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Thread: Instant Pot, What a Machine

  1. #61
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    I'm still trying to make up my mind whether I should keep the 8 qt. Duo or return it and get the 6 qt. Ultra. I like the idea of being able to dial up my own temperature on the Ultra. In all likelihood I won't use it for sous vide, though I would like to experiment with that, but I'm actually more concerned about get an actual "low" temperature for slow cooking. I read somewhere online that the low setting for IP slow cooking is actually 190-200F. That doesn't strike me as all that low, particularly since "high" is only 20F higher than "low".

    So, on the plus side for the Duo is capacity. About 5-1/2 qt. for pressure cooking. The 6 qt. Ultra is limited to 4 qt. on pressure settings, and I think that might be an issue sometimes. On the minus side for the Duo is the rather high final temperature for slow cooking on "low".

    On the plus side for the Ultra would be the custom temperature control. Smaller capacity on the minus side.

    If I'm forced to ask an actual question here, I guess it would be this. Is the "low" setting on the IP slow cook mode more like medium-high like most other slow cookers these days or is it really going to work with slow cooker recipes that call for the low setting? Given the potential for temperature control on the IP I suppose they could crank the heat until the contents hit 140F, out of the "danger zone", and then back off on the heat to give a more gentle climb to a final ~195F , but I've found nothing that suggests they actually do this. If anybody can speak to the slow cooking capabilities of the IP I'd like to hear it.

  2. #62
    TVWBB Wizard LMichaels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Dennis View Post
    To continue (rather than start a new thread in a smoker forum ): I did 4 lb of spares today. Did the "meat" setting at 20 minutes. Let it sit on the "warm" setting for 50 minutes (sides weren't ready and I wanted to make sure the ribs were done).

    Well, they were fall-off-the-bone (not my first choice). Then some whiskey bbq sauce and under the broiler she goes. They were good BUT next time I'll do it for 15 min and try not to do the "warm" cycle.

    Four pounds of spares in 20 minutes! Priceless

    FYI.
    I do this also only I do them 10 minutes then put the rub on and some sauce and finish on the grill with smoke and roast them pretty good. You'd never know I didn't spend hours on the grill low and slow. I will admit though when I have time I would rather simply use the grill because I feel the other way is "cheating" lol

  3. #63
    TVWBB Emerald Member Len Dennis's Avatar
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    I can answer a couple of questions:

    Capacity of 6 qt Ultra: when I did the ribs yesterday, 4 lb of spares sitting on the trivet filled it almost to the 3/4 mark. There was no more room. I didn't want the ribs sitting in the liquid (even though I only used 1.25C of beef broth-can use water instead) It depends on how much water is required OR how much the product expands when cooked as to how much you can put in it. Lorraine and I eat a rack so this would make 4 servings. There is a lot of empty space in there as you curl the racks around the inside. If you put a beef roast in there (again, using the trivet), the meat is very solid (compared to emptiness around coiled racks). Easily fit a 5 (6?) lb roast in there, enough to feed 6-7-8 people.

    Temperature range (no personal experience yet) as you've indicated is 190 to 210 BUT that is for slow cookery procedures. There is an additional setting Keep Warm or Manual that allows the user to set what temperature/time they want. I've included a chart I found on a "reviewers" site that shows it can go down to at least 71F.
    Now, that's not from an "official" Instantpot web site. That's from his own observations. BUT I found that the official Instantpot web site actually references that chart .

    As of yet I do not have personal experience with these lower temps such as would be used with sous vide (although that's going to happen sooner than later). I am aware that with the sous vide procedure, not having a "circulator", the temps are +/- 5o . They now sell a circulator for the pot so that may be a non-issue now.

    I got that chart from a Smart pot review site. The only difference between the Smart and the Ultra is that the Smart is blue tooth. Otherwise, they are the same unit.

    Here is the review for the Ultra (same web site did reviews for both units but in separate articles):
    https://www.hippressurecooking.com/p...-multi-cooker/
    Last edited by Len Dennis; 01-07-2018 at 07:02 AM.
    So many recipes, so little time
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  4. #64
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    Thanks for the chart, Len. Unfortunately, it would seem that is intended more as a guide on what temps to use on your Ultra for various cooking activities, not an indication of the temperatures used in other models. For instance, there is no "Sous Vide" setting on the Duo, so all the sous vide followed by specific foods are not something you could select. Possibly it's a bit of a mixture of both as I see the temps here do coincide with what I found elsewhere for slow cooking. I've not yet unboxed my Duo but I have read the manual online and the only adjustment for "Warm" is how long it stays on. There is no way to dial up a specific temperature, which is what has me asking all these questions. If the Duo had that feature I'd have opened it two weeks ago.

