Poll

How do you feel about your crock pot?

Essential purchase, couldn't imagine life without it
183 (40.5%)
Use it sometimes. I guess it's ok
182 (40.3%)
Never use it. Waste of money. I regret the purchase
25 (5.5%)
I don't have one.
62 (13.7%)

Total Members Voted: 443

Voting closed: January 20, 2015, 11:41:44 PM

Author Topic: Crock Pot Regret  (Read 44071 times)

dungoofed

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Crock Pot Regret
« on: December 21, 2014, 11:41:44 PM »
I've never met anyone who has negative feelings towards a crock pot they bought/received. I think it could be a contender for the consumer good that spawns the most satisfaction in the world.

I'm happy to hear more stories of Crock Pot Love but this time I'm particularly interested in hearing from people who regret or are lukewarm towards their purchase.

Vote away!

.22guy

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2014, 12:07:43 AM »
My girlfriend bought me one a few years ago and I was pretty ambivalent at first.  I gradually started using it and then totally fell in love withit.  Nothing like coming home to some nice, warm chili, soup, etc after a long day at work!

I use mine probably 2 or 3 times a week and most of my recipes provide a ton of leftovers.

Goldielocks

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2014, 12:12:04 AM »
DH finally told me that he hates crock pot meals.   He does not like "wet" or steamed types of foods.   Items like chili, lentils, meatballs in sauce, some stews that are supposed to be wet are OK, but not to be joyful over....  Braising meat before the pot roast is started helps, but is more time consuming and not enough for him.   I don't find a point in using the crock pot for non-main course dishes (other than slow baked beans).

Stewed Chicken, Pork & Chops, and especially beef pot roast are on his list of "Be polite and eat it" meals.  He is not a fan of pulled pork, for example...   (This is regardless of seasonings / flavor -- he much prefers grilled or roasted or stir fry, or well, almost anything, to the crock pot.).

To each their own, but if you like seared meats / drier foods, Crock pot is not a great choice.

dungoofed

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2014, 12:25:36 AM »
DH finally told me that he hates crock pot meals.   He does not like "wet" or steamed types of foods.   Items like chili, lentils, meatballs in sauce, some stews that are supposed to be wet are OK, but not to be joyful over....  Braising meat before the pot roast is started helps, but is more time consuming and not enough for him.   I don't find a point in using the crock pot for non-main course dishes (other than slow baked beans).

Stewed Chicken, Pork & Chops, and especially beef pot roast are on his list of "Be polite and eat it" meals.  He is not a fan of pulled pork, for example...   (This is regardless of seasonings / flavor -- he much prefers grilled or roasted or stir fry, or well, almost anything, to the crock pot.).

To each their own, but if you like seared meats / drier foods, Crock pot is not a great choice.

I'm in shock.

Just kidding. But you raise an interesting point - I was well aware that there are some dishes where the crock pot will always run a distant second place to the original oven/frypan versions, but I had never considered that there are people for whom the entire "slow cooked meal" doesn't agree with their palate. 

Goldielocks

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2014, 12:34:25 AM »
DH finally told me that he hates crock pot meals.   He does not like "wet" or steamed types of foods.   Items like chili, lentils, meatballs in sauce, some stews that are supposed to be wet are OK, but not to be joyful over....  Braising meat before the pot roast is started helps, but is more time consuming and not enough for him.   I don't find a point in using the crock pot for non-main course dishes (other than slow baked beans).

Stewed Chicken, Pork & Chops, and especially beef pot roast are on his list of "Be polite and eat it" meals.  He is not a fan of pulled pork, for example...   (This is regardless of seasonings / flavor -- he much prefers grilled or roasted or stir fry, or well, almost anything, to the crock pot.).

To each their own, but if you like seared meats / drier foods, Crock pot is not a great choice.


I'm in shock.

Just kidding. But you raise an interesting point - I was well aware that there are some dishes where the crock pot will always run a distant second place to the original oven/frypan versions, but I had never considered that there are people for whom the entire "slow cooked meal" doesn't agree with their palate.
Yep!  And here I bought a crock pot 10 years ago, and voted it an "essential" (for me) that even comes with us on vacation.  We finally discussed why he would not eat the leftovers when I travel (but buys expensive deli or takeout instead)  AHA!   Three days of pulled pork or pot roast is his idea of purgatory (to be polite)!

