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Old Slow Cookers Better?
Old 06-18-2018, 08:02 PM   #1
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Old Slow Cookers Better?

We've had our Crock-Pot since around 1992. It works great, but it didn't pass the would you take this if it was free at a garage sale? test. IOW, it is rusty and grody and looks like it belongs in a condemned slum apartment.

So, when I saw a mint-condition Crock-Pot for $1, I purchased it and brought it home.

Today we cooked in it for the first time, and I noticed that even on low, the food was boiling away merrily. The liquid was at 210 degrees. With the old cooker, the contents boiled lazily when on low. The chicken pieces cooked in Alfredo sauce were more fall-apart tender than usual.

I found that the old one uses 138 watts, the new one 151.

I and others on the InterGoogle suspect that due to lawsuits and/or fear of germs, they upped the temperatures. Apparently older slow cookers are in high demand, cooking at the more ideal 190 degrees.

BTW, I talked with a rep at Crock-pot Corp, who told me that "both Low and High bring the food to the same temp, but High heats it faster."

So now the question is: Do I use the new Crock-pot or the old?
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Old 06-18-2018, 08:10 PM   #2
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The Crock Pot guy was right. Hears faster on high. We still use ours, especially when camping in our RV.

Favorite recipe is throw a beef roast in the bottom, top with a can of Golden Mushroom Soup and then a can of French Onion Soup. Cook all day. It is absolutely incredible.
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Old 06-18-2018, 08:12 PM   #3
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We have 3 different types.

We always go back to the old, ugly one because it is the only one with a true "low." Al, our observations match yours.
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Old 06-18-2018, 08:13 PM   #4
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That’s right. Old crock pots were deemed to be not safe as they cooked at too low a temp. But people loved the results!
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Old 06-18-2018, 08:15 PM   #5
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Move into the 21st century and get a real pressure cooker - faster than a speeding slow cooker, more powerful than a dutch oven, able to leap cooking problems in a single setting!!!

InstantPot!!


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Old 06-18-2018, 08:28 PM   #6
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Yeah I swapped my old one for a newer one and regret it, it was just a cheapie $10 one but it cooked good
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Old 06-18-2018, 08:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Today we cooked in it for the first time, and I noticed that even on low, the food was boiling away merrily. The liquid was at 210 degrees. With the old cooker, the contents boiled lazily when on low. The chicken pieces cooked in Alfredo sauce were more fall-apart tender than usual.

I found that the old one uses 138 watts, the new one 151.
. . .

BTW, I talked with a rep at Crock-pot Corp, who told me that "both Low and High bring the food to the same temp, but High heats it faster."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamaman View Post
The Crock Pot guy was right. Hears faster on high.
If the liquid is bubbling, and everything is at regular atmospheric pressure and well mixed, then the stuff is as hot as it will get (until the liquids boil away). A higher wattage will not make it any hotter, but does only two things:
-- Brings the contents up to that boiling point in less time
-- Boils the liquid away at a faster speed (that's the difference between boiling "lazily" and boiling "merrily," I guess)
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Old 06-18-2018, 09:01 PM   #8
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I was told that your suspicions are true. New regulations raised the temperatures.
Keeping my disgusting 25 year old one.
They'll take my botulism coated cookware when they pry it from my cold dead hands.
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Old 06-18-2018, 09:33 PM   #9
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I assume this is old style, knob control for OFF/LO/MID/HI, no electronics?

If you want to reduce the watts, just plug it into a light dimmer. Like this 300 Watt model:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A80756O..._t1_B0080I97L2

Then here's your answer if you want temperature control (I use one like it it for a small sous vide cooker, and for my beer-brewing temperature control):

https://www.amazon.com/Inkbird-Tempe.../dp/B01DZ5NVBQ

This will regulate the temperature by turning the pot ON/OFF. But like others have said, it's really the wattage that's setting the time/temperature profile.

Quote:
I found that the old one uses 138 watts, the new one 151. ...
I measured mine (simple cheap one from Target, a couple years old), 60 W on LO, 110 W on MID and 170 (60 + 110) on HIGH.

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Old 06-18-2018, 10:01 PM   #10
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Since the latest cooking item is the sous vide where you can coast your steak at 125 F for 3 hours I don't get the germ concern.

I don't get sous vide either, I made a really good looking tasteless steak with it once and tossed it inna trash.
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Old 06-18-2018, 10:25 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by RobbieB View Post
Since the latest cooking item is the sous vide where you can coast your steak at 125 F for 3 hours I don't get the germ concern.

I don't get sous vide either, I made a really good looking tasteless steak with it once and tossed it inna trash.
I think it's the hours the old crock pot spends going from room/fridge temperature to something hot enough. Sous vide isn't very hot, but the stuff is in contact with that temp water from the start, so the transfer is faster.

Our sous vide steaks and rack of lamb have turned out great. Not sure what your problem was?

