Sunday, April 13, 2008

[Shopping] Buying a pressure cooker

Mostly for my benefit, but maybe it'll help someone else.

Why a pressure cooker?

Easy - time. Cooks things much faster. Boiling point of water in a pressure cooker (at 15psi) is a mere 250 degrees. Which means you can boil things in 2/3rds the time. And some other impressive things - a 6-hour stock in an hour.

Rules for pressure cookers

  1. Don't low-ball the price. You're talking about something that will hold boiling liquids/food at pressure. As in bike-tire pressures. The last thing you want is for it to give - it can hurt you, maim you, and at the very least make a mess of the kitchen that will be Epic.
  2. Same goes for used. Be safe on something like this.
  3. If it feels cheap, it probably is. You want heft.
  4. You want Stainless Steel, not aluminum. Aluminum will pit and hold gunk within - not a happy thing.
  5. 3-layer bottoms. Makes it cook more evenly.
  6. Bigger is better, you need room for the steam to build pressure. Supposed 6 quarts is the magic number.
  7. Get a modified-first-gen (pressure valve) or second-gen (spring valve), not a "jiggle top".
  8. Expect to spend between $70 and $250.

Brands I've seen recommended: Fagor (budget pick), Kuhn Rikon ("mercedes of pressure cookers"), Magefesa, and WMF (brand used by Alton Brown, but man that's pricey).


My decision:
Either the Fagor or the Kuhn Rikon. Fagor's about $50 less, but I think either will be a good choice. The way I figure it, I cheaped out once on a different piece of cookware (a cast-iron skillet), and I might as well throw it out... tried seasoning it for years, and it still has yet to taste as good as the Lodge Logic we bought.

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