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
All of the products below have been tested and are highly recommended. Click here to read more about our review process.
Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our “buy now” links. This has zero impact on the price you pay but helps support the site.
The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust-free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. It is beautifully designed, completely portable, and much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado. Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360 and get a special AmazingRibs.com price!
The Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker is the first propane smoker with a thermostat, making this baby foolproof. All you need to do is add wood to the tray above the burner to start smokin’. Click here to read our detailed review.
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. Click here for our article on this exciting cooker.
It’s hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make their 22″ Pro Cart a great alternative! Click here for more about what makes this grill special.