Buying a Crock pot or Slow Cooker: what to look for??

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14 years 3 months ago #21709 by Kilmoon
Hi Guys, Hubby and I are looking at getting a crock pot or slow cooker and we have some questions.

First, what is the difference between a crock pot and slow cooker? and which should we buy?

Second, if you have one, what are your pet hates/likes about it?

Third, what size should we look at getting? (there are only the two of us, but at the same time its nice to have leftovers to freeze for lunches/quick meals etc).

Fourth, what is the 'best' brand to look at buying?

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14 years 3 months ago #314043 by Seaside
I thought a crock pot was a heavy, lidded pot (like enamel over cast iron) that you could put in the oven on a low heat to slow cook, whereas a slow cooker is similar but the 'oven' is built in.

Which should you buy? If I had to choose, I'd probably choose a slow cooker, mostly because I feel better leaving a slow cooker going when we're out than an oven. Don't know if that's justified.

We have both a crock pot and slow cooker, but I use them for different things. I use the crock pot when I want to brown things off on the hob first, then put in a hot oven to cook for an hour or two. I always use the slow cooker for things I'll leave on for 6+ hours, like corned beef and pickled pork.

I don't have any particular hates, but I would say that if you put cold rather than hot (from the kettle) water in it, it takes much longer for potatoes, etc to get soft. I like that with a slow cooker, you can chuck everything in in the morning and the meal to be ready in the evening. My kids reckon that everything I cook in the slow cooker tastes the same, but that's probably down to my cooking.

We got the largest slow cooker that we could, otherwise much of our large bits of homekill meat wouldn't fit. I'd say it's better to go on the larger side. I think ours is 7 litres, which is fine.

I'm not sure about the brand - ours was a cheap one from the Warehouse, and so far, so good. We've only had it a couple of years though.

Kids, beasts, and chillies in Swannanoa South.
www.farmaway.co.nz

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14 years 3 months ago #314057 by Hawkspur
A slow cooker is any cooker that doesn't bring the temperature of the food to boiling or above. Some are electric and can be automated, and have a removable pot or crock.

A crock is a heavy pottery pot with lid. Some are designed for storage, and others are oven suitable and can be used for slow cooking.
"crock pot" was a brand from the 70s that had the electric base and surround to sit under a crock that could be used for serving the food as well.

An enameled heavy steel casserole dish with lid or camp oven can be used in an oven as a slow cooker in the same way, and can also be used on top of a woodburner as a slow cooker. This may be too hot and direct a heat for a crock.

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14 years 3 months ago #314066 by terralee
I got my first slow cooker last winter and LOVE it ...we got the Russell Hobbs big oval 6 1/2 litre model and I am so glad we went for the bigger size ..even with just the two of us I have not felt it too big as I like cooking heaps and having leftovers. Things like corned beef and pickled pork don't shrink the way they do when boiled and they seem to have so much more flavour. Stews and casseroles are superb ... and I do a whole chicken with lots of veg to make a yummy big chicken and veg soup ... my advice would be ..go big ...you won't regret it:)
Cheers

Leonie & Zoo!!! :silly: :woohoo:

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14 years 3 months ago #314069 by Kilmoon
Thanks guys, good to knnow the difference bwteeen the two (I was probably thinking back to my grans one as she had a 'crock pot' that sat within an element and slow cooked).

Seaside - I also don't like leaving the oven going when we're not there, hence the desire for a slow cooker.

Thanks for the tips, so bigger is better and no particular brand better than another.

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  • CJs
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14 years 3 months ago #314072 by CJs
I love having my slow cooker and it was the cheapest one I could find. 4 years later it's still going strong despite me using most of the winter. I guess nowadays cheap doesn't have to mean naff.

It's great coming back to the smell of a lovely dinner after a day at work too.

Perhaps we nede to start a thread on best slow cooker recipes?!

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14 years 3 months ago #314079 by Seaside

Hawkspur;299005 wrote: A slow cooker is any cooker that doesn't bring the temperature of the food to boiling or above. Some are electric and can be automated, and have a removable pot or crock.

