slow cooker vs oven braise vs pressure cooker

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by phatch, Oct 27, 2016.

  1. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I Just Like Food
    I'm not a fan of the link and run. My policy is that a person needs to post enough argument about why the link is important to merit posting it here at Cheftalk. 



    We certainly discuss braising here. There are good books written about the subject. We don't discuss slow cookers much except as a convenience for the person with a predicable schedule. I've written about pressure cookers here probably more than anyone. I love their speed, the convenience they bring to dishes like risotto or ropa vieja, dishes that are normally about attention and time. 

    But I've not seen much comparison of the techniques. Now granted, the comparison I link above has it's biases. Things like homogeneity, food break down, starch activation and "browning". I don't want those things in every dish.  I'd say things like concentration without reduction because a pressure cooker uses less liquid to begin with. But it's an interesting look comparing the same dish in the different tools. Well worth looking at. 
  2. french fries

    french fries

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    At home cook
    I used to love my pressure cookers and used them all the time. Great for example when you need cooked potatoes, quickly.

    Now that I try to remember what I used it for, it was mostly for cooking individual ingredients, rarely to make a full dish. When making a full dish I typically like to see it (and make it) evolve. I want to see how it reduces, if it reduces, it it needs the lid off or on, or halfway, if it needs extra liquid, I want to time when I add the different meats and vegetables because they all require a different cooking time etc. So I rarely turned to my pressure cooker to cook a full dish. I've used it for chicken stock once or twice but same there: for me, the desire to monitor, defat, remove scum, add aromatics or herbs at different times etc... took priority over the over-gelatinized stock that the pressure cooker yields.

    But I do not enter the category of busy cooks who need to save time. I often like to take a lot of time to cook and would rather do things the slow way if I feel like there's an advantage to doing it slow.

    Anyway at some point I grew tired of cleaning the joint and the pressure valve, and replacing the joint when it got old, etc... and in fact after a while the valve started malfunctioning and leaking water (during cooking), and with pressure cooker there's a safety issue.... so in the end I ditched the whole lid/valve/joint system and just use the pot (it's a great pot with a very sturdy heavy base, perfect for stock and braises, or even pasta..).

    As for slow cooker, they never appealed to me so I never used one.

    But dutch oven, yes. Love it. On the stovetop or in the oven.

    Made my choice.
  3. jimyra


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    Professional Chef
    If you evaluate the recipes and his method there are other ways to achieve similar results.  I am not going to dispute or criticize his observations.  J. Kenji López-Alt  likes to put words in an article.  I looked at his tomato sauce recipe.  I like to saute diced onions for tomato sauce.  If while doing this add some tomato paste and brown the onions and paste it adds to the slow cooked flavor profile.  
  4. maryb


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    Semi pro/retired now
    Only thing I use my slow cooker for is baked beans for BBQ parties... the long slow cooking lets the sugars caramelize and since I cheat and use already cooked great northern beans they also break down and make the beans nice and thick.