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Dilemma with choice for Pressure Cooker: Which is better "Instant Pot IP Duo" or "Cuisinart CPC-600" or something else?

The IP claims a range of 10.2 - 11.6 PSI, and in my personal experience, its probably at the low end of the range. Cuisinart claims 10 PSI, but the temperature measured by America's Test Kitchen in Pressure Cooking Perfection (somewhere in the 240s) corresponds to a higher PSI, and in my personal experience, is higher than the Instantpot. (There also seems to be a difference for the low pressure settings as well, in Cuisinart's favor.) I live at 1,003 feet above sea level.

Where this is going to make a difference is for example when pressure cooking hardboiled eggs, I have to add a minute or two onto the time for the IP. I add a minute for potato chunks as well. And I do this combined recipe for mashed potatoes in gravy made in the pressure cooker at the same time where its obvious to me from the browning of the chicken broth in the two that the Cuisinart definitely reaches a higher temperature each and every time than the InstantPot. But I don't make any corrections for longer cooking items like stews and pork and beef roasts, and even if you have to, it isn't going to amount to that much of a difference.

If I were in your shoes, I'd give preference to the stainless steel aspect and not sweat the couple of degrees difference. Especially since last time I looked at the Cuisinart website, they had significantly raised the price of a replacement pot to around $50, whereas the IP pots are around $30, which makes a big difference if you want multiple inserts to do back to back dishes or if you scratch one of those nonstick pots and need to replace it.

Don't use a pressure cooker for....

I would say the "weak uses" for a pressure cooker are when people use cuts of meat that aren't best suited for it. Any cut of beef you would normally cook "medium rare" like a steak isn't best suited for the pressure cooker. Pork loin and pork chops aren't the best choice, either - they're too lean, very little connective tissue. Even with chicken and turkey, the white meat pieces are far easier to overcook if you aren't careful - I always brine them if I'm going to pressure cook them.

Contrarily, where the pressure cooker shines is with tougher cuts of meat with plenty of connective tissues, cuts that come from the muscles involved in movement and weight bearing. Pork butt, pork shoulder, ham, and sausage (because its made from shoulder cuts) all are really good in the pressure cooker. Brisket, corned beef, any beef cut with the word "chuck" in it, and bottom round work well. Chicken and turkey thighs and legs work better than white meat. Heck, whether you're talking lamb, beef, anything from the neck and shoulder, shanks, they're all excellent in the pressure cooker.

Nov 16, 2014
ePressureCooker in Cookware

Dilemma with choice for Pressure Cooker: Which is better "Instant Pot IP Duo" or "Cuisinart CPC-600" or something else?

OK, there's a lot to answer here so I'll take it one by one.

1. Yes, you use a lot less (at least a third less) liquid and you use less wine for stews made in the pressure cooker. Personally, I'd add just a cup of beef broth (there'll be plenty more at the end) and maybe 1/4 cup of red wine (depending on how much meat there is). You most assuredly DO NOT need to cover the meat. 1 cup of broth is more than enough to keep the machine under pressure for the entire duration, and not only that, there will be more liquid when you finish than when you start.

2. Your InstantPot is actually 10 PSI at High Pressure, but lest you think that's a huge difference, the difference is actually between 238 and 250 degrees, so not as much as you think at first blush. (America's Test Kitchen tested a number of stovetop pressure cookers that didn't even reach 250 degrees, so its less than that.)

3. Quick Pressure release means you manually release all the pressure and as soon as you hear the click, you can unlock and remove the lid. Natural pressure release means you don't do that, the machine depressurizes on its own (after ten minutes of depressurization, you could cheat and release whatever pressure remains, since there's not much left).

3. How long you would cook the meat depends on the size of the chunks. 2" chunks I'd probably go 18 minutes, 1" chunks I'd probably go 15 minutes (total).

4. I've got to warn you about this Miss Vickie 2 step method. I've tried it both ways, and I've got to agree with Lorna Sass that you should never quick release on most meats - it can cause the protein fibers to suddenly contract and toughen up. So I recommend instead you do one of the following (your choice)

A. You place any veggies you are concerned about going mushy inside a foil packet (sealed by folding it over several times) in the pressure cooker, on top of the meat. The foil allows them to cook, but more slowly, so they are less likely to go mushy. In this case, you would put everything in the pot and pressure cook just the once, and you use NATURAL PRESSURE RELEASE, not quick.

