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Vollrath aluminum stock pot differences? What's good, bad, and just different?

Sid Post Jun 15, 2012 01:31 PM

I have been looking at getting a very large stockpot mainly for canning stuff in the garden but, occasional holiday seafood boils or a fried turkey are options as well.

I want something cheap, durable, and easy to clean. I believe I want to stay with welded handles for ease of cleaning and strength (I'm not sure I would trust a good set of rivets in a ~40~60~80 quart stock pot). I also want something with a thick bottom to take high heat without warping or scorching due to "hot spots". I want a thick rim so it will stay "round" if dropped or gets banged around in a garage or closet. I also want sides rigid enough to avoid dents or outright cracks or punctures if dropped (empty of course;-).

When I read about something like the Vollrath 69404 4.5-qt Heavy Duty Aluminum Sauce Pan, it's pretty easy to see how it is constructed and differentiate it from other seemingly similar pans.

Would the Vollrath 68660 60-qt Heavy Duty Aluminum Sauce Pot w/ Welded Handles be their best option? How does it compare to other Vollrath stock pots? How hard is it to clean (thin ridges, small radius "curves and edges")?

Would a different brand offer similar performance at a reduced cost?

TIA,
Sid

  1. g
    GH1618 Jun 15, 2012 04:36 PM

    If you use the Vollrath 32-qt pot, at least a commonly available canning jar rack would fit it. That seems more practical if you want to use one pot for both cooking and canning.

    By the way, 60 quarts of water weighs about 120 lbs.

    1 Reply
    1. re: GH1618
      Sid Post Jun 15, 2012 05:19 PM

      Yep, a 32 quart model would be a lot easier to lift loaded but at 13" in diameter it is narrower then I want.

      I grew up on farm so, I have a reasonable idea what it takes to work with one of these. Depending on what was baled, a square bale you toss by hand can run well in excess of a 100 pounds. 100 pound feed sacks were always a pain because they had no handles and weren't rigid so they were hard to hang on to when you lifted one. Manually throwing straw bales on the end of a pitchfork into a second story hay loft was a lot of fun too.

      Filling 55 gallon aquariums by 5 gallon bucket was always fun too. Especially the one high sided one on the tall stand.

    2. g
      GH1618 Jun 15, 2012 01:37 PM

      Canning should be done with equipment designed for the purpose. Best to consider the stockpot separate from the desire to do canning, in my opinion.

      3 Replies
      1. re: GH1618
        Sid Post Jun 15, 2012 03:43 PM

        All the canning stockpots I have found are the thin camping enamel kind. Why would I buy one of those and a separate stockpot? Plus, it's not like storing two small sauce pots.

        Ball and other brands of canning stock pots are really nothing special. I'd rather buy the right one the first time. And I do mean ONE! ;-)

        1. re: Sid Post
          g
          GH1618 Jun 15, 2012 04:09 PM

          You can't do pressure canning without a pressure canner designed for the purpose. If you are satisfied to do only boiling water bath canning, then any sufficiently large pot will do. Using a commercial stock pot seems a very expensive way to boil water. You need the heavy aluminum pot for cooking, but not for canning. Then thete's the question of size. The volume of the pot may be large, but the capacity for canning jars depends on the geometry, not only the volume. You need to determine how many jars it will hold, allowing them to be completely covered with water while separated from the bottom and from each other. An inexpensive canning kettle will come with a wire rack to hold a specified number of standard jars in proper position, and allowing them to be lifted out to cool. This will have to be improvised if you use any old pot.

          Unless you really need to cook in a 60-qt pot, I imagine it would be less expensive to buy a smaller pot for cooking and a canning kettle for canning. The canner can also be used to cook a crab.

          Edit: It does appear that the 60-qt pot would hold quart Mason jars two deep, if a suitable rack were used. You shouldn't just stack one jar on top of another.

          1. re: GH1618
            Sid Post Jun 15, 2012 04:31 PM

            I'm not planning on canning meat so, based on everything I have read and been told a pressure canner is not needed.

            Regarding depth, I have considered both the single and double deep options. Doing a stand off for either isn't too difficult. The main thing I need to consider on size is the width (outdoor high BTU propane burner or a stove top model) and the overall weight and height if I want to use it on the stove top. I'm leaning to an outside burner for water bath canning so, I would most likely go with something larger in width and deep enough for a double layer a quart jars.

            I totally agree that it is over kill for canning but, I do fill up a 12 quart stock pot often enough to make me wish for something bigger - within reason.

            For pressure canning, I have an assortment of pressure cookers in the 4 to 8 quart sizes if I decide to try canning something with meat in it.

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