On a cross country flight back from Laguna Beach last month, I sat next to two women who had two words to say to all guys about cooking for themselves when they found out what I did for a living: Slow. Cooker.
My response? No guy in his right mind would go out and buy a crock pot. Much less drag it out in front of a date to make her a pot roast. My mom had one, and it was avocado green with some sort of yellow floral design. No thanks. I’ll stick to my oven and grill.
But they insisted there was no better way for a single guy to make a killer meal. And the newer “slow cookers,” as they are more correctly called (Crock Pot is a trademarked name for one brand of slow cooker), have a more modern, and in some cases even masculine, look. So I did some research. And everywhere I turned, everyone I spoke to swore by this method of cooking. Even guys famous for their barbecue. (More on that below.)
So I tried one. The Kalorik slow cooker pictured. The black and stainless look fit my kitchen. And wasn’t embarrassing to have on the counter top. And at $35 bucks, it wasn’t a budget breaker, either. Three heat settings let you choose how fast or slow to cook. In my test, where I dropped in ingredients for beef stew and left it unattended for 10 hours, the result was way better than I expected. Tender beef. Fully cooked potatoes. Full of flavor. And I basically did nothing. I’m hooked. (For more info on the Kalorik, click here.)
So here are five arguments why you should consider getting one for your pad:
1 – They’re Idiot Proof
The recipes basically make themselves. I threw some meat, potatoes, carrots, onions and other ingredients in the thing in the morning (full recipe coming later in the week, along with some others), and by dinner time I had a seriously good beef stew. About 5 minutes of prep time, and zero skill needed. Not bad.
2 – Hot Meals Waiting
Throw everything in before heading to the office, turn the dial, and when you finally drag your exhausted ass home a hot meal is ready and waiting for you. (Now we just need it to mix a martini and we’re set.)
3 – Low and Slow Makes the Best Barbecue
If you’re a fan of ribs or tender pulled pork, but don’t have the patience or time to tend a grill or smoker for 8-10 hours, you can drop them in the slow cooker and forget it all day. The way these things cook fits perfectly with the “low and slow” philosophy of award-winning ribs and pulled pork.
4 – Easy, Easy, Easy
Not just the recipes, which are almost all “drop in and cook,” but the clean up too. Since everything is made in the crock, you don’t spend a half hour cleaning pots and pans. And if there are leftovers, just pull the crock out and put it in the fridge.
5 – Save Money
With the economy down, you can stretch your food dollar (I know, a very “mom” term), by buying cheaper cuts of meat. Simmering in low heat for 10 hours makes even the toughest cuts fork-split tender.
A few buying tips:
- If you’re just cooking for you and a couple of other people, you shouldn’t need to get one that’s more than 3-4 quarts in size. Unless you’re making ribs, stews and chili for big crowds, then go for the 6-7 quart.
- Go with the oval shape. It makes cooking a whole chicken and full racks of ribs a lot easier.
- Get a cooker with more than one temp setting. And a warming setting if you plan on using it for parties. It’ll keep the food hot all night long.
- Make sure the crock is removable. It’ll make it easier to clean.
- Skip the floral and grab one with a stylish stainless front. It’ll look better when she comes over for your famous ribs.