Braising is a wonderful technique for making tough cuts of meat like beef ribs tender and juicy. And it fills the house with wonderful aromas. Since my slow cooker was a wedding gift more than 30 years ago, I asked my friend Brigit Binns of Roadfoodie.com what to look for and what she recommends. She just finished writing a book about slow cookers for a major cookware store. “The most popular slow cookers have a capacity of 6 to 7 quarts, and consist of a simple metal housing with a heavy ceramic insert and a tight-fitting lid, which is crucial to the process (it also means your house won’t smell like delicious braising food, which could be good or bad, depending on your opinion).
“In the old days, recipes for slow cookers were of the ‘dump, stir, and walk away’ variety, but the resulting dishes tended to be soft, bland, and rather one-note in flavor. Now, it’s acknowledged that a little preliminary browning (in another pan) before you dump will elevate the dish by many levels of magnitude. It’s as if you had a French auntie at home nurturing a consoling supper just for you (an auntie who disappears before dinnertime). Flavors get happy together, protein becomes succulent while remaining juicy, and you look like a star.
“The best models, like the fabulous All-Clad feature a delayed-start button, at least three temperature settings, and revert to hold mode automatically after the cooking time is up. Note that ‘Low’ is always 200°F, and ‘High is always 300°F. Also note that slow-cookers make great additions to the buffet table. They’re brilliant, for instance, at keeping your favorite chili nice and hot on game days.” I also use mine to keep my Swedish Glögg warm during winter parties.
Published On: 9/25/2018 Last Modified: 4/27/2021
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A good digital thermometer keeps you from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. They are much faster and much more accurate than dial thermometers. YOU NEED ONE!
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If you’re using oven mitts at the grill, it’s time to trade up. Say hello to these suede welder’s gloves. They’re heat resistant enough to handle hot grill grates, and flexible enough to handle tongs. The extra long sleeves even let you reach deep into the firebox to move hot logs without getting burned. Our Fave.
The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it’s easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is beautifully designed, completely portable, and much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado.
Char-Broil’s Grill2Go x200 is a super-portable, fun little sizzler made of heavy, rust-proof cast aluminum. The lid snaps shut. Grab the handle and you’re off to the party! Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared design produces searing heat while reducing fuel consumption. A 16 ounce LP gas canister is enough to keep you flipping burgers for hours.
The Good-One Open Range is dramatically different from a traditional offset smoker. By placing the heat source behind and under the smokebox instead of off to the side, Open Range produces even temperature from left to right, something almost impossible to achieve with a standard barrel shaped offset.
GrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, kill hotspots, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily rmoved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips, pellets, or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke.
The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. The quality of meat from this machine is astonishing. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat controlled oven. It is our favorite smoker, period.
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