Gas burner or electric convection oven more efficient?
With the economy the way it is, our family has been trying to save money where we can, without having to sacrifice too much in the way of good food. Since it is possible to cook cheaper cuts of meat, such as brisket, in our enameled cast iron Dutch oven and have it turn out tender and flavorful, we were wondering if it is more economical to cook it on a gas burner on top of the stove at a simmer for 4 hours, or in the electric convection oven at 325° for 4 hours. It seems to me that the stovetop option is probably cheapest, as you're not having to heat a whole oven for that length of time, but maybe not. Either way, is there any perceived difference in the food when cooked one way or the other?
You have a great idea in slow cooking tough cuts of meat. And I agree with Maximilien. Another option requiring less time would be a good stove top pressure cooker. But they are not inexpensive. However you would be able to sit your cooking time from 4 hours to less than half, maybe even down to one hour after pressure is reached. Unless you are used to them, they take some fiddling around till you get the heat just right (low enough to maintain the pressure your want). There are a lot of electric press cookers available and most are non-stick; one that is not is the instant, it is all stainless. I have zero experience with them, but close to 40 years with the stovetop cookers.
I have also been considering buying a slow cooker. Have you had any experience with those, dcrb? I've never used one, despite years of making stews and casseroles in my Dutch oven. And as Maximilien notes, using the gas burner has probably not been as efficient . Slow cookers are relatively cheap, and I'd feel more comfortable using one of those than a pressure cooker, as my grandmother was seriously burned by hers once when it accidentally exploded. No doubt, it was something she did wrong, but I'd prefer to leave a smaller margin of error!
The place we're moving to will have a smaller convection oven than the one we've got now, so when using it at least I won't feel that I'm heating a lot of space for nothing. (Though I will miss being able to roast two turkeys at once!)