Truly,  even I agree that "Stewed" roast chicken is not the best presentation / use of chicken, even if it was the easiest dinner imaginable, and I only made a few of those before I stopped.

swick

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2014, 12:49:41 AM »
goldielock's husband aside, most of the people I know who don't like/use their crockpots just don't know how to utilize them. I may or may not admit to having three of them (all given to me by said folks who don't like/know how to use  them) and there are times when I will have them all going at once.

I do a lot of "from scratch" cooking and the crock pot makes it 100 times easier. I'm very lucky my hubby likes soups and stews, but most of the time we aren't making main courses in them. I dont think I have ever made a pot roast.

A few things I do:
 - make bone broths
 - cook dry beans
 - make chai tea concentrate
 - cook a brined whole chicken, shred it to use for meal for the upcoming week
 - make a mean batch of mexican pinto beans
 - make tajines
 - make soap

totoro

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2014, 03:41:44 AM »
I too prefer other cooking methods.  I find that a crockpot often cooks past the point I enjoy.  Flavours get too melded and aren't as bright and interesting. It is very convenient though.

Things I've liked done in the crockpot are pulled pork, tongue, pea soup and beans.  I prefer to cook chili, stew and other soup in a pot as I like to fry some of the ingredients and control how cooked the vegetables end up.  I like the taste of grilled, bbq'd or roasted meat and vegetables much better in general.   

What I do love is a good rice cooker. 

sarah8001

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2014, 04:11:35 AM »
I still get excited about every batch of bone broth - I've got one going right now! From something I would have thrown away (chicken carcass) I get an amazing, tasty, nutritional broth that enhances all my recipes and will get my dog to eat anything. The crockpot makes it so easy. And speaking of chicken, it may not make the best looking roast chicken, but it comes out so juicy and tasty (just put a whole bulb of garlic, cut up, under the skin, put chicken on foil balls to keep out of juice so it's not so soggy). Spicy pop pulled pork (pork roast, half a Dr. Pepper, a couple of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, brown sugar, salt) is heaven on buttered, broiled ciabatta rolls. My mom makes a plum sauce that involves pitting plums, putting them in the crockpot and letting them go until they're mush and putting them through a food mill. It's so good, makes everything delicious. Also excellent for apple sauce. It's the first cooking appliance I recommend to new cooks, because you can cook many delicious meals with very little skill. Second appliance would probably be an immersion blender.

stripey

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2014, 04:43:38 AM »
I don't regret my slowcooker, not one bit, but I find the sort of recipes people typically make frequently bland (same as with say, a Vita-mix-- makes things decently, but often not superbly). I limit my slow cooker to:

- Making a very big batch of jam, incl. chilli jam
- Thermos for making yoghurt
- Making large amounts of sugo
- Soups with specific stock bases, e.g. pho (makes amazing pho soup base!)
- Meat stews where meat is thoroughly browned first to seal in flavour
- Bone broth (what my mum always called '24h stock')
- Small steamed puddings in basins

The fact that it can do all these things easily is reason enough for me to have one. But in general my every day cooking tends to be more stir-fry and salad based than anything.

Holyoak

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2014, 05:54:18 AM »
I like them, but the newer models seem like low boil and high boil machines...  Older models seemed to slow cook at sub boiling temps with better results, and I'd guess some sort of regulation has made slow cooker temps much higher than previous models.

oldfierm

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2014, 06:02:46 AM »
Lately I've noticed a trend that could lead to crockpot regret - the interwebs/facebook is full of little articles entitled "3 ingredient crock-pot meals" and the like.  These recipes all sound fantastic, theoretically, but when you think about what's in them, there is no way they could actually taste good.  Sometimes food does actually have to be seasoned. 

So used correctly, you aren't going to see much regret.  Used by someone who doesn't really know how to cook and sees these recipes as an easy way to learn?  I think you are going to end up with someone who thinks a crockpot just produces a bunch of bland, crappy meals.

I don't use mine that often, partly because I LOVE to cook and slaving over a stove actually relaxes me after a day at work.  Mine was a gift from my mother-in-law after she replaced it with a new one.  Pretty sure, based on the color/age, that it was made in the late 1970's.  Still works like a charm!   

