Dudes guide to slow cooking @weightwatchers @loselikeaman

Posted: August 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

A Guy’s Guide to Slow Cookers

When you walk in the door, dinner’s ready. What could be better?
Article By: Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough
A Guy’s Guide to Slow Cookers
A slow cooker — sometimes called a “Crock-Pot,” although that’s a brand name — can be your secret weapon in the kitchen.

You fill it in the a.m. with the makings of chili, stew, or even pulled pork — then head off to work.

When you walk in the door, dinner’s ready. What could be better?

In their early days, every slow cooker was basically the same — not many bells and whistles. These days, it’s a sophisticated gadget.

Here are the four features to look for, along with some product recommendations that will help you get the most bang for your buck.

Slow cooker

 

Durability
A slow cooker’s meant to last. Problem is, most are built with crockery inserts — which can chip and break.

If you’re hard on your appliances or know you’ll be stacking a slow cooker among other pots, check out the All-Clad Deluxe Slow Cooker It’s got a nonstick metal insert. Even the lid is stainless steel. No chips or breaks there, either.

 

What’s more, this baby’s two pots in one. That sturdy insert can even go right on a stovetop burner. You can brown a piece of meat or some veggies before it starts its slow simmer—or you can boil down a sauce after the dish is done.

slow cooker

 

Size
Slow cookers range from 1½ -quart gadgets to 8-quart behemoths.

Standard recipes call for a 5- to 6-quart model. That said, you may not need 8 to 10 servings of stew. You probably want dinner tonight, with an additional serving for a friend, and maybe a leftover serving or two for the days ahead.

You can’t just cut a standard recipe in half in a bigger slow cooker. The appliance needs to be filled at least halfway for even cooking.

 

There are smaller slow cookers on the market — like Essenergy Inc’s VitaClay VF7900-4 Chef Gourmet Rice N’ Slow Cooker Pro.

This is an 8-cup clay pot within a slow cooker, so you get the benefits of cooking in clay (moisture and steam retention) with an easy-to-use slow cooker.

The cooking time can also be calibrated in 10-minute increments. That means better control for small batches.

 

Plus, the VitaClay is a rice cooker as well as a slow cooker — two appliances in one. That’s a lot of functions for a small appliance.

Slow Cooker

 

Multiple settings
Most slow cookers have two settings: low and high.

But you’re a guy. You love gadgets. You know there’s got to be more to finesse than low and high.

The KitchenAid KSC700SS 7-Quart Slow Cooker has five settings: buffet, simmer, low, high, and auto, plus a “warm” setting the cooker will automatically jump to once the meal’s ready. “Auto” starts the cooker on high and then drops it to low after two hours, a way to get things going and then slow them down for better flavor.

 

It’s got another cool gadget: a food-temperature sensor that alerts you if your meal drops below the USDA safe point due to temporary power outage or some other unforeseen accident.

Slow cooker

 

4. Temperature Control
A slow cooker must hold an even, steady temperature over a long time.

All the models we’ve described do a grand job. But if you’re going to cook big hunks of meat in your slow cooker — a ham, a pork loin, a brisket — you’ll want to make sure the meat itself is also done to the right internal temperature. After all, you’d use an instant-read meat thermometer for those cuts when they’re on the grill.

 

The Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker is the only slow cooker with a temperature probe that threads through a rubber gasket in the lid to poke into the meat and measure its internal temperature as it cooks. You can even program the machine to take the meat to the right, safe, internal temperature, then hold it there in “warm” mode until you’re ready for dinner.

 

So there’s what you need to know, with some specific buying recommendations. Now you can get the model that fits your lifestyle. Imagine: a hot dinner waiting for you when you get home from work. Not too shabby.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s