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Old 07-05-2018, 07:49 PM   #1
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Slow cooker v oven braise v pressure cooker

Iíve recently been idly wondering why one canít achieve the same results from slowly braising food with a covered Dutch oven as you can with a slow cooker. I have a slow cooker; I dislike it intensely. Itís huge, and itís size and weight makes it a chore to clean; the recipes that Iíve found for it donít appeal to me at all, with ingredients like canned condensed cream of mushroom soup and envelopes of french onion soup powder and jars of orange marmalade, and Iíve never really gotten satisfying results in terms of flavor.

So, I thought, whatís the difference if I use a nice heavy Dutch oven, which in spite of its heft is still easier to clean than a slow cooker crock, and put it in a very low oven, covered? As usual, instead of doing my own hands-on research, I turned to the internet. I have neither the time nor the financial resources to spend on cooking up pots and pots of stew or braised beef or beans. ďLet your fingers do the walkingĒ as they used to say.

I came upon this very interesting article that compares slow cooker cooking to braising in a low oven to pressure cooking. I pretty much ignored the pressure cooking info, as the only pressure cooker I have is only good for canning and itís very unlikely Iíll receive a pressure cooker or an IP (or anything else, for that matter) for my birthday. The article seems to be very well researched. If youíve got a spare moment, check it out and share your thoughts and/or experiences! Youíll find the article here.

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Old 07-05-2018, 08:24 PM   #2
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Slow cookers are great for keeping things warm on a buffet table.

I don't own a pressure cooker or a slow cooker.

As a retired senior I have the luxury of time. So I can make stuff the 'old fashioned" way. Stews, braises and soups are my favorite things to make and eat.

Many swear by the slow cooker and if that's what they need and want, that's fine.

We had terrific Indian neighbors who were happy to teach me what little they knew about cooking their foods from home. He gave me a cookbook they used. I selected a recipe, went out and gathered the ingredients and made the dish. They loved it and thought it was as good as they could do. But he was astonished when I told him I didn't have a pressure cooker and wanted to know how I managed to make the dish!
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Old 07-06-2018, 04:19 AM   #3
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One size does not fit all. I have 4 Dutch ovens, 3 slow cookers, and a stovetop pressure cooker, and they all get used.

Slow cookers tend to dry out meat, especially larger pieces. B/s chicken thighs work well in the slow cooker, especially the one with the saute function, so I can brown the meat before going to slow cook mode. Slow cookers are convenient, as you can prep dinner early and then eat when ready.

The pressure cooker does some things very well. I've made beef stew in the slow cooker, Dutch oven, and the pressure cooker. The pressure cooker version was the hands down winner. Bone in split chicken breasts stay moist and tender in the pressure cooker. Chicken stock takes less than an hour in the pressure cooker.

Dutch ovens work well for recipes where you want the sauce to thicken over time. And bread! I have two 3 quart Dutch ovens specifically purchased for small loaves of bread. I can do two at a time and freeze one. They were cheapies from Kohl's black friday sale, I think $15 each.

Joel, throw away those slow cooker cookbooks from the 60's that call for cans of soup. There are a lot better alternatives available.
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Old 07-06-2018, 06:10 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by JustJoel View Post
Iíve recently been idly wondering why one canít achieve the same results from slowly braising food with a covered Dutch oven as you can with a slow cooker.
People braised food for millennia before electricity was invented, so yes, you can.
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Old 07-06-2018, 06:43 AM   #5
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I don't have all day to slow braise a meal, so my slow cooker is best for set and head for work. Even a quick meal in the Electric pressure cooker takes a fair bit of time, while the cooking is fast, the prep work takes time.


I save my slow braises for when I have the time to get them done right and can supervise.
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Old 07-06-2018, 07:43 AM   #6
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We don't have a slow cooker and don't want one. However, I've adapted slow cooker recipes we thought looked good and have successfully cooked them in the oven or on top of the stove. As far as a pressure cooker, I like to use it for beans especially because they always soften in the PC.
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Old 07-06-2018, 08:31 AM   #7
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We don't have a slow cooker and don't want one. However, I've adapted slow cooker recipes we thought looked good and have successfully cooked them in the oven or on top of the stove. As far as a pressure cooker, I like to use it for beans especially because they always soften in the PC.
So glad you mentioned beans! I’ve got some soaking right now. They’re going to be refried beans eventually, as I find canned refried beans unpalatable. But I don’t have a pressure cooker and I have no idea where my slow cooker is (and I have no intention of looking for it. My only options are stovetop or oven, and I just ruined a batch of beans on the stove yesterday - I didn’t pay enough attention to them. Good thing beans aren’t expensive!