Mr. Frugalwoods

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2014, 06:16:02 AM »
I like my crockpot, but I honestly use it less that I imagined I would.  I actually like hands on cooking.  I also don't really follow recipes when I cook so tasting along the way is important to getting the final flavor profile I'm looking for.

That being said, there is a class of stuff that I always crockpot.  Later this week I'll do a shredded chicken recipe that will keep us in tacos for days!  Yum.

begood

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2014, 06:49:21 AM »
I am a terrible cook. I have made some truly revolting meals out of the "Fix It and Forget It" cookbooks. BUT! I have also found some sure-fire, work-every-time crock-pot recipes.

I have two slow cookers - a 4 qt and an 8 qt. I use the 8 qt to make a chili recipe that turns out perfect every single time, and a double recipe can either 1) feed an army; or 2) feed my family from the freezer for six meals.

My favorite thing to make in the 4 qt one is steel-cut oatmeal, which is one of those "works every single time" recipes. I get 10 servings for $.08 each and it's super easy. The longest part is parceling out the batch in half-cup portions into baggies to put in the freezer.

I've learned never to include pasta or rice in a slow-cooker recipe. Or stuffing. Or Lipton Onion Soup Mix. Don't ask: I'm still getting over the trauma.

stripey

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2014, 06:52:02 AM »
I like them, but the newer models seem like low boil and high boil machines...  Older models seemed to slow cook at sub boiling temps with better results, and I'd guess some sort of regulation has made slow cooker temps much higher than previous models.

+1

I have an older one, because I specifically wanted a crockpot to replace what my mother's slow-combustion stove would do with a decent cast-iron pot with a firm lid. Gas cooking is great for stir-frys, but I don't feel like I can leave it on low for hours on end...

looking for FI

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2014, 06:59:25 AM »
+1 on steel cut oatmeal. Waking up to a hot delicious bowl of pupmkin spice, apple cinnamon, or mixed berry oatmeal in the morning is awesome. I have found the key to using the crockpot well is searing the meat before and topping with fresh ingredients after.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2014, 07:29:00 AM »
I'm not a fan. I just prefer to make crockpot type meals on the stove top.

I still use it to make vegetable stock.

If I still ate meat, I would probably still use it for pulled pork and ham.

RelaxedGal

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2014, 07:37:48 AM »
I like them, but the newer models seem like low boil and high boil machines...  Older models seemed to slow cook at sub boiling temps with better results, and I'd guess some sort of regulation has made slow cooker temps much higher than previous models.

Amen.  I make chicken stock on low overnight and in the morning all the onion scraps/etc that float have burned.  How in the heck?

I voted "Meh."  We use it about once/month to (over) cook a chicken, and every few months to make stock.  That was in the 7 quart with only a manual control knob.  I just bought myself a Crock Pot 4 quart "programmable" that will switch to warm after 4 or 6 hours on High, or 8 or 10 hours on Low.  3 chicken thighs, resting on a bed of potatoes, started on low at 7:30 am today for 8 hours on low - we'll see how they are at 5:30 tonight. [Edit: Yay!  Falling off the bone tender but NOT dried out like with the old pot.  A win!]

I also had a "little Dipper" style 1 quart pot and tried to make overnight oatmeal.  Also a burned mess, the only setting is "plugged in" which apparently maps to "High".  However, it's great for fondue or keeping dips warm at parties.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2014, 09:50:25 AM by RelaxedGal »

RMD

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2014, 07:38:20 AM »
My husband is another who is not a fan.  He's not big into soups or stews...which just makes me sad.

Where the crock pots come in handy for me is on holidays.  I do our dressing and mashed potatoes ahead and then heat them the morning of in the crock pots.  Saves time and space Thanksgiving morning, especially.

TN_Steve

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2014, 07:47:43 AM »
We love to cook, but during the week a crock pot might be useful (don't own one).

Two questions:  1) what is the longest that you would be comfortable setting the "cook time" for?  Is a 9-5, or 7-5 type job a necessity?  2) related, what happens if you unexpectedly get delayed at work for 2 or 3 hours, so that dinner is at 9 or later, rather than the planned 7?

(These questions are a large reason why we don't have a crock pot--maybe we made wrong assumptions about the answers.)


bogart

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2014, 08:01:39 AM »
DH finally told me that he hates crock pot meals.   


