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Old 10-25-2009, 01:09 AM   #1
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I confess. I have crockpotophobia.

Between the many years of being subjected to my grandmother's "cooking" (which always featured a big hunk of whatever was on sale at the grocery, large amounts of water, root veggies, and no seasoning) and so many other more recent disasters visited upon me by well-meaning friends and family (which always involved similar treatments), I have become a despiser of these devices.

I hate even more what my grandmother used to do - the ultimate insult, adding a pile of Wondra and some Gravy Master to the liquid in the pot and offering it up as gravy, as though this gluey stuff would somehow be sufficient penance for the sin she committed against the glorious sirloin roast or pork shoulder she brutally murdered in that torture device.

The only thing that remotely resembles a crock pot in our house is one of the ceramic pots I scarfed at a yard sale (for a quarter) that obviously came from one that died. Does great for casseroles and baked beans in the oven, and every time I think of it, I feel a bit of pride, knowing that I rescued this perfectly good cooking vessel from a horrid existence torturing meat products to death.

I hate them. I hate the whole idea of them, that subjecting an unsuspecting piece of meat to hours of flavor, texture, and moisture robbing heat could possibly be perceived as a good thing.

Granted, I'll put a corned beef brisket on the stove for hours, but that's a corned beef brisket. You kind of have to do that to them to make them edible.

Is there any hope for someone as utterly damaged as me?

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Old 10-25-2009, 09:01 AM   #2
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I hate them. I hate the whole idea of them, that subjecting an unsuspecting piece of meat to hours of flavor, texture, and moisture robbing heat could possibly be perceived as a good thing.
What about BBQ?

OK I know it is not the same thing, but just trying to illustrate a point that it is not the cooking method, but what is cooked.


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Is there any hope for someone as utterly damaged as me?
There is hope. You just need to find the right recipe. I know that can be hard with crockpots. There are way more disapointing recipes out there than god ones, but good ones do exist. I find recipes with polish sausage do real well in the crockpot. That is not a guarantee of course, but something to consider. Also, chili does great this way. Sure it is sometimes easier to make on the stovetop, but if you work during the day then it is great to set up a crock of chili in the morn and come home to a great smelling house and a meal ready to eat.

Obviously, you should stay away from meats that do not do well in heat for a long time. When I first started cooking I made chicken using boneless skinless breasts. Needless to say that was a disaster. Pick your meats wisely and you will do fine hopefully.
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Old 10-25-2009, 09:52 AM   #3
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pulled pork is amazing from the slow cooker.

slow cooked ribs are fall off the bone, but you need the right sauce (or make your own).

Dips do very nicely in the slow cooker (think spinach artichoke with monterey jack), as do some desserts (rice pudding).

It really is the mixture of a good recipe and good quality ingredients. I'm sure there are PLENTY of TNT recipes from the ladies and gents here on DC - all you need to do is ask!
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Old 10-25-2009, 09:57 AM   #4
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I don't cook with slow cookers either. SO brought a couple with her when we hooked up and they reside in a corner of the basement. They see the light of day from time to time to serve as food warmers on a buffet table - something they do well.

However, I don't see them as evil incarnate. They are a tool. If properly used, a tool can help you do good things.

Your challenge to yourself should be to create memorable (in a good way) dishes in a slow cooker.
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Old 10-25-2009, 10:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saphellae View Post
pulled pork is amazing from the slow cooker.

slow cooked ribs are fall off the bone, but you need the right sauce (or make your own).

Dips do very nicely in the slow cooker (think spinach artichoke with monterey jack), as do some desserts (rice pudding).

It really is the mixture of a good recipe and good quality ingredients. I'm sure there are PLENTY of TNT recipes from the ladies and gents here on DC - all you need to do is ask!

I guess I should have added some smileys to the OP, because it was intended to be more of a humorous exposition on why exactly I hate the infernal devices. The "Is there any hope" part was supposed to be suggestive of something seriously not right in my brain, that I would refer to a cooking vessel as a torture device.

That said, I do pork shoulder (for pulled pork) and ribs in my smoker. I'd never dream of using anything but a smoker for such an application.
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Old 10-25-2009, 10:42 AM   #6
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TMC I laughed out loud reading your post. I went to Crockpotaphobia Anonymous and now use mine once in a while. Its really meant for a specific purpose and if you use if poorly your dish is not all that edible. I use mine more like Andy, keeping things warm when there are a lot of people to feed. I have also done a pretty fine pot roast in there. Admittedly its with a pretty cheapo hunk of meat, red wine, garlic, onions and other savory bits so not too big a resemblance to your Gramma's stuff.

TMC, take it slow buddy. Make your amazing food in your ceramic pot and then keep it warm in the crockpot. You can DO it!
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Old 10-25-2009, 10:44 AM   #7
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That said, I do pork shoulder (for pulled pork) and ribs in my smoker. I'd never dream of using anything but a smoker for such an application.
TMC, we Canadians sometimes have weather too cold for a smoker to work well. When you hit -20C or so it would take your smoker a week to do your pork. So...we improvise.
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Old 10-25-2009, 10:53 AM   #8
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TMC, we Canadians sometimes have weather too cold for a smoker to work well. When you hit -20C or so it would take your smoker a week to do your pork. So...we improvise.
I heard that!

See, that would be where my "Used Fridge" smoker application would come into play.

Take an old fridge and cut out basically every bit of molded anything. Leave the insulation, it will help. Remove the divider wall between the fridge and freezer part too.

Cut a hole large on one side wall enough for a double-stove pipe (one inside the other) about a foot from the bottom. Cut another hole on the back wall about six inches below that one, large enough for a 2-3" chimney pipe.

Install your pipes. Completely cover the inside with 500 degree gypsum wallboard (fireproof). Cover that with aluminum stick-on flashing. Make sure your pipe inlet and outlet are sealed. Gotta do this on the doors, too.

Connect the inlet to a garden variety pot-belly stove (which is now your firebox).

Now you've got a smoker that works no matter what the temp outside, because it's completely insulated!
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Old 10-25-2009, 11:12 AM   #9
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I have CrockPotFORGETitis.... many is the time I say "DARN! Should have used
the CROCK POT for this"!!!
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Old 10-25-2009, 11:15 AM   #10
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I heard that!

See, that would be where my "Used Fridge" smoker application would come into play.
Love that idea! However...NIMBY. Don't know what its like in the US, or in many other Canadian cities but I know that here if I tried that I'd have someone knocking on my door in minutes telling me to remove that eyesore from the neighbourhood. There are 'standards' you see. My little smoker is portable and lives in the concrete dog run where no one can see it. They can SMELL it, just not see it.
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