So I’m left with the oven. I was thinking of putting them, covered, in a 250į oven and checking the water level every hour or so. But if the Dutch oven is covered, do I even need to check the water level? It’d be dandy if I didn’t. Or do I need to leave the DO only partially covered, in which case monitoring the water level would be a requirement. And how long would they take to cook? I didn’t find any recipes for cooking beans with the expressed purpose of “refrying” them. Recipes for baked beans all called for a partially covered DO, a higher temp (350į), and about an hour and a half cooking time. But I’m not making baked beans, which is an end product, I’m making beans to use as an ingredient in another dish. Can I completely cover the pot, use a lower temp and cook the beans for a long time?

Maybe I should just shut up and try, eh?
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Old 07-06-2018, 11:29 AM   #8
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We gave our extra large slow cooker to our daughter. She uses it to keep towels warm.
She is a massage therapist.
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Old 07-06-2018, 11:37 AM   #9
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I've never cooked beans in the oven so can't help there. It's helpful if you set an alarm on your phone to remind you to check long cooking things I've discovered. There were a few burned things in our house before I started doing that. Besides always getting the beans soft, the PC cooks them so much faster.
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Old 07-06-2018, 11:38 AM   #10
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We gave our extra large slow cooker to our daughter. She uses it to keep towels warm.
She is a massage therapist.
I really couldn’t say why, but I find that to be hilarious! Maybe she buy a few dozen and market them as towel warmers. It’s a niche market for sure, but I bet they’d sell!
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Old 07-06-2018, 11:44 AM   #11
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I've never cooked beans in the oven so can't help there. It's helpful if you set an alarm on your phone to remind you to check long cooking things I've discovered. There were a few burned things in our house before I started doing that. Besides always getting the beans soft, the PC cooks them so much faster.
However did we get along before smart phones? I’ve got three separate alarms on mine (timers, actually); my kitchen timer I, my kitchen timer II, and my kitchen timer III.

And I can hardly wait to either win some money, or for someone to buy me a pressure cooker. Neither is happening soon, I’ll wager. Maybe now is a good time to remind people that my birthday is in 11 days?
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Old 07-06-2018, 12:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustJoel View Post
Iíve recently been idly wondering why one canít achieve the same results from slowly braising food with a covered Dutch oven as you can with a slow cooker. I have a slow cooker; I dislike it intensely. Itís huge, and itís size and weight makes it a chore to clean; the recipes that Iíve found for it donít appeal to me at all, with ingredients like canned condensed cream of mushroom soup and envelopes of french onion soup powder and jars of orange marmalade, and Iíve never really gotten satisfying results in terms of flavor.

So, I thought, whatís the difference if I use a nice heavy Dutch oven, which in spite of its heft is still easier to clean than a slow cooker crock, and put it in a very low oven, covered? As usual, instead of doing my own hands-on research, I turned to the internet. I have neither the time nor the financial resources to spend on cooking up pots and pots of stew or braised beef or beans. ďLet your fingers do the walkingĒ as they used to say.

I came upon this very interesting article that compares slow cooker cooking to braising in a low oven to pressure cooking. I pretty much ignored the pressure cooking info, as the only pressure cooker I have is only good for canning and itís very unlikely Iíll receive a pressure cooker or an IP (or anything else, for that matter) for my birthday. The article seems to be very well researched. If youíve got a spare moment, check it out and share your thoughts and/or experiences! Youíll find the article here.
I read the article. I don't want to offend anyone but none of the slow cooker food looks appealing to me.

I have 3 appliance that can slow cook

1 - an actually slow cooker that I use to keep foods like mac and cheese or fondue warm but not to cook in.