Mine is not such a fan either, but I see this as a plus.  Cook crock pot meals, store in freezer as needed.  Thaw/warm/supplement-as-needed/serve on those days that DH looks like a deer in the headlights when I say, "What's for supper?" and remind him that he always has the option of doing more cooking. 

GrayGhost

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2014, 08:04:29 AM »
Crock pot recipes can be okay. I say this as a guy who can cook pretty well, but the truth is that a single guy like me with hobbies and an interest in my job doesn't need to spend much time cooking. Essentially, my skills are wasted on myself.

I cook lunch and dinner about once a week, all at one go. It takes me about a half hour of prep to dump carbs, meat, and vegetables into a crock pot, and that's food for the next week. It usually comes out okay. Not the best thing you'll ever eat, but I keep it healthy and nutritious, and if your view of food is that it's fuel first and entertainment second, it works out just fine.

iris lily

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2014, 08:05:59 AM »
For cooking beans it's brilliant.

For everything else, it's shiite.

TerriM

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2014, 08:07:44 AM »
I gave mine away and regret it.  But I have a sous-vide now which can do slow cooking, though it's not the same.

Runge

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2014, 08:14:06 AM »
I'm still getting into the world of crockpot cooking, and so far I'm really enjoying it. I love my slowcooker. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005LLUXNM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 It has three different settings; program the time, manual, or temperature probe. It also has a lid that I can latch down if I'm taking it over to a friend's for a potluck. It's extremely fancypants, but it's totally awesome and feeds my nerdiness. I'm still wanting to try out different recipes like chili, gumbo, and a few others, but some of my favorites so far are the pulled pork and mulled wine.

Yes...totally make mulled wine in that sucker. Since I have a temp probe, I can set the temperature I want, and once it hits that temperature, it switches over to warm. Perfect for heating up some mulled wine while not letting it get too hot and burning off all the alcohol.

I like to whip up a crockpot dish on the weekend, and it'll often last me the rest of the week. Simple, and allows me to free up time instead of having to do so many dishes.

strongmag

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2014, 08:24:44 AM »
We love to cook, but during the week a crock pot might be useful (don't own one).

Two questions:  1) what is the longest that you would be comfortable setting the "cook time" for?  Is a 9-5, or 7-5 type job a necessity?  2) related, what happens if you unexpectedly get delayed at work for 2 or 3 hours, so that dinner is at 9 or later, rather than the planned 7?

(These questions are a large reason why we don't have a crock pot--maybe we made wrong assumptions about the answers.)

I'm out of the house for about 12 hours most workdays and use the crockpot for soup/stew/chili type meals. These types of meals seem to work out ok even if they were cooked for 12 hours, but we went for a crockpot that has a timer feature. I set the time and heat in the morning (most recipes I make call for 8 hours of cooking on low) and then it switches to a "warm" setting until I get home and turn it off, which I think might answer both your questions.

TN_Steve

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #25 on: December 22, 2014, 08:52:18 AM »

***

I'm out of the house for about 12 hours most workdays and use the crockpot for soup/stew/chili type meals. These types of meals seem to work out ok even if they were cooked for 12 hours, but we went for a crockpot that has a timer feature. I set the time and heat in the morning (most recipes I make call for 8 hours of cooking on low) and then it switches to a "warm" setting until I get home and turn it off, which I think might answer both your questions.

Thanks!  Have to reconsider in light of that.

vhalros

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #26 on: December 22, 2014, 08:53:42 AM »
The only thing I don't like about my crock pot is that it only holds 6 quarts of food, which just is not enough. I guess I could get a second one. It's also slightly annoying that you can't cook things from frozen, I suppose.

2ndTimer

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #27 on: December 22, 2014, 08:54:01 AM »
I use mine for all the stuff that used to simmer on the wood stove when I was growing up.  Beans, bones, soup, stew, etc.  Having been brought up cooking like that I learned that the big trick for that kind of food is knowing what to add at the very end to brighten the flavor.  A chopped fresh tomato added to beef stew and just returned to a boil before serving does amazing things for the flavor.

