Crockpots are Overrated


As the weather cools down, households all around Minnesota are eager to make delicious, hearty meals. The kind of food that offsets the feeling of your nostrils being frozen in the morning. But all too often, there’s a giant mistake made right away, a crockpot is used for the job. There’s some myth that slow cookers are meant to be the easier option. This mindset that they’re “set it and forget it!”. But the mighty crockpot is nothing but a sham. My friends, what you really need in your life is a dutch oven.

Crockpots are not faster.

If one of the selling points of a crockpot is that they save you time, how is adding 5 hours to every recipe saving you any time? They’re called a slow cooker for a reason but I see so many people sharing crockpot recipes that would take 15 minutes to cook in a pan now spending hours slow cooking it into mush. Why is anyone making beef and broccoli in a crockpot? What are you doing with your life? Noodles in a crockpot? Why?! Or crockpot cake?! Honestly, Mike Zimmer’s clock management is better than cake in a crockpot. Stop this madness.

Crockpots save zero time on clean up.

If you want your food to actually taste good, it requires more than a crockpot. You can’t sear your meat, brown your vegetables, braise anything. All of these things require additional pots and pans if you’re using a crockpot. Want to know what you CAN do everything in? A dutch oven. That sucker will handle everything you throw at it and look good doing it. I mean, just look at it.

That is a damned statement in your kitchen.

Crockpots have a very limited use.

I know there are a billion recipes that say you can make them in a crockpot but stop fooling yourself. The only thing a crockpot is truthfully good for is keeping your food warm—or warming it back up. Can it make soup? Yes. Is it what you should use to make soup? Absolutely not.

This is what soup should look like. This does not come from a crockpot. Photographer: Greg DuPree Food: Cyd McDowell Prop: Claire Spollen

 “Oh but my crockpot pulled pork is so good!” No, it’s not. The BBQ sauce is good and you’ve made the meat nothing but a vehicle for it. Crockpots are excellent at warming food, not cooking it. That’s the definition of limited use. Crockpots are overrated for everything but keeping things warm.

Yeah, that looks fucking gross. Is that hay?

Crockpot food isn’t nearly as good.

Here’s the biggest problem with crockpots. The food just isn’t nearly as good as it could be. Crockpots are overrated. I promise if you make the same exact dish in a dutch oven, it will taste twice as good. And it will cook faster.

Do you want to make the best pulled pork you’ve ever had? You don’t need a smoker just put it on a roasting rack! (but I mean, a smoker sure is a better option if you have one). Do you want your soups to taste better? Brown the meat and cook the vegetables first in the dutch oven and then add your liquids. Want your beef and broccoli to even remotely resemble what you get during carryout and don’t have a wok? Just use your frying pan. You have to do the exact same amount of prep as cooking it in the crockpot so just do it right in the first place.

Crockpots don’t allow for depth in food because that comes from actually cooking it—which brings me to my last point.

Good luck making this in a dumbass crockpot. Have I mentioned that crockpots are overrated?

Crockpots create lazy cooks.

I fully admit I take cooking rather seriously. This particular section of my argument is for my sanity. I’ve found most of my other passions have become too expensive or too exhausting for my old ass. What I’m left with is cooking and dammit do crockpots make people lazy. Few things upset me more than seeing people with all these beautiful ingredients and awesome recipes destroy it by putting everything in a food sauna. It’s like having Tom Brady as your quarterback but Mike Tice as your coach. (Actually, I wonder how that would have gone…)

I understand our lives are busy. But good food doesn’t come from just dumping a bunch of raw ingredients into a bath. And if we subscribe to the idea that crockpots don’t actually save you any time, I’m here to tell you cooking good food takes no more time than cooking bad food.

You don’t have to be Gavin Kaysen or Gordon Ramsay, but please get yourself a dutch oven. Your tastebuds will thank you.

Disagree with me? Tell me I’m an idiot @NickLewis37

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