B. If you really want to go with the 2 step method, you pressure cook the meat and potatoes for say, 10 minutes, using NATURAL PRESSURE RELEASE, then add the remaining vegetables for say, another 2 or 3 minutes under pressure, and use NATURAL PRESSURE RELEASE again. This obviously will take longer. Personally, if it were me, I'd try (A) - it'll be quicker and less hassle.

Oct 11, 2014
ePressureCooker in Cookware

Dilemma with choice for Pressure Cooker: Which is better "Instant Pot IP Duo" or "Cuisinart CPC-600" or something else?

I was making some gumbo tonight, and wanted some plain white rice to go along with it, so I used the exact technique I recommended to you (although perhaps I didn't "polish" it quite as long as someone familiar with the technique would).

Undoubtedly, I didn't use the same rice as you did, but I did use a long grain rice, so its an approximate result. There was some shine, and the grains weren't particularly sticky at all. I'd be interested to know what you think once you try it.

Oct 10, 2014
ePressureCooker in Cookware
1

Dilemma with choice for Pressure Cooker: Which is better "Instant Pot IP Duo" or "Cuisinart CPC-600" or something else?

Well, I did say you didn't have to add the butter or vinegar, I wasn't sure exactly what you were going for, whether you intended to make a refried rice, etc.

OK, I've read the article you linked to, and here's my advice (minus the mention of butter and vinegar, since that's not what you're going for).

1. Polish the rice at the last minute, before cooking it. There's no need to soften it, or for any waiting period, the pressure cooker will do that very well for you. The polishing as described in that article should remove a lot of the surface starch.

2. If you want to try it and have some, you might want to try 1.5 cups of bottled water or filtered tap water instead of plain tap water for the rice (in certain parts of America, water is naturally slightly alkaline, and in many urban areas, it is made slightly alkaline for the sake of your plumbing, using bottled or treated water should give you a more neutral pH.

3. Try one cup rice, 1.5 cups water, 3 minutes on high pressure. Do the natural release for 10 minutes, then quick pressure release after that. Once pressure is released, remove the lid, then remove the inner pot from the outer pot (to reduce the amount of residual heat).

At that point, take a look at the appearance, texture, taste, etc. and see if its a lot closer to what you want, and if it isn't, let me know what you want to change, and we can try to figure out something that'll do it for you.

Oct 08, 2014
ePressureCooker in Cookware
1

Dilemma with choice for Pressure Cooker: Which is better "Instant Pot IP Duo" or "Cuisinart CPC-600" or something else?

My guess is you just need to adjust your cooking technique. (Don't be disappointed yet, in other words.)

As a preliminary matter, do you happen to know your rough elevation? Are you at 3,000 feet or more?

I can probably help you figure this out, but I'm not entirely clear on what you did, so I can't make recommendations (yet) on how you should change it. OK, if I understand correctly, you used long grain white rice, you didn't pre-soak the rice, but you did rinse it at least 30 minutes in advance and put it in a strainer before cooking, then you cooked 3 cups of rice with 4 1/2 cups of water using the rice setting (which determined that the food should cook for 12 minutes on its own), then you allowed the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then released the remainder of the pressure. If I understand correctly, you wanted shiny, fluffy, presumably separate (not sticky) grains of rice and what you got as mushy, wet and not shiny. Is that correct?

I found the section in the instruction manual I think you relied on, and my suspicion is, whomever wrote that and came up with the formulas doesn't understand how pressure cookers work. The volume of the food in the pressure cooker doesn't affect how long it takes for the food to cook under pressure, it only affects how long it takes for the machine to come up to pressure and depressurize. I suspect that their method resulted in seriously overcooked rice, the starch grains were just blown out.

May I suggest you try an alternate method with a smaller amount of rice, let me know how you like the results, then I can suggest additional changes depending on how you feel it came out.

