them on ebay

                                                1. re: tim irvine

                                                  got my eye on one there.....vintage & pricey........

                                                  1. re: bka

                                                    Hi, bka:

                                                    If you want copper and are patient, there are great deals out there. I found a 14Q Ruffoni in excellent condition for $75. And, with respect, you are wrong about a copper stocker not complementing your Oriole. Can you post a photo of your stove?

                                                    Aloha,
                                                    Kaleo

                                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                                      Hi Kaleokahu: too techno-clueless, alas. she's about 26"x26", just under 3 ft. high, 4 eight-pointed star burners, black iron & white enamel and a shelf about 17" above the back 2 burners. I like copper, and have my eye on a vintage eBay piece at the mo.

                                                      1. re: bka

                                                        Hi, bka:

                                                        Not photo-able? That's a mark in your favor, I think. Sounds like a cool old stove.

                                                        Cheers,
                                                        Kaleo

                                        2. This discussion has led me to another question about china caps / chinois strainer for stock pots. Is a 10" china cap intended for a stock pot with a 10" diameter?

                                          I am looking at various reviews of china caps and everyone is mentioning the product is bigger than they expected. Any guidance, thanks.

                                           
                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: atg106

                                            Why should the strainer match the stock pot? It should match the recipient pot, which in my case is usually a mixing bowl.

                                            There are two scenarios:
                                            - the stock pot is small enough to lift and pour from. Ideally the strainer should be big enough to hold all the solids, and the bowl should be deep enough to contain all the liquid (below the strainer).
                                            - the stock pot is too big to handle when full. In this case I would use a ladle. The size of strainer and bowl is not so critical.

                                            Admittedly I don't have a china cap and don't think I could make good use of one.

                                            1. re: paulj

                                              Hi, paulj:

                                              Perhaps you have misunderstood. Your use is typical, but what was being discussed above was using a pentola or a chinoise/cap inside the stocker as an alternative to lifting the heavy pot. The idea was to place all your solids into the pentola, put it into the stockpot, and then simply remove the solids with the pentola rather than dumping or ladling. I expressed my though that the pentola ought to fit the stocker pretty closely, so as not to confine the solids too much while cooking.

                                              Aloha,
                                              Kaleo

                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                The pasta colander makes sense in that use. But a china cap is conical and fine meshed. It would confine the contents, and limit circulation. It would be like making tea with a tea egg that is too small.

                                                1. re: paulj

                                                  Hi, paulj:

                                                  I think you're right.

                                                  Aloha,
                                                  Kaleo

                                            2. re: atg106

                                              I've got a very large one, and it's actually a bit too deep to fit in one of my stockpots, let alone a mixing bowl. It is amazing for straining stock - just wish I had gotten one that's a notch smaller.

                                              1. re: atg106

                                                Hi, atg106:

                                                Generally speaking, the answer is yes, if the cap tapers starting at the rim. The one you show may not taper, i.e., may itself be 10" in diameter, and so may not sit *entirely* down inside a 10-inch pot. However, it obviously tapers down to a point, so *most* of it will fit.

                                                Unfortunately, there are more sizing issues than just diameter. That ear you see opposite the handle solves the Goldilocks "too small" problem (the ear clips on the pot wall and the handle spans the rest of the pot). But if the cap is too high (pot not deep enough) the ear won't catch and the whole thing will be very tippy and unstable.

                                                I have an inexpensive 8" diameter SS chinoise from Fantes that I am happy with, size-wise. But it takes a pot at least 9" deep--it has guards protecting the mesh. Going much smaller than 8" in diameter risks spilling (including those purpose-defeating spills *into* what you've just strained!).

                                                One thing to consider is getting one that comes with it's own separate metal stand. If you're doing more than straining stock, these are pretty essential because you can set the stand/cap over a regular mixing bowl and work away without anything needing moving, holding, etc.

                                                Hope This Helps,
                                                Kaleo

                                              2. Dear Chowhounds,

                                                I've got
                                                my pot!
                                                thanks a lot!!!!!!!!!

                                                7 Replies
                                                1. re: bka

                                                  bka, Aloha:

                                                  Now, you can't leave us hanging like this... What did you get?

                                                  Kaleo

                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                    it's like the one to the far right, 5 quart, Coventry copper, Montreal:

                                                    http://hamilton.kijiji.ca/c-buy-and-s...

                                                    1. re: bka

                                                      Hi, bka:

                                                      Congratulations! I hadn't heard of this maker, but a close look at the photo reveals a good thickness. The helper handle on a large "saucepan" is a great addition.

                                                      I bet it looks good on your Oriole.

                                                      Happy Cooking,
                                                      Aloha,
                                                      Kaleo

                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                        thanks for the blessing, Kaleo - if I learn to post a photo by the time she arrives (what to name her?) I certainly will take her picture on the stove. why am I about to name my stockpot? hmmmmmmmmm. :0)

                                                        1. re: bka

                                                          Hi, bka:

                                                          We name things like this because we value them far more than their acquisition/replacement cost would indicate. I have an 19thC 4G pan configured just like yours ("saucepan + helper) that just goes by "Big Girl".

                                                          Hmmm... Why not "Ipulani" (Beautiful Pot) for short? For more formal occasions and so that she can attract an equally handsome mate, it might be better to give her the full name, "Ipulanikaikeleaweokalaniobka" (bka's heavenly beautiful copper stockpot), and just call her Ipu around the kitchen. Hawai'ian is a poetic and highly allusional language, and "Ipu" is sometimes intentionally used as a term of (non-literal) endearment because it is so close to "Ipo" (sweetheart).

                                                          Whatever you name her, spank her once for me, and Happy Cooking.

                                                          Aloha,
                                                          Kaleo

                                                          1. re: kaleokahu

                                                            "Ipulanikaikeleaweokalaniobka" what a gorgeous language!!! thanks, kaleo, I will sound out the pronounciation, and make bka into babka, as I am a poet.

                                                            and on another subject -- has the question of "safe" non-stick pots/pans been discussed here?

                                                            aloha,

                                                            babka the expectant potma :0)

                                                            1. re: bka

                                                              Hi, babka:

                                                              Just take it slow and break it up... Ipu-lani-kai-keleawe-o-kalani-o-bka. (EEpoo-LAHnee-Kigh-KaylayAVay-Oh-KAHlahnee-O-bka

                                                              Oh, yeah, there are a lot of threads on non-stick/PTFE and "greener substitutes" here. A lot of heat but precious little light. The funniest stuff has mostly been poofed.

                                                              Aloha,
                                                              Kaleo