Most helpful critical review
157 of 166 people found the following review helpful
mis-representation of temp probe and warm setting
on September 19, 2010
Ok, so I should have looked at Amazon and the ratings before this product ever entered our home.
However, that won't stop me from helping others, who read these reviews, from being duped by slow cooker companies' empty rhetoric.
Allow me to quantify a problem with this cooker:
You can set the probe to a low temperature of 140 and that is good. HOWEVER, this cooker's "Warm" setting runs at a temperature of 180 (I tested mine this morning, after ruining a nice cut of slow cooker meat).
Here is the reason why some of us have posted that these cookers are cooking too hot: Meat proteins, which contain moisture, start to shrink at a temperature of 140-150 (see "On Food and Cooking", Harold McGee, page 163, 2004) and causes the meat to start drying out.
You CANNOT set and forget! If the cooker's temperature is 180 on the warm setting, then whatever you put in the cooker will come up to a temperature of 180, at some point in time--REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOU SET THE PROBE AT.
This means that you cannot braise tough meats. Why? Because, tough meats require low and slow cooking to avoid drying out the meat while melting the tough connective tissue which make the meat unpleasant to consume. While I have not checked the cooker's temperature on the low setting, braising tough meat should be done around 160-180. I remain confident that if the warm setting is 180, then the low setting can only be hotter.
Now, I can fully understand that companies are covering their rear-ends because of safe cooking practices; however, 180 degrees is excessively safe (even ground beef is beyond well done at 180).
The truth to this is that you cannot use this slow cooker as a set and forget with meats. If you are using it with meats, then timing becomes critical or over-done-ness will ensue. If your meat sits at the warm setting for any serious duration, you will come to learn that your meat is a dry well done, not done well. Furthermore, tough meats will remain a severe challenge because the temperatures are too hot too fast to strike a pleasant eating experience.
Good luck with your slow cooking endeavors!