Take a cup of rice and only rinse it off immediately before cooking. (Rinsing in advance would have allowed the rice to absorb surface water before cooking and might have contributed to "mushy".) Now, there are several additional things you can do to help reduce "foaming" or the possibility of stickiness, but you don't have to do them if you don't want to. If you want, you can melt a tablespoon of butter in the bottom of the pressure cooker pot and then coat the rice in the butter and let cook (without water, stirring constantly) for 1 minute. This helps keep the rice from releasing as much starch from the surface - which creates stickiness, and it will help on the shiny front, too. As soon as the minute is up, add 1 1/2 cups of water.

Alternatively, or additionally, you can also use a small amount of acid in the cooking liquid, which helps prevent stickiness and helps keep the grains intact. I would use a tablespoon of white wine or sake, or you could use a tablespoon of white vinegar or I might try seasoned rice wine vinegar if you like Asian food. Again, you don't have to do this if you don't want to, but I have a very sensitive palate towards vinegars, and I don't taste the added vinegar.

Use the steam button, set it on high pressure for 3 minutes, let it depressurize naturally for ten minutes (the timer will show its switched to "keep warm" and count down how many minutes its been since it stopped cooking under pressure. Once ten minutes have elapsed, release the remaining pressure manually, remove the lid, and remove the inner pot from the outer pot. After a couple more minutes, fluff the rice with a fork.

Then tell me how you like those results and we can adjust based on what you get, and what you're still looking for.

Oct 08, 2014
ePressureCooker in Cookware

Can you smoke a corned beef?

Njchicaa, I believe MGZ is right, the brand of corned beef you use can make a big difference as far as salinity.

You said you soaked it overnight (presumably in plain water), but ironically, that may have actually been either too long or too brief. Most people start talking about osmosis at this point, but a chemistry friend of mine reminds me that its actually diffusion, osmosis only occurs when the salt migrates in and out of a membrane. She's also explained to me that salt migrates through the meat very, very slowly, so it partially depends on how the corned beef was processed, if the processor originally soaked the meat in a salt water brine for days, the salt would have had time to penetrate to the interior, whereas if it was a quicker brine time, salt would have largely concentrated in the surface layers of the meat.

If I were to soak in plain water to remove excess salt, it might be worth trying it for a few hours, cutting off a small piece, cooking and tasting, to see what the saltiness at the surface is, where it would be greatest (at that point, diffusion would have pulled some salt out of the meat, but there wouldn't have been time for it to equalize) or conversely, to soak for several days, changing the water every 12 hours, to attempt to remove salt from the meat interior (or perhaps it might be more accurate to say to remove salt from the exterior layers, and the salt in the interior to replace some of the salt that used to be in the exterior layers).

Dilemma with choice for Pressure Cooker: Which is better "Instant Pot IP Duo" or "Cuisinart CPC-600" or something else?

They both have their good and bad points, it depends on what you're looking for. Now to address what you want:

1. Instant Pot (IP) has a stainless steel pot; Cuisinart (C) has a nonstick pot.

2. IP has a slow cooker function, C does not.

3. Both have two pressure cooker settings, low and high, roughly equivalent, though personally I think the Cuisinart reaches a slightly higher pressure (and therefore temperature) based on my hardboiled egg test.

4. You can get a glass lid for the IP, but not for the C, which doesn't have a slow cooker function. The C comes with a trivet, the IP with a trivet with handles (like the IP one with the handles better).

5. They're both pretty quiet when cooking, I don't really notice a difference in the amount of noise created, and neither of them is going to create a lot of noise - neither of them are jiggle top pressure cookers, there's none of that rattling and hissing, there's no need for that, the machine takes care of pressure all on its own.

6. You can't adjust the volume of the alarm. As to whether it would wake you up or not, that would depend on the proximity of the bedroom to the kitchen, but I would think a closed door would take care of that problem. However, I should say the Instant Pot has a delay timer, the Cuisinart does not. But that being said, were you planning on using the slow cooker to make rice, or the pressure cooker? If the PC, white rice takes 3 minutes under pressure, brown rice 10, and if its soaking in water part of the night, even less, and it might even get (1) mushy; or (2) absorb all the water before cooking. You may not need to program rice in advance, its only going to take about 15 minutes anyway, slightly longer for brown rice, its hardly worth setting up in advance, and with the "Keep Warm" function it might even get overcooked if you do it in advance.