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Old 06-18-2018, 11:01 PM   #12
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Yes, we needed a second croc pot to supplement the old one we use for big Christmas dinners. We returned two of them because they cook way too hot. We will try our luck with an Instapot this year.
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Old 06-19-2018, 07:20 AM   #13
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Last night I filled them both with water and set them to Low.

This morning, the water in the old one was not boiling and the temp was 201 degrees. The new one was boiling with a temp of 215 (thermometer must read a few degrees high).
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Old 06-19-2018, 07:26 AM   #14
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Interesting thread...I have learned something today. I had noticed too that our "newer" one would boil on low, but the older one didn't. I thought the newer one was defective. I think I have eaten about 500 pounds of food from the older one and don't recall EVER getting sick.

As far as the Instapot goes...we had one for a couple of weeks and wasn't impressed. IMHO, a lot of hype for yet another "not so useful" kitchen appliance. Now, the air fryer? I love that thing!
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Old 06-19-2018, 07:47 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Last night I filled them both with water and set them to Low.

This morning, the water in the old one was not boiling and the temp was 201 degrees. The new one was boiling with a temp of 215 (thermometer must read a few degrees high).
Need more data than a single endpoint. Record the temperature each hour. I think the time spent above certain temperatures is key (140F usually mentioned), not so much the endpoint.

more info:

https://www.extension.umn.edu/food/f...cooker-safety/

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Old 06-19-2018, 07:51 AM   #16
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Next thing you know they'll be taking my Kefir grains away from me since I use them to leave milk out on the counter for a day or two.
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Old 06-19-2018, 09:21 AM   #17
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Move into the 21st century and get a real pressure cooker - faster than a speeding slow cooker, more powerful than a dutch oven, able to leap cooking problems in a single setting!!!

InstantPot!!
Yes, this!!!! A life changing kitchen appliance. Where have you been all my life, Instant Pot?
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Old 06-19-2018, 09:27 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Last night I filled them both with water and set them to Low.

This morning, the water in the old one was not boiling and the temp was 201 degrees. The new one was boiling with a temp of 215 (thermometer must read a few degrees high).
Thanks for taking the measurements.

The thermometer might be okay. If your house isn't far above sea level and your tap water has quite a few dissolved solids in it, then it might boil at 215 deg F. Dissolved solids (hard water, added salt, etc) will raise the boiling point of water.

We don't really know at what temp the thermostat in each crockpot turns on and off. You had observed previously that the old crockpot boiled (sauces?) when on low, and if that is right then during some point it was above 212 deg F. The 201 deg F you saw yesterday might have been at a "low point in the cycle, just before the thermostat clicks on again. Anyway, if the old crockpot doesn't keep things boiling all the time when on low, but the new ones do, then the old crockpot will be retaining a lot more moisture in the sauces than the new ones.


As far as food safety, I doubt that the "final" temperature of the old crockpot vs the new ones makes any difference: If the temps are occassionally above the boiling point of water and never allowed to get below about 200 deg, there won't be any bad stuff growing there. What >could< make a difference in food safety is the time it takes to heat the contents to a safe cooking temperature, which is a function of the wattage not the thermostat setting. If we dump 5 lbs of cold ingredients into the pot and it takes 5 hours to get to 165, then there's a potential problem. Even if any pathogens are latter killed off by high temperatures, while they are alive at lower temps they can produce toxins, etc that lead to "unhappiness."
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Old 06-19-2018, 09:34 AM   #19
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I'm so glad you posted this discussion. Like many I bought a new slow cooker (house fire destroyed the prior), put a chicken in it and went to work. Came home to way overcooked chicken. Tried a few different methods and still, overcooked. Talked with my Chef brother who told me about the increase in minimum temperature due to "safety". Apparently our government knows better than evolution. :-)

I tried to take the slow cooker apart to fiddle with the thermostat. Would have to destroy it to get it open. Did not consider somehow fooling with the input power. Would maybe try it but I always thought it was the temperature setting, not the power input. Perhaps I am mistaken.

Ended up with an insta pot and our slow cooker is now in the basement. Will probably use it very little in the future.

Take whatever I say with a grain of salt. Apparently I am mentally not current. Recently before finally buying a cordless drill I looked to see if I could get a bit brace. Only when I found that a really good one was almost the price of a cordless drill did I go to the big box and buy a cordless.

For the uninitiated, "cordless" in modern English refers to a battery-operated gizmo. Bit braces are also cordless, and have been for centuries. But cordless is not used as an adjective for hand tools. Even though they are......
Now that I have a cordless drill, I find it's very convenient. Modern technology does have some advantages....
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Old 06-19-2018, 09:47 AM   #20
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Not to shift the topic slightly, but I have a friend who found an very old electric waffle maker with iron non-teflon-coated grid. He swears the waffles are crisper and tastier and has kept it going for years.

IMHO, the PC does what the slow-cooker does, just faster. Both are great at getting the various flavor ingrediants to blend together the way nature intended.
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