    Thanks too for the capacity information. I'm still not decided but at least that gives me some real world guidance as to how much will actually fit.

    Slight interlude while I did some reading elsewhere... It would seem I may be barking up the wrong tree as far as using the IP as a slow cooker. It apparently works okay for some recipes, specifically those that start with sufficient fluid to act as a heat transfer agent, and not well at all for other recipes. The problem is the pot. In a conventional slow cooker the ceramic pot itself heats up and surrounds the food with heat. The bottom of the IP spreads heat well, but with no aluminum core up the sides of the pot it doesn't surround the food with equal heat. In pressure mode it uses steam to carry the heat throughout the pot. In slow cook mode there's no steam to speak of so the heat travels through contact with the bottom of the pot and whatever fluids might be in contact with the bottom of the pot. So slow cooking chili would probably work well. Slow cooking a port shoulder, not so much.

    So it would seem that even with the dial-your-own temperature control on the Ultra, the performance as a slow cooker is going to depend on what's being cooked. With that in mind, I'm leaning toward keeping the Duo since I already have it and the extra capacity may come in handy when I'm cooking for a crowd.

  5. #65
    TVWBB Emerald Member Len Dennis's Avatar
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    Terminology reigns supreme

    Slow cooker has the element on the bottom. Crock pot has the element on the bottom AND the sides. Thanks for getting me thinking about "what's the difference " .
    So many recipes, so little time
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  6. #66
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    I've been watching this thread with some interest. I've been considering an Instant Pot for some time, and the Ultra model has been under my consideration. Everybody I've talked that has one just loves it (including the woman I work with from southern China who does use it to cook rice.)

    Until tonight.

    I've already got a sous vide heater/controller, and I'm making ribeye steaks for 3 tonight for dinner. With the steaks I have, I'm not sure I could get them in a 6 qt vessel with decent circulation. And last Labor Day, I made steaks for twice that in a picnic cooler (and could have made more.) This sous vide heater worked just fine for all of these, and there's at least one case where an Instant Pot running sous vide just won't do it.

    I'm still considering an IP, but more likely an 8 qt non-Ultra (probably a Duo.) Just more to think about.

  7. #67
    TVWBB Emerald Member Len Dennis's Avatar
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    There is no circulation with the ultra, unless you get the SV800 Circulator BUT at $120 CDN, it's more than I paid for the pot. Not likely With just us 2 it's worth a try (one time anyways).
    Last edited by Len Dennis; 01-07-2018 at 06:32 PM.
    So many recipes, so little time
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  8. #68
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    At $120 CDN..... I think I'll stick with my $65 US circulating sous vide that'll work with a wide range of containers.

    With an Ultra IP, and what I'd hope/assume are heating elements all the way around the vessel, circulation may not be as important.

  9. #69
    TVWBB Emerald Member Len Dennis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKalchik View Post
    With an Ultra IP, and what I'd hope/assume are heating elements all the way around the vessel, circulation may not be as important.
    Appears it may only be on the bottom
    So many recipes, so little time
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  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKalchik View Post
    With an Ultra IP, and what I'd hope/assume are heating elements all the way around the vessel, circulation may not be as important.
    The heating element is definitely only on the bottom. It appears to cover most of the bottom of the pot. The pot has an aluminum disc covering the bottom. Between the large heating element and the heat spreader on the bottom of the pot, heat should be applied very evenly across the bottom of the pot, but only on the bottom of the pot. The aluminum does not extend up the sides of the pot. There's just stainless steel there, and it's not a good heat conductor. This one one of the few complaints I've read about the IP. All the heat comes through the bottom of the pot. Things with heavy, sweet sauces have a tendency to burn to the bottom. Apparently pasta sauce can be an issue if cooked for a long time without stirring.

    I'm thinking I'm going to keep the 8 qt. Duo and maybe initiate it tomorrow. I have a pork chili recipe I'd like to try to do using the pressure cooker.

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