MicrobeMama

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #28 on: December 22, 2014, 09:01:40 AM »
It was an absolute essential in the 70s when I was feeding 3+ people from our homestead production (the plus was my husband who worked outdoors in Michigan weather and ate like 3 men). Our only sources of animal protein were venison, squirrel, and old chickens. I hate the gamey taste of venison, and older free range chicken is the worst kind of tough. The crockpot (and the pressure cooker) made any meat tender and could cut the gamey taste if the right seasonings were used. I also used it for reducing applesauce to apple butter and, of course, cooking beans low and slow. So in those days, those were my 2 most essential kitchen gadgets.
When I worked, our lab had a weekly crockpot lunch. Every Wednesday whoever was signed up brought a meal prepared in the company crockpot. It was very popular and pulled people into the break room for conversation. My favorite was Indonesian curry chicken.
Today when I cook for one, I use the slow cooker less than once a month and I tend to prefer to make soup on the stovetop. I still have a 1.5 qt model for occasion fix it and go stews. So now, my most essential appliances would be 1)Magic Bullet blender 2) microwave 3)immersion blender. Add those to a working stove (and indoor running water) and I am very happy!
I never could understand the rice cooker concept. It is so easy to get fluffy rice on the stovetop, why waste valuable counter/cabinet real estate on another gadget?

horsepoor

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #29 on: December 22, 2014, 09:17:49 AM »
I use it for a few things and it's convenient, but there are many things that would be good cooked in the crock pot for 4-6 hours, so they're overcooked if left on all day while at work.  If I'm going to be home anyway, I'd rather do some other form of cooking.  I find it best for doing chile verde, pork shoulder, chuck roast or chili when we have a busy week and I know there won't be time to cook.

Right now my big regret is that I'd like to have an Instant Pot to replace my slow cooker, rice cooker and pressure cooker.

Zikoris

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #30 on: December 22, 2014, 09:43:39 AM »
I use it to cook dried chickpeas while I'm at work. Then I make them into something when I get home. It's extremely useful for that, since it lets me buy dried rather than canned chickpeas.

I make apple butter as well sometimes.

Otherwise, I just haven't had much luck with it. I don't eat meat, so roasts or chickens are out. I much prefer stovetop chili and soup. I do have a few slow cooker cookbooks. Maybe I need to try out some more recipes.

LadyStache

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #31 on: December 22, 2014, 09:55:18 AM »
Right now my big regret is that I'd like to have an Instant Pot to replace my slow cooker, rice cooker and pressure cooker.

I'm getting one for Christmas and I can't wait to open the box!

I have a regular slow cooker right now which I only use once in awhile, on the days that I'm home. It doesn't have a timer feature and the days I work, I'm out of the house for about 12 hours or more, so that really wouldn't work out well. I'm super excited for the Instant Pot because I can slow cook with the timer and braise in the same pot (fewer dirty dishes!). I don't use my current slow cooker much on my days off, mostly because I forget to start the meal early enough, but now if that happens, I can just speed cook with the pressure cooker option.

GuitarStv

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #32 on: December 22, 2014, 09:58:35 AM »
We use ours every week.

Beans, chili, roasts, pulled pork, soups, curry, stews . . . so fricking awesome.  Plus you can usually use the cheaper cuts of meat because they come out so tender and yummy.

Ynari

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #33 on: December 22, 2014, 10:14:05 AM »
I enjoy mine, but I'm considering replacing it with an electric multi cooker. (Pressure cooker, crock pot, steamer, rice cooker, all in one.)  I usually use crock pot for chills, stocks, and my favorite dish corned beef and cabbage. It's super easy, but a pressure cooker, I think, would be more versatile.

Funny story: One time I made chili without browning the meat first. It turned into what I can only describe as "meat oatmeal". Super gross. My boyfriend still ate it. He'll eat anything. Well, anything except potato salad.

Catbert

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #34 on: December 22, 2014, 10:38:13 AM »
I brought two @ $7 each at a thrifty shop several years ago when I was serving tamales at a party and that was a good way to keep them warm.  Re-donated one right away.  Still have the other and occasionally use when canning (crockpot blueberry butter, etc.). 

I've never used for cooking meals.  In part it's because I'm retired and when something needs long cooking I pick a day when I'm home.  When I worked it wasn't worth the planning of when to assemble and any pre-step required.  I think there is also a learning curve what meals work for you and what you need to brown ahead of time so it tastes "right". 

