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Old 01-15-2018, 01:29 PM   #1
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Crock Pot vs. Dutch Oven

I got an 8 Qt. Crock Pot for Christmas and have been using it once a week. My Wife just won a 7 Qt. Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. This thing is beautiful. Only problem, what do we do with it?

It seems whatever recipe goes into a Dutch Oven, I can do the same thing in a Crock Pot. Long cooking times are no problem. Plus the Dutch Oven is hand wash only while I can throw the liner into the dishwasher.

Is there any reason to keep and use a Dutch Oven?

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Old 01-15-2018, 02:01 PM   #2
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Can you brown or sear in your crock pot?
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Old 01-15-2018, 02:23 PM   #3
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I don't like the way most food tastes after it's cooked for so long in a slow cooker. It generally seems to have cooked all the flavor and moisture out of the food. Sauces don't help overcooked foods.
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Old 01-15-2018, 02:26 PM   #4
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I prefer to cook in a DO vs. a slow cooker. The linked article also includes pressure cookers in the discussion.

Here is a report that slow cooker results do not measure up to DO results. Why Anything Slow Cookers Can Do, Others Can Do Better | Serious Eats
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Old 01-15-2018, 02:40 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by milford View Post
I got an 8 Qt. Crock Pot for Christmas and have been using it once a week. My Wife just won a 7 Qt. Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. This thing is beautiful. Only problem, what do we do with it?

It seems whatever recipe goes into a Dutch Oven, I can do the same thing in a Crock Pot. Long cooking times are no problem. Plus the Dutch Oven is hand wash only while I can throw the liner into the dishwasher.

Is there any reason to keep and use a Dutch Oven?
I prefer a 2 or 3 hour braise to a 4+ hour slow cook. It's already been mentioned that a Crockpot won't sear or brown meats - they have to be started in another pan first.

I use my dutch oven far more than I use the Crockpot.
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Old 01-15-2018, 02:48 PM   #6
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^^^^^ Interesting article.
Perhaps that's why my wife has a couple of SC's tucked away in the pantry, never seen her use them for some reason. She only uses her PC and DO, on the stovetop.
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Old 01-15-2018, 03:25 PM   #7
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A Dutch oven is good if you are going to be there to keep an eye on it. If you're going to be leaving the house, the crock pot doesn't need a baby sitter.
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Old 01-15-2018, 03:27 PM   #8
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It's already been mentioned that a Crockpot won't sear or brown meats - they have to be started in another pan first.
That's not entirely true anymore. There are slow cookers (such as the Cuisinart Multi-Cooker) that has a metal insert that can sear.

Slow cookers are popular because they don't require any monitoring, where a DO does. Instant Pots in part are popular because they fall into the same set and forget category, where a stovetop pressure cooker requires monitoring and temperature adjustment.

I have and use them all (except an electric pressure cooker). My selection depends upon what I'm making and the circumstances I'm making them under. When entertaining, it's nearly impossible to keep something warm in a DO (such as chili or meatballs), where the slow cooker is ideal. It's nice to have a variety of tools to do the job.
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Old 01-15-2018, 04:05 PM   #9
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A Dutch oven is good if you are going to be there to keep an eye on it. If you're going to be leaving the house, the crock pot doesn't need a baby sitter.
That's not what Kenji concluded in the article Andy linked to. What's the difference between leaving one appliance on for several hours versus another? He provided statistics, too.
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Old 01-15-2018, 04:35 PM   #10
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My Le Creuset enameled cookware is dishwasher safe. I don't usually wash it that way, because of its size, but I've done it with no problems. My crockpot insert is the same, I can wash it in the DW, but usually hand wash, because it eats up to much space in the DW.

As for cooking, I have both, but the crock pot is rarely used, anymore. I now just use it for keeping things hot for a party, or slow cooking a pot of beans on the side.

As Craig mentioned, I can sear my meats and aromatic veggies in the cast iron DO, and then use the same DO to slow cook my food, either in the oven or on the cooktop.

As for set-it and forget it, that's what I do when I use my cast-iron DOs in the oven.

I have nothing against crock pots, but if I had to chose between one or the other, I'd keep my cast-iron DOs. I can simply do more with them than I can with a crock pot.

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Old 01-15-2018, 04:38 PM   #11
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A Dutch oven is good if you are going to be there to keep an eye on it. If you're going to be leaving the house, the crock pot doesn't need a baby sitter.
I've simmered some soups in the dutch oven for hours without any supervision. I've braised short ribs on the stovetop for 2+ hours without having to even peek at what's happening in there. People have been using dutch ovens for a lot longer than they have electric slow cookers, so there must be something to it.

