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
These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.
A big part of this site is our unbiased equipment and product reviews. We love playing with toys and we have no problem calling them the way we see them. Some companies pay a finder’s fee if a reader clicks a link on AmazingRibs.com and buys a product. It has zero impact on our reviews, zero impact on the price you pay, and the sites never tell us what you bought, but it has a major impact on our ability to keep this site alive! So before you buy, please click our links. Here’s a link that takes you to a page on Amazon that has some of our favorite tools and toys: https://tinyurl.com/amazingribs
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.
The flat top does the burgers and the fryer does the fries. Use the griddle for bacon, eggs, grilled cheese, and so much more. And why deep fry indoors when you can avoid the smell and mess by doing it outside!
ThermoWorks’ Thermapen ONE provides an accurate reading in one second or less. The ONE also includes features that are common on high-end instruments: automatic backlight, rotating display, and water resistant seals. Don’t accept cheap substitutes.
Click here to read our comprehensive Platinum Medal review
GrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, kill hotspots, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily moved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips, pellets, or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke.
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.
Green Mountain’s portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it’s also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.
Built around SnS Grill’s patented Slow ‘N Sear charcoal kettle accessory, this 22-inch kamado is a premium ceramic grill that brings true 2-zone cooking to a kamado.