Not worth it to me.  Well as a $7 tamales warmer it worked great.

darkadams00

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #35 on: December 22, 2014, 10:44:41 AM »
Crockpots are great! We have three different sizes (we bought the largest one, and the two others were gifts), and we use them all, depending on the quantity of food needed. Potlucks, casual dinner sides, appetizers, cheese for nachos on game days, homemade chili/soups/stews in the winter...I just got hungry again.

Now a microwave oven? Don't have one, don't need one, don't want one. THAT leads to interesting conversations the first time we have new guests over on the weekend. You'd think we were cooking over a campfire by the comments we get.


GeneralJinjur

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #36 on: December 22, 2014, 10:45:06 AM »
I am a fan of my crock pot, but it will always come in second to my pressure cooker, which I love.  One trick that has helped me with the crock pot is to assemble the meal in the evening, slap it in the fridge and pull it out to start cooking before I leave for work. 

cambridgecyclist

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #37 on: December 22, 2014, 10:48:06 AM »
When I got a pressure cooker the crock pot was retired. My experience is that the crock pot cost more energy to run and tended to produce "muddy" food. The pressure cooker can do anything the crock pot did and more.

ketchup

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #38 on: December 22, 2014, 10:50:11 AM »
When I got a pressure cooker the crock pot was retired. My experience is that the crock pot cost more energy to run and tended to produce "muddy" food. The pressure cooker can do anything the crock pot did and more.
I too have "graduated" from crockpot to pressure cooker for the most part.  I do still use my crockpot for larger meals though because it's a 6 quart vs my 4 quart pressure cooker.

Jack

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #39 on: December 22, 2014, 10:56:58 AM »
Two questions:  1) what is the longest that you would be comfortable setting the "cook time" for?  Is a 9-5, or 7-5 type job a necessity?  2) related, what happens if you unexpectedly get delayed at work for 2 or 3 hours, so that dinner is at 9 or later, rather than the planned 7?

As long as the crock pot can get the internal temperature of the food to 165F or higher and then maintain it at 135F or higher, the food will still be safe to eat even if held for quite a while beyond the 8-hour cooking time.

Regarding quality / taste, IMO most "good" slow cooker recipes will be designed such that they're impossible to overcook. Braised meats, for example, tend to just keep getting better the longer you cook them (within reason).

I never could understand the rice cooker concept. It is so easy to get fluffy rice on the stovetop, why waste valuable counter/cabinet real estate on another gadget?

Imagine you're Asian and eat rice with every meal. If you're using it that much, it becomes worth optimizing (particularly since it allows you to walk away from the stove without worrying about it overcooking).

Plus you can usually use the cheaper cuts of meat because they come out so tender and yummy.

This is the key. Between my crock pot and my offset smoker, I'd rather have $4/lb beef brisket than $10/lb steak.

That said, one of these days I'm going to get a pressure cooker / pressure canner...

dodojojo

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #40 on: December 22, 2014, 10:58:43 AM »
I'm a big of soups and stews, therefore the crock pot is a favorite.  I'd love tons of kitchen gadgets but I have a tiny kitchen so  I limit it to essential items.  That really helps the bank account too.  For me, my favorite gadgets are the hand blender, food processor and crock pot.

My crock pot is really solid and I use the pot/lid for regular and oven cooking as well.  So yes, it's used all the time.  Totally worth the $15 I spent buying it new off Craigslist.  It doesn't have an internal timer so I do not want to overcook something, I just plug it into an external timer.

Radagast

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #41 on: December 22, 2014, 11:09:51 AM »
Mine is a stupid piece of garbage. It only has two settings: too high and too low. Too low is a lot like off, whereas too high burns everything on the bottom solid black and causes it too boil over, thereby running over the uninsulated sides evaporating and eventually burning on the way down, and leaving a large puddle of crap on the counter. It is also way too small. I figured at that point I should just use my electric stove, because I can control the temperature and choose the appropriate pot size. I now have one less pointless electronic device laying around.

BlueMR2

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #42 on: December 22, 2014, 11:20:27 AM »
I voted for "never use it/waste of money", but it wasn't actually a waste of *our* money.  Wedding gift.  Never used.  We also have a wedding gift toaster that we've never used.  OTOH, we have a nice little counter top convection oven that we use a TON instead of the main oven (uses about half the power for the smaller meals that a family of 2 eats).  :-)

Mr.Chipper77

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #43 on: December 22, 2014, 11:24:39 AM »
Love ours...Make a lot of meals set in the morning ready when we get home. Big family with a busy lifestyle so couldn't really do without it and can still cook healthy.