A crock is a heavy pottery pot with lid. Some are designed for storage, and others are oven suitable and can be used for slow cooking.
"crock pot" was a brand from the 70s that had the electric base and surround to sit under a crock that could be used for serving the food as well.

An enameled heavy steel casserole dish with lid or camp oven can be used in an oven as a slow cooker in the same way, and can also be used on top of a woodburner as a slow cooker. This may be too hot and direct a heat for a crock.


There you go! I learned something today, thanks HS.

Kids, beasts, and chillies in Swannanoa South.
www.farmaway.co.nz

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14 years 3 months ago #314087 by jeannielea
We got one last winter and I love it.Its a Breville and we got on Flybuys. I'd say make sure you get an oval one rather than round as you can get things like chicken, legs of lamb etc in better. we also got a large size even though there's only 2 of us here. bigger means its good if there are visitors and also leftovers can be frozen. I think our advice was to make sure it has 3 settings (high, low, and keep warm) as you can then be sure it won't overcook if you need to keep it a while before serving. Alison holst reckons they are good for cooking cakes in but I've never tried.

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14 years 3 months ago #314101 by sundaysbest
Completely agree with TerraLee's comments, we are only a household of 2, but have a "family size" one and it's brilliant!
Sundays
PS I have had my Breville a couple of years now and it's cranking along nicely!

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14 years 3 months ago #314120 by Hawkspur

Seaside;299027 wrote: There you go! I learned something today, thanks HS.

:) I learned that crock is the origin of the word crockery.

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14 years 3 months ago #314121 by Stu_R
I have an older model Sunbeam Crockpot .. that sits on the bench and is electric .. and yes its Brilliant :) :)
I guess its family sized ( no idea really , just know it hold s way more than i can eat over 3 days :) )
Cooks the most wonderful succulent meats and casserole type things , makes amazing stews:)
Yeah love it .. turn it on slow cook when i walk out door in morning , get home to a piping hot dinner :)

5 retired Greyhounds ( Bridgette , Lilly, GoGo,Sam and now Lenny) 15 friendly sheep all of whom are named and come when you call them :) , 2 goats, Mollie and Eee Bee :
Olive trees , .. old bugger doing the best he can with no money or land :)

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14 years 3 months ago #314125 by cowvet
I have one of the Sunbeam Crock pots - sit on the bench jobbies. Love it. Like that it has a low and a high setting - low for all day, and high if you want to crank it up and go a bit faster (just hovering on a simmer)


I love animals...they're delicious

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14 years 3 months ago #314129 by wino
Have a Breville oval 6 litre or something like that size one in the kitchen, it is going strong after three or four years, gets used at least once a week. I like the oval shape for chickens and lumps of beef that I toss in frozen, they fit better.

Also out in the shed I have a warehouse large (supposedly 8 litre but I think they are exaggerating a litre) cheap model. Throughout the winter - about six months a year actually, it goes daily cooking barley for the horses. After two winters it hasn't caused any problems either.

So I figure that as they are a fairly basic sort of appliance that the brand probably isn't a particular issue. Briscoes often have some good specials on them.

Never have a hangover - stay drunk

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14 years 3 months ago #314132 by Jen - Featherston
I've a Ralta crock pot with a temuka 'crock' best thing ever in the winter and I fully recommend it.

Favourite dishes:
Chicken, whole, put chicken in turn on slow wiat 8hrs done
beef strog
soups
stews
corned beef - enough water to make sauce, tbsp brown sugar or golden syrup, salt pepper and 8 hours and done

its great for coming home after a busy day and combined with a timed rice cooker = instant wholesome meal

Sometimes its not only what you say, its the way you say it that counts.

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14 years 3 months ago #314135 by Hawkspur
Unfortunately, the recommended use doesn't include cooking large cuts of meat or cooking straight from frozen, because the food can take too long to reach a safe temperature, and spend too long in the dangerously warm state.[xx(]
www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Slow_Cookers_and_Food_Safety.pdf

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