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Old 08-11-2012, 12:59 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by SlowNewbie View Post
Normally I look at Consumer Reports before buying items, but I can't seem to find their reviews on slow cookers. Can anyone provide the most recent CR recommendations? I'm also interested in your recommendations. Here's some info that may be helpful: I'm single, so I don't need to cook massive dishes. I typically leave the house for work and do not return until 12 hours later. I'm looking for one that I can start before I depart, have it cook the food and then shift to warming mode until I return. If that will overcook things, are there cookers that can be set to start/stop with a timer?
Welcome to Discuss Cooking. When buying an appliance, it's good to identify your needs & how you want to use same - as you have done here. You might be better off going with a pressure cooker.

I have a Rival programmable. It will cook on low or high, & kick over to warm/hold. The newer cooker, in my experience, gets very hot very fast, & food is done/cooked in 4-6 hours. I would not buy an older cooker & cook for 12 hours. My concern w/ old cookers would be food safety, i.e. leaving food out to cook (steam) for a long period of time. The heating element is probably too low.

I worked long hours, but still was able to get a decent meal together in 45 min to an hour. Take a look through the recipes here, & something might grab your attention.
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Old 08-11-2012, 06:51 PM   #22
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My concern with any small appliance is if the mechanism that is supposed to shut it off if the thermostat fails could also fail. I am more concerned about an electrical fire as a result (bread machine, toaster oven, coffee maker, dehydrator). I do know people who have had electrical fires start because of bread machines failing, toaster ovens, and coffee makers. I don't see that setting the appliance in a dry sink would make a difference if an electrical fire started because of component failure.
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Old 08-11-2012, 07:05 PM   #23
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40 years of using a slow cooker, and never had an incident. I do put it on a cutting board, not directly on the countertop, as the bottom gets a bit warm, but not hot enough to burn anything.

I have 8 at last count...geez, am I a hoarder?
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Old 08-11-2012, 07:51 PM   #24
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I have 8 at last count...geez, am I a hoarder?
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No, nothing like that.

Jeez, I thought I was extravagant having just two crock pots. I've never used them both at the same time. I guess I bought one and then took a liking to a fancier model later.
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Old 08-11-2012, 08:20 PM   #25
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My first slow cooker was a round, Rival Crock-Pot-brand slow cooker. It was very simple and no frills. If the crock could have been removed for cleaning, I doubt I would have ever bought another. I used it for over 20 years without it ever letting me down. It was the ugliest shade of brown and was pretty small, but I loved it. Perhaps it is imagination, but I still think at times that it cooked better than the new one. :)

My second and current slow cooker was also a Rival Crock-Pot brand. It is much bigger and has two removable oval inserts. (To be honest, I've only used the divided insert once....mainly because I can never think of what to make in each side. I'd love ideas for that one!) The new one (which is over 10 years old now) has a few really good features: In addition to the "set and forget" temperatures, it has adjustable cooking times, a warming temp, and an automatic shut-off.

If I were buying a new Crock-pot these days, I will say that my one non-negotiable would be a removable insert. I simply do not have the strength to hold and scrub anymore, so I need one I can wash in a sink like any other pot.

Things that are nice to have include: adjustable cooking timer and warming features. I've seen some that double as a rice cooker. I think that I would use that and it would eliminate my need for two appliances. I've also seen a few that have custom tote-able carriers - if it works well, I would also use that.

There are some slow cookers that are simply amazing, but the simple ones will likely do the job you want it to do. A difference between a "nice to have" feature and one that is needed - my only "need" is that I can scrub it up.

Like Dawgluver pointed out, I always use mine on a non-flammable surface - though I don't think it has been necessary, but an easy precaution since my cooker is making dinner through the day while I am at work.

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Old 08-11-2012, 09:07 PM   #26
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I own...5 slow cookers (Crock-Pot, Rival, and 3 others--or is it 6) and 2 roaster ovens. All of mine have removable inserts. I have one that was dedicated to "cooking" merino fleece to get the lanolin out of it. I also have never had an incident, however, the ones I have are older and were not manufactured in China or at a time when it was common to replace small appliances every 3-4 years because they stopped working.
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Old 08-11-2012, 09:26 PM   #27
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I never knew there were crock pots (slow cookers) with inserts that didn't remove. I can't imagine washing that, all the electric stuff included.

One of my crock pots is just off-low-high, and round. The timer is on your wrist or on the wall. The other is off-low-high with a programmable timer, oval shaped, timer switches to a "warm" setting when the time runs out. The timer is nice as a backup but I don't usually leave home while it's running unless it's a short trip to the market or similar.

I don't use a crock pot much. Probably the best use I found was slow cooked beef short ribs, fall of the bone tender. (Brown the ribs in a skillet over the stove, throw some chopped onions into your crock pot, ribs on top, then a bottle or so of store bought BBQ sauce. Cooking time at your discretion.) Yep, I'm not much of a slow cooker enthusiast. But they're okay.
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Old 08-11-2012, 09:27 PM   #28
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We actually have two old slow cookers. SO brought them into the relationship. I've never cooked in either one but have used them to keep foods hot for service during an open house. They get more use by SO's sister, who borrows them regularly.
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Old 08-11-2012, 09:29 PM   #29
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I use mine for certain things, but usually when I am home doing other things. I also don't leave my dryer plugged in unless it is in use and don't leave the house when it is running...(I hang most of my laundry--either outside or downstairs where the woodstove is, which I also don't leave stoked when I'm not home--I use the dryer mostly to fluff down pillows or my duvets--and that is about 3-4x/year). A friend's neighbour had his house burn down when the stove malfunctioned. The person wasn't home, but for some reason, the stove turned on...go figure. These things don't happen often, but they can happen. A co-worker ended up in the burn unit in Houston after she put a slice of toast in the toaster--natural gas leak.
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Old 08-11-2012, 09:38 PM   #30
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When I lived in my daughter's house, there was a gas leak right outside her home. It was in the middle of winter. The air was full of gas fumes. If anyone had been walking by with a lit cigarette, the whole neighborhood could have blown up. Scary!
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