One of our readers, Sue, needs your help picking out a new slow cooker. She also has some questions on using this fabulous small appliance. Can you help her out?
Here is her e-mail request:
"I very rarely use my slow cooker, but would like to start more often, especially with the cooler weather. I think more people start to use their slow-cookers in the fall, and I need all the help I can get since I flunked slow cooking for dummies ;)
My problems are:
1. I think my slow cooker may be defective -- do they all spew out large amounts of boiling water all over the counter?
2. Since I'm pretty sure my machine is defective, and I tossed it in the trash after a total failure trying to make a brisket today, I'm hoping some of the knowledgeable slow cooking folks on the blog can tell me the make/model of the slow cooker they use. I've been interested in the one that you can brown the meat in first, but don't know if it is worth the $$$. Would you ask if anyone uses that kind and what they think of it?"
My slow cooker has never spewed out large amount of liquid (or any liquid at all) while in use. I am not sure how full you are filling the slow cooker, but I don't fill it any more than 3/4 full. I don't know anything about the slow cookers that brown the meat first.
The make and model I mainly use is a Crockpot 5-Quart Smart Pot. It works well, but I am not sure I recommend it, especially if you need to leave your slow cooker on for more than 7 hours while you are away from the house. It tends to run hot so I don't leave food cooking in it all day long. Most dishes are done on low in 5.5 - 7 hours and will get burned if left in too long. The warm function tends to run pretty hot as well. I also have a smaller Crock-pot that is quite old and no longer available. It works well for side dishes, but I use the 5-quart primarily.
The Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 qt. slow cooker has been recommended by Consumer Reports and it was rated high on Amazon HERE. Do any of you use this slow cooker?
I really like to read the consumer product reviews on Amazon and other online retailers. Obviously if a product has received many negative reviews (like the Crockpot I use - lol), it's not one you probably want to purchase.
What other slow cookers do you all recommend for Sue to consider?