MrsPete

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #44 on: December 22, 2014, 11:56:44 AM »
My first crock pot was a 70s hand-me-down from my parents.  I loved it, but eventually I upgraded to a better model with a removeable insert (easier to wash).  Now I have three crock pots in varying sizes, and I probably use them twice a week. 

If you're looking for good instuction on using the crock pot, look at http://www.365daysofcrockpot.com/

RootofGood

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #45 on: December 22, 2014, 12:08:56 PM »
I can't recall if we bought one for like $10-20 at Walmart or if someone gave us ours.  We don't use it very much.  Maybe a few times per year, mostly to cook dry beans.  Occasionally for making shredded chicken or pork for taco filling.  We have enough kitchen cabinets to store it, otherwise it would be out the door (right after our bread maker that we received for free that never gets used). 

Rice cooker, on the other hand, gets used at least weekly, and sometimes more often.  We even took it with us on what was supposed to be a month long road trip up the east coast and into Canada.  And used it multiple times on that trip. 

NeuroPlastic

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #46 on: December 22, 2014, 12:18:35 PM »
We have an electric mutli-cooker (InstantPot).  We use it almost daily.  You can saute/sear in it directly before slow-cooking.  It is thermostatically controlled and heats fast - this can eliminate a lot of the mushiness problems of old-style crock pots.  And with the pressure cooker function, a frozen roast is tender (and cooked) throughout in under and hour.
I put ours on the Kill-A-Watt meter, and it costs us about $0.04 for the first half-hour and $0.01 for each hour to run thereafter to slow-cook with a full load.  This is at $0.16/kWh.  This is much more economical to run than the stove top or *gasp* the oven.

Magpie

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #47 on: December 22, 2014, 12:24:39 PM »
My husband abhors the crockpot, claiming anything I make in it tastes slimy.  He also doesn't like soups or stews so that cuts out a lot of potential crockpot meals.  So, I've decided not to press the issue and I only use the crockpot to make applesauce, red sauce, large batches of chicken and broth.  It was a wedding gift and if it stops working I doubt I'll replace it.

be

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #48 on: December 22, 2014, 12:50:18 PM »
I use mine for making yogurt (very cheap,) chili, soup, lasagne, pulled pork, bread pudding.

Took 2 on a family vacation.  Cooking for 15.  Worth it's weight in gold.  I was responsible for making dinner one night. Veg soup in one and pasta sauce in other.  Everything was cooked and basically just had to heat.

Here's the best part.  After cleaning kitchen from dinner, set up crockpot for breakfast.  Made a rice porridge for breakfast.  Put in ham hock, rice, and water, turned it on and went to bed for the night.  In the morning, breakfast is served self service style.  Just fill bowls with hot steaming porridge, and no one had to get up early to make breakfast.  Also used it to heat up tamales for lunch.  After breakfast, loaded up the crockpot with already made tamales and let it heat up lunch while we went out and toured around the area. 

I had planned the veg soup and spaghetti for my "cooking dinner" night.  However someone else made enough food to last for 3 dinners, so I was spared.  Everything was cooked and basically just had to heated.  So I had planned on pouring in soup ingredients into 1 crock pot and pasta sauce in other pot.  Then all I had to do was cook the pasta.  I figured worst case scenario (you know the kind with hungry savages) I would keep them busy drinking their soup while I cooked the spaghetti.

Don't think we'll do a repeat of the same 15 people family vacation, but if we did I wouldn't hesitate to pack my 2 crock pots.   They proved to be incredibly useful and actually used several times a day.  Last time I had to pre pack them, so I didn't have access for several weeks.  I did have separation anxiety.   A good friend offered me hers in case of emergency.    Note: 1 crockpot is 6 qts and the other is 6 1/2 quarts.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2014, 12:52:18 PM by be »

Louisville

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Re: Crock Pot Regret
« Reply #49 on: December 22, 2014, 12:54:13 PM »
For cooking beans it's brilliant.

For everything else, it's shiite.
+1
Also, stinks up the whole house.