7. The only third party warranty I've personally tried is Square Trade. What they do is if the machine breaks under warranty, you go through the manufacturer. If the manufacturer can't or won't replace the machine, or if it breaks outside of the warranty, then you go through SquareTrade. What I do is select the longest possible warranty period, then check the price. Under a $100, I think the warranty costs $10. If it costs $20 or $30 for the extra coverage, then I just pay for the $100 policy, and I'll pay the difference in the price of a machine if and when I ever make a claim. (By then, maybe the price will have dropped anyway.)

I believe Square Trade provides links so you can read all the fine print of their coverage, but there are several other third party insurers on Amazon alone who offer coverage, too, so check them out as well.

8. I doubt you'll find any manufactured in the states, unfortunately. I'd say the quality is roughly comparable. I think the pot is a bit better constructed on the Instant Pot, seems like the bottom is thicker, and I like the control panel better on the Cuisinart, but other than that, things seem roughly equivalent.

But from what you've said, its pretty clear to me that you want the Instant Pot, not the Cuisinart. But feel free to ask any follow up questions you want. ;D

Dilemma with choice for Pressure Cooker: Which is better "Instant Pot IP Duo" or "Cuisinart CPC-600" or something else?

Ymaz, oddly enough, I happen to own both the Cuisinart CPC-600 and an InstantPot IPDUO60, and I'd be happy to help you make up your mind which of the two you'd rather have. But the answer isn't clear cut. Each has strengths compared to the other, it all depends on what's most important to you. Do you have a preference for stainless steel or non-stick pot? Do you want a combination unit (with a slow cooker) or not? Is cost a factor? What are your preferences, priorities, questions?

BTW, as far as the warranties go, the Cuisinart is 3 year, the InstantPot is 1 year, but if I were you, I would purchase a third party warranty for a nominal fee, and that can get either machine up to 4 years under warranty.

Sep 26, 2014
ePressureCooker in Cookware
1

Electric pressure cooker with slow cooker, rice cooker, etc functions...

I'm very glad to hear that. I'm getting ready to post my preliminary review of that machine, and was wondering whether to wait.

Sep 22, 2014
ePressureCooker in Cookware

Electric pressure cooker with slow cooker, rice cooker, etc functions...

Ah I see, that makes more sense.

Amazon probably requires Instant Pot to give them the new stock first, before they fill their own orders, given their seemingly chronic stock issues. That's probably why Amazon had "stock" before the manufacturer shipped out their own backorders.

Sep 22, 2014
ePressureCooker in Cookware

Electric pressure cooker with slow cooker, rice cooker, etc functions...

Did they give you anything other than the slow cooker lid as part of that special deal?

If that's the case, I wouldn't buying one from their website, because you can buy the machine for $30 less through Amazon, and pay just $17 for the lid, if you want it, and then get free shipping.

Unfortunately, Amazon is out of stock as well. Instant Pot really needs to get their stock issues resolved. I've seen this happen multiple times this year. If they don't have it in stock, they're going to lose sales to other brands that ARE in stock.

Sep 22, 2014
ePressureCooker in Cookware

Electric pressure cooker with slow cooker, rice cooker, etc functions...

I actually bought the latest Instant Pot model since I added to this thread (the one with the slow cooker and the yogurt maker). I haven't tried out the slow cooker or the yogurt maker functions yet, only the pressure cooking related ones, but I can give you some idea.

I'll compare it with the Cuisinart CPC-600 I also own. I'd say it performs at a slightly lower pressure than the Cuisinart, I'd need to add an additional minute under pressure for hardboiled eggs, for example. In most instances, this wouldn't make much of a difference, it'd only be a factor for items that need precise cooking, like eggs. Its a little more complicated to use because of all the functions and buttons, but you get used to that fairly quickly. It does have a stainless steel pot, not a nonstick one, so I do think that will last longer in the long run. I do like the protection of the pressure release valve on the Cuisinart better, it has a false bottom that you attach the gasket to, which both makes removing and cleaning the gasket easier on the Cuisinart, it prevents foods with a lot of starch from getting up into the pressure release valve as much - with quick pressure release, I find much more starchy water coming out on the Instant Pot than on the Cuisinart. But there are ways of working around that, too, and the Instant Pot does have a small cover over the release to keep pieces of food from being sucked in.

