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Old Yesterday, 11:42 AM
Location: southwest TN
8,179 posts, read 14,276,689 times
Reputation: 14787


I have 8 slow cookers. I also have a 5-burner stove and a grill with burner. I use them all for different reasons. There are a few weeks in the middle of winter that I do not use my outdoor grill or middle of the summer the oven is forgotten. In the summer, I've used the grill to brown meats then toss it in the crockpot with other ingredients for eating later; in winter my crockpots don't get much rest - it's wonderful for stews and casseroles and especially for chili. Meals that need an oven usually are not something I want to eat mid-summer - such as pasta casseroles - baked ziti.

I've had a pork shoulder in my crockpot since yesterday afternoon. It's just about ready and it smells yummy.
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Old Yesterday, 12:13 PM
Location: Brawndo-Thirst-Mutilator-Nation
15,252 posts, read 15,250,601 times
Reputation: 10978
So simple, throw food in and flip the switch, done.
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Old Yesterday, 12:14 PM
Location: San Antonio
3,200 posts, read 9,249,894 times
Reputation: 4759
I can start my slow cooker in the morning, leave for work, and have a meal when I walk in the door. You can't leave a stove unattended like that.
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Old Yesterday, 01:21 PM
6,128 posts, read 3,331,721 times
Reputation: 13019
Originally Posted by Surfertx View Post
I'm learning to cook with a Crock pot because I suck at cooking and I'm interested in making chicken Marsala. Looking at the cooking instructions for both slow cooker and stove pan, I don't see the benefits of using a slow cooker over a pan except it that using a Crock pot may need a little less work.

What am I missing here? Is there more flavor using the slow cooker?
Using a crockpot will not make you a better cook nor make the food taste any better. In the case you mention of chicken marsala prepare to be disappointed.

Flouring and seasoning the chicken then browning it in a saute pan brings flavor that the crockpot will not. Eating something like a marsala brings different flavors and different textures for the different ingredients. The meat should have some firmness to it, the mushrooms should retain some body and the sauce should be smooth. You will be able to taste the chicken in the chicken, the mushrooms in the mushrooms and the sauce individually even as you eat them together.

"Dumping" them all in the crockpot, as some here are so fond to say, will result in the flavors all running together and the texture of everything breaking down to pap.
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Old Yesterday, 02:48 PM
8,162 posts, read 4,470,866 times
Reputation: 8773
Originally Posted by Northern Maine Land Man View Post

"How are slow cookers "very expensive to use" anyway?"

Unless you need the heat to help warm that end of the house, or you care nothing about your electric bill, slow cookers are costly to use.
crock pots use pennies to cook, its so low, you wont even see it on your power bill. heating the oven is way more than a crock pot

about 30 cents a day, $6 a month
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Old Yesterday, 07:03 PM
Location: The analog world
15,709 posts, read 8,787,561 times
Reputation: 21084
I'm still confused about why some of you are trying to braise on the stove. After the initial browning, a braised meat dish should finish cooking inside the range at low heat. The benefit of the oven braising vs. simmering on the stove is that the covered pot is completely surrounded by heat. On a stove, the heat is limited to the bottom of the pot, which makes for a less satisfactory braise.
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Old Yesterday, 10:56 PM
Location: North Idaho
21,028 posts, read 25,842,934 times
Reputation: 39498
Originally Posted by M3 Mitch View Post
A crock pot has an electric heating element, not exactly like an electric stove, but I can't see why it would not present the same level of fire hazard as the stove. .................
The electric heating element of a stove is not what causes a fire. You can leave that stove burner burning 24 hours a day for weeks and it won't start a fire ( you might ruin your stove, but not start a fire)

Stove fires are caused by food cooking until all the water is gone, then the food starts to burn to the pan and it might catch fire. A lot of stove fires are grease fires. Oil and grease don't have a top temperature. As long as there is heat being applied, they keep getting hotter and hotter until they reach flash point and ignite.

Water has a top temperature that it won't exceed. Water won't burn. The crock pot is designed so that the water you are cooking with can not escape.
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Old Yesterday, 11:12 PM
Location: Prepperland
13,136 posts, read 9,219,999 times
Reputation: 8991
If you're going to go with a thermostat controlled cooker, look into sous-vide.
Sous Vide is a French cooking technique, which translates to “under vacuum." In this technique food is vacuum-sealed in a cooking pouch and heated up at a precise temperature in a water bath. Instead of relying on perfect timing, sous vide relies on precise temperature control. You simply set the machine and can expect the technique to deliver consistent, perfect results.

... food is placed in a plastic pouch or a glass jar and cooked in a water bath or steam environment for longer than normal cooking times (usually 1 to 7 hours, up to 48 or more in some cases) at an accurately regulated temperature. The temperature is much lower than normally used for cooking, typically around 55 to 60 °C (131 to 140 °F) for meat, higher for vegetables 84 to 87 °C (183 to 190 °F ).
The net has plenty of $100+ sous-vide cooking inserts and machines.

El cheap sous-vide cookery : plastic ziploc bag dunked in large pot with water at desired temperature.

On eBay, found a thermostatic controller (800W) for my DIY sous-vide. What was interesting - a reviewer mentioned using it to control a hot plate (!). This allowed me to use any pan I already have - no need to buy a crock pot to hack.
$16 hot plate (W-M)
$25 Thermostatic controller (eBay)
+ existing stock pot

(Poached fish - magnificio!)
(Steaks and chops, cooked thoroughly, then seared on rocket hot cast-iron ... perfection)

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Old Today, 06:28 AM
11,386 posts, read 5,880,809 times
Reputation: 21118
It’s been covered several times but the only advantage of a slow cooker is unattended operation. I can replicate any dish a slow cooker can make in a Le Creuset.

The converse isn’t true. Most things I make in a Le Creuset come out far better than a slow cooker. Sautéed onions. Browned meat. Deglazing. Braising.

That said, there are things where my slow cooker is my go to. Pulled pork is trivial and fool proof.
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Old Today, 07:51 PM
1,111 posts, read 778,683 times
Reputation: 2185
I personally will not leave an appliance running when I’m not at home. I really only use my crockpot for something that needs to cook for a long time, like stew or pulled chicken. It’s not for something that cooks quickly like chicken Marsala.
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