2 - a VERY old multi cooker circa mid 1980's. It has a temperature dial on it so I can brown foods. It can be a rice cooker, deep fryer, slow cooker and can be used to braise like in the oven. I used it once to slow cook and hated it. I mostly used it for making the best fried chicken. It is now in the back of a closet.

3 - Is my Instant Pot and it will never be used to slow cook.

I would rather slow cook in my cast iron Dutch oven on top of the stove.
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Old 07-06-2018, 02:01 PM   #13
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However did we get along before smart phones? Iíve got three separate alarms on mine (timers, actually); my kitchen timer I, my kitchen timer II, and my kitchen timer III.
Three?! Dude, clean up your phone and just use this one! It's got one for each burner and one for the oven!

https://beautifulpixels.com/iphone/thyme-kitchen-timer/

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Old 07-06-2018, 02:57 PM   #14
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Three?! Dude, clean up your phone and just use this one! It's got one for each burner and one for the oven!

https://beautifulpixels.com/iphone/thyme-kitchen-timer/

Attachment 30578
You misunderstood me, I think. When I said I have three timers, I didn’t mean three separate apps. I just have the one app, “clock,” that comes with the phone. I can set as many timers as I need, and label them all how I want to. And I don’t have to open the app to set the timers; good old Siri does it for me - “Hey Siri! Set my kitchen timer III for 30 minutes.”

That app looks very nice, though.
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Old 07-06-2018, 03:02 PM   #15
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You misunderstood me, I think. When I said I have three timers, I didnít mean three separate apps. I just have the one app, ďclock,Ē that comes with the phone. I can set as many timers as I need, and label them all how I want to. And I donít have to open the app to set the timers; good old Siri does it for me - ďHey Siri! Set my kitchen timer III for 30 minutes.Ē

That app looks very nice, though.
Gotcha. I like the visual of this one
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Old 07-06-2018, 03:51 PM   #16
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However did we get along before smart phones? Iíve got three separate alarms on mine (timers, actually); my kitchen timer I, my kitchen timer II, and my kitchen timer III.

And I can hardly wait to either win some money, or for someone to buy me a pressure cooker. Neither is happening soon, Iíll wager. Maybe now is a good time to remind people that my birthday is in 11 days?
I've never used my phone for that. My Chef Alarm probe thermometer has a timer alarm, my microwave has a timer, my range has a timer. Seems like that's about all I'd ever need.

If I set more than one, I have trouble remembering which one is set for what. I have to use sticky notes to keep track.
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Old 07-06-2018, 04:19 PM   #17
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I've never used my phone for that. My Chef Alarm probe thermometer has a timer alarm, my microwave has a timer, my range has a timer. Seems like that's about all I'd ever need.

If I set more than one, I have trouble remembering which one is set for what. I have to use sticky notes to keep track.
I use a probe thermometer when I'm making meat, but I don't always need that. So that's why I like the visual one that lets you set a timer for each burner and the oven. It just depends on what I have going on.
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Old 07-06-2018, 06:14 PM   #18
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Pressure cooked stews are never as good as slowly cooked stews. I use my p/cooker (the sort you use on the hob) mainly for boiling a piece of ham or bacon. I did have a go at bottling (ie "canning") some fruit once when we had a glut of apples some years ago but it isn't really worth the effort as I have a freezer and, anyway, the nearest shop selling fresh, canned and frozen fruit is only walking distance away. I have two medium sized slow cookers and I recently picked up a very large one for £2 in the charity shop. I use them for making soups, stews, cooking pulses, boiling the Christmas puddings, and anything that needs a long, slow cook.
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Old 07-07-2018, 04:24 AM   #19
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I've never used my phone for that. My Chef Alarm probe thermometer has a timer alarm, my microwave has a timer, my range has a timer. Seems like that's about all I'd ever need.

If I set more than one, I have trouble remembering which one is set for what. I have to use sticky notes to keep track.
I don't carry my phone around the house with me. I've found the TimeStick Trio to be very useful, as it's small enough to hang around my neck when I'm away from the kitchen. When I'm making bread, I set one timer for count up, and then a count down alarm when something needs to be done mid-cycle.

https://www.thermoworks.com/TimeStick-Trio
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