Basically, I like the machine quite a bit, even though I think the Cuisinart may be slightly more powerful and I like the design slightly better. The Instant Pot has other advantages, the built in slow cooker, I'm planning on playing around with the temperature ranges that are available and potatoes, I think the pot will last longer, etc.

If you have any specific questions, fire away, I'll do my best to answer.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Wow. Thanks. I went back and checked my source and apparently they must have read the numbers in that study wrong and changed 170 degrees C into 170 degrees F. Last time I trust WiseGeek.

You're right boiling wouldn't reach the applicable temperatures, a pressure cooker maxes out at 250 degrees, the highest temperatures reached in cooking would be on a grill or by frying, most likely, and then it obviously would have much higher temperatures on the exterior surface and most likely nothing near that in the interior. But if the eggplant is anything like potatoes, On Food and Cooking says the majority of the solanine is concentrated in the top 1/16th of an inch under the potato skins.

So maybe with the right cooking method, and assuming that solanine is the cause of the bitterness, and that its concentrated under the skin's surface as it is with the potatoes, there could be some impact.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Hmmm...you don't happen to remember where you read that, did you? I got the 170 degree info from Wise Geek and I may have to revise a page on my blog...Thanks, if you happen to remember.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

No, that's true, I was thinking more in terms of whether the change in pH or the smoke flavoring would "mask" the tongue's ability to detect the bitter flavor - much like salt does - rather than actually removing the bitter flavor.

http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2...

But now that I think of it, if solanine is indeed the cause of the bitterness in eggplant, it breaks down at high temperatures (170 degrees) and since you hot smoked the eggplant, the temperatures would have easily exceeded those temperatures.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Interesting. I wouldn't have thought of eggplant in the pressure smoker, but that's very creative.

I wonder how the change in pH from the smoke may affect (or if it does) the general bitterness level of eggplant. Are the Japanese ones generally less acrid than the Italian eggplants?

Emson Pressure Smoker.

In case anyone wants to go for it, this guy is selling one he received as a gift for $90 on Craigslist:

http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/hs...

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Well, mine failed two days after the 30 day return period. I've been using it a TON in anticipation that if it was going to fail, it would fail quickly, so I'd been pushing it, using it multiple times a day. What happened with it wouldn't be applicable to you, though. I think the control panel / electrical wiring was faulty from the start, but at first I thought it was me.

Sometimes I'd set it and it wouldn't start smoking. Nothing. So I'd open it up and re-do everything and then it would start fine. I'm a very experienced pressure cooker user, so I knew I wasn't doing anything wrong as far as the gasket or the pressure valve or anything, and I'd been cleaning the air hole every five uses per the instruction manual, so I thought perhaps I wasn't putting the charring cup on the charring element properly. Then two days after the 30 day return period, it just stopped working. Nothing. No charring at all. It didn't start "hot smoking" either. Power was coming through but the unit just wasn't starting.

That's what I told them. I called them Monday morning (the 16th) and my replacement arrived this Wednesday (the 25th), but I'm all the way across the country from the company, so it probably took longer for me than it would for someone on the East Coast. Not bad at all.

If you like, you can tell them that someone on Chowhound who worked in the legal field for 20 years (that's me) told you that the cracked lid might be dangerous, and that it would be in their interest from a product liability perspective to have you send back the broken lid (thereby ensuring that its out of circulation, and cannot be used) and send you either a new lid or a new unit for free. Because it is. If you use the lid and hurt yourself or damage your kitchen, you could conceivably sue them, so they have every incentive to avoid the problem now, rather than deal with lawyers later. Giving you a new unit for free is a cheaper and easier than any of the alternatives.

Give them a chance. They may surprise you. I had a really good experience, despite seeing some complaints in the comments on Amazon re getting replacement parts.

And when you get the new one, consider paying for a third party extended warranty on it. I bought a Squaretrade 4 year warranty for mine, so once the manufacturer warranty expires, or if they didn't replace it for some reason, I still have the extended warranty. ;D

Emson Pressure Smoker.