I still think that a slow cooker is at its best when it's used for a stay hot serving vessel at a buffet type meal.
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Old 01-15-2018, 04:42 PM   #12
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.... crock pot is rarely used, anymore. I now just use it for keeping things hot for a party...
That's basically how I've used my crock pots in the past and still do on occasion.
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Old 01-15-2018, 04:49 PM   #13
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That's not entirely true anymore. There are slow cookers (such as the Cuisinart Multi-Cooker) that has a metal insert that can sear.
I have seen those. You can put the metal insert on the stove to sear, and then into the crock pot to slow cook. That is certainly better than a crock pot with a porcelain crock. But, since I already have 3 DOs and a porcelain crock pot, I haven't given any thought to buying another one of either.

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Old 01-15-2018, 05:02 PM   #14
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I have seen those. You can put the metal insert on the stove to sear, and then into the crock pot to slow cook.
The insert stays in the cooker. You select sear function, then select the temperature. After searing, you select slow cook, then temperature. No need to remove the insert or turn the cooker off to change functions.
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Old 01-15-2018, 08:36 PM   #15
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After giving some thought to these posts, I think we are looking at our own situations and thinking our preferences are ideal. Maybe for us they are, but there are a lot of cooks with other priorities, and the best way of cooking things is not always the best way for people to cook. I'm retired, as many of the posters here are, and we have the time and inclination to find the best way of cooking things.

Meet my daughter, a working mom with a toddler and an infant. Her primary cooking tools are a slow cooker, an Instant Pot, and a rice cooker. All set and forget appliances, so she can tend to the kids. We had a family gathering in December, and I had to chuckle when she was telling her cousin (another working mom) that she needed an Instant Pot and a rice cooker. Just about any home cooked meal is healthier and more nutritious than the alternatives, not to mention the cost factor.
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Old 01-15-2018, 09:13 PM   #16
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After giving some thought to these posts, I think we are looking at our own situations and thinking our preferences are ideal. Maybe for us they are, but there are a lot of cooks with other priorities, and the best way of cooking things is not always the best way for people to cook. I'm retired, as many of the posters here are, and we have the time and inclination to find the best way of cooking things.

Meet my daughter, a working mom with a toddler and an infant. Her primary cooking tools are a slow cooker, an Instant Pot, and a rice cooker. All set and forget appliances, so she can tend to the kids. We had a family gathering in December, and I had to chuckle when she was telling her cousin (another working mom) that she needed an Instant Pot and a rice cooker. Just about any home cooked meal is healthier and more nutritious than the alternatives, not to mention the cost factor.
I do agree that crock pots are excellent for "dump cooking." You dump a bunch of ingredients in the crock pot, and walk away. The same is probably true for the Instant Pot -- I don't know, since I don't have one.

I'm not retired, and I do all the cooking in my house. But, in fairness, I also don't just cook to fill my belly. As I have said before, cooking is a nice escape from my work, and other stressful things. So, I'm not much into short cuts.

So, yeah, if feeding the family with as little involvement as possible is the goal, a crock pot is a great cooking appliance. So, I agree... to each his own.

I guess that the point I was trying to make, and I think others were trying to make, is that a cast iron DO can do pretty much everything a crock pot can, and more. It can even do "dump dinners," if that's what you want or need to do.

To me, a cast iron DO is more of a multi-tasker than a crock pot. But like I said before, I have nothing against crock pots, or more accurately, people who use crock pots. I just prefer a cast iron DO, and don't mind telling people why I prefer them -- no offense is ever intended.

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Old 01-15-2018, 09:23 PM   #17
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Being retired, I'm fortunate to have the time to cook when and how I want. So I don't have an issue with the time it takes to cook in a DO vs. a slow cooker.

I understand the need to accommodate work and family schedules, but that can come at a cost if the "set it and forget it" methods don't measure up.

As a side note, doesn't the Instant Pot function as a slow cooker and a rice cooker?
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Old 01-15-2018, 10:21 PM   #18
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Given the choice between a dutch oven and crock pot, I would take the dutch oven any day. I have three of them in different sizes, and rarely a week goes by where I don't use one.
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Old 01-15-2018, 10:53 PM   #19
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Being retired, I'm fortunate to have the time to cook when and how I want. So I don't have an issue with the time it takes to cook in a DO vs. a slow cooker.

I understand the need to accommodate work and family schedules, but that can come at a cost if the "set it and forget it" methods don't measure up.

As a side note, doesn't the Instant Pot function as a slow cooker and a rice cooker?
You can only do one thing at a time though. If you are doing some slow cooked meat and veggies that are to be served over rice, then you need both appliances, or you have to finish one dish, then clean up and start the second - probably not the best way to go if you have another option.
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Old 01-15-2018, 11:04 PM   #20
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Being retired, I'm fortunate to have the time to cook when and how I want. So I don't have an issue with the time it takes to cook in a DO vs. a slow cooker.

I understand the need to accommodate work and family schedules, but that can come at a cost if the "set it and forget it" methods don't measure up.

As a side note, doesn't the Instant Pot function as a slow cooker and a rice cooker?
Yes, which is why I got rid of the slow cooker and rice cooker when I got the Elec PC. Saved a lot of room in that tiny kitchen I had then.
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