Our awesomocious new slow cooker

Awesome new Hamilton-Beach 6-qt. Slow Cooker

Our awesomocious new Set ‘n Forget 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker slow cooker

We love slow cooking, but had outgrown our bare-bones high-low-warm manual slow cooker. After lots of research, in January we picked up the bigger, programmable Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker.

Here’s what drew us to this particular slow cooker.

In short

  • Lid seals and clips in place for mess-free transport
  • Programming options for timed high/low cooking, manual cooking, or cook to a specified temperature via the included temperature probe
  • Sturdy and well-built
  • 6 quarts of slow-cooking goodness helps us with large dishes and preps up for cooking for a family

A bit more detail

Sealed lockable lid means no spills when taking the slow cooker somewhere. We haven’t tested this out yet, but all indications so far show a very secure lid with a tight seal and no mess.

Programmable for added convenience and no fear of over-cooking. We can set temperature and cooking time, then head out. When the programmed time has elapsed, the slow cooker switches to warm.

Slow Cooker Temperature Probe

Temperature probe mode is about as worry-free as slow cooking gets. A couple of weekends prior to this writing, I rubbed a whole chicken with salt and pepper, set it in the slow cooker with most of a jar of green chile salsa, stuck the slow cooker’s temperature probe into the thickest part of a thigh, and left the house. The slow cooker’s probe cook setting lets you program low or high mode, plus a desired finishing temperature. In the case of this whole chicken, we selected the 180ºF called for in the recipe. We dined that night on shredded green chile chicken, moist and succulent, in some damn good burritos.

Family-friendly large size makes it easier to cook big meals. Our old 4-quart model served us well for years, but we outgrew it. Dishes that nearly overwhelmed our old model, work much better in the larger slow cooker. Plus, now that Jodie and I are looking ahead to adding wee St. Clair’s, upgrading to a 6-quart slow cooker gives us more capacity for an eventually larger family.

We’ve run into only one negative so far: a 12-hour max cooking time. Not a huge negative, either, and one most people would never encounter. This applies for only one thing we make in the slow cooker: bone broths. We dump chicken bones, scraps, apple cider vinegar and water into our slow cooker, put it on low, and after 24 hours have amazing broth. The long cooking time is needed to extract all the soul-good brothiness from the bones, but the slow cooker has a built-in safety timer of 12 hours maximum cooking time. This isn’t a huge problem, but it is something to be aware of for food safety (you don’t want the slow cooker to click off in the middle of the night, and wind up spoiling). We get around this negative by timing the broth to when we know we’re home to restart the slow cooker. No big.

Conclusion: Slow cooking for a long time

We expect to use our slow cooker more than ever, especially for adapted meals in the summer when we don’t want to use the oven or stove. From canning prep to broth to general cooking, we’re finding our new slow cooker to be a valuable new work horse in our kitchen. I’m expecting we’ll be firing this up all seasons, for many years to come.

Get your own Hamilton Beach Set n Forget 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker

As of this writing (Mar. 1, 2011), the average price for this slow cooker was about $60.

5 thoughts on “Our awesomocious new slow cooker”

  1. Nice cooker…what are you going to make with it? I just bought my first one and I haven’t had any luck finding anything but bland, 50’s potluck feeling recipes. Can you recommend a good cookbook?

  2. Heather – So far we’ve made a green chile whole chicken, a huge batch of vegetable stock, and, and, dang it there’s something else, but it’s escaping me. Really liking this slow cooker. The veggie stock was especially — we started that before going to bed, set the timer, and it was good to go the next morning.

    Far as cookbooks go, you’re right, there’s a ton of, ahem, sub-optimal slow cooker cookbooks. My wife just got a bunch out of the library, and we’re seeing which ones we like.

    Here are some you might want to look at:

    – Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker
    – Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever
    – Cooking Light: Slow Cooker
    – Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker

    Let me know which good ones you find — I think I’ll need to do a post about slow cooker cookbooks…

  3. I asked for this slow cooker last Christmas & have used it 3-4 days of every wk since. It is without a doubt the best there is! It is very hard to make a bad meal! I love it. Try (www.food.com) & search on crockpot or slow cooker for a ton of great recipes, including desserts! It’s a treasure trove.


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