I had the same issue as well. The "chips" in the little containers are either pellets or practically sawdust, so they're too small. Regular chips are fine, but many pieces are too big.

Don't try your kitchen shears - the wood is simply too hard. I'd recommend a good pair of heavy duty gardening shears, the ones meant to be used on twigs and small branches.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Well, is your unit less than two years old? They do have a 2 year warranty. This thread is less than 2 years old.

If they were going to charge you, I don't think they would be asking for the broken part back. They may want to see the break for manufacturing quality control purposes, or maybe they just want to get the broken part out of your hands and a new one into them to keep you from doing damage to yourself or your kitchen and then turning around and suing them.

Call them back. Ask specifically. If you want to be a little clever about it, tell them that you thought you were going to be charged for it, but you were talking on Chowhound, and some of the people there encouraged you to try again. (That will clue them in to your issue is out in public and that it would be good PR to give it to you for free, if they weren't already inclined to do so.) The worst they can say is "no".

But a damaged lid could be very, very dangerous.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Think of it this way - if they send you an entirely new unit, then you have replacement parts, spares, any time there's an issue. You've got built in back up. You've got an extra charring cup, an extra pot (could be VERY useful to have an extra pot if you want to do back to back jobs), an extra unit itself if the push pad control pad wears out over time.

This is a good thing - take them up on it!

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Oh nuraman, using a damaged lid sounds really dangerous. This is a pressure cooker, after all - something you don't want to mess with. I'd advise letting them replace it if I were you.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

Ah OK, gotcha.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

You left the wings on, too - I'm absolutely amazed they didn't fall apart after all that time under pressure (hot smoking).

The chicken would have been "sweeter" both because of the apple wood and because of the apple juice. Apple wood chips don't give as heavy a flavor as say hickory. The juice both because of the latter's sugars, but also as I have learned from my research, that sugars reduce the perception of tannins from the wood smoke (and the tannins are what build up in your mouth as you eat the smoked food and give you that over smoked taste).

But if you use hickory next time, I'd be really careful about increasing the smoking time any longer - remember its going to have a much stronger taste than apple wood chips do. Also, just generally speaking, I suspect with 15 minutes cold smoking and 30 minutes hot smoking, you've pretty much exhausted the life of your wood chips, and extending the times wouldn't add a lot more flavor unless you replenish the wood chips.

Emson Pressure Smoker.

You could, but personally, I haven't, and probably won't. The 5 quart model, which is what I have, is a little too small to make a decent sized soup or stew, and even if it wasn't, with that charring element sticking out into the pot, I'd be afraid of damaging it when stirring or prepping the ingredients. Admittedly, probably a remote possibility, but I don't think I'd want to risk it, especially given the small size.

I am planning on making a smoked chicken and wild rice soup, where I'm going to cold smoke the chicken in the pressure smoker. Then I'm going to finish cooking the chicken in my electric pressure cooker, and make the soup in that.

Smoked brisket... How to keep it moist?

To elaborate on what EarlyBird said, if you want to dry brine a large piece of meat like brisket, remember that salt diffuses through meat extremely slowly, so you'd want to allow at least 24 hours, and 48 hours is better, for the salt to penetrate all the way through the meat.

Alternatively, you could take EB's suggestion and inject the meat with beef broth.

Brining serves several purposes. First, by salting the whole meat, it tastes better. Second, the salt denatures some of the proteins, so it makes the roast softer and more tender. Third, the presence of the salt inside the roast aids in water retention, which helps make it moister.

What Kinds of Wood Chips Should I Buy/Use?

If you're still interested, the 5 quart model is on sale for $89 (limit 2 per customer) on Woot for a very limited time:

http://home.woot.com/offers/emson-5-q...

Emson Pressure Smoker.

If anyone out there wants to buy one of the 5 quart Emson pressure smokers, they're on sale for a very limited time for $89 (limit 2 per buyer) on Woot:

http://home.woot.com/offers/emson-5-q...

Emson Pressure Smoker.

The advice I have seen (from smoking tutorials for those big outdoor cold smokers) is to add containers of ice, so that's what I intend to do. I'll let you guys know how it works, and I'll also take some temperature readings, see how that pans out as well.