The Best Slow Cooker: Crock-Pot or Dutch Oven?

I confess: Until my girlfriend moved in last summer, I did not own a Crock-Pot. So ubiquitous is the electric slow cooker that for many home cooks, admitting you don’t use one is akin to saying you don’t own an oven. Oh, I had a Crock-Pot in a past life, but once left it at a game feed many years ago and never saw it again. Truth is, I don’t really miss it. You see, my slow cooker is my Dutch oven, which you see here simmering a batch of choucroute garnie.

Placed on a low burner on the stove top or in the oven set to a low temperature, my Dutch oven works just the same, if not better, than you typical Crock-Pot. Not only can I brown whatever meat I happen to be braising (which is what all slow-cookers are doing under that lid) right in the cast-iron pot, but can also deglaze the bottom to create a rich, meaty flavor not possible with a Crock-Pot’s ceramic insert. I also like my Lodge Dutch oven’s self-basting lid that features a few dozen points which condense moisture and drip it over the simmering meat.

I’ll concede, a Crock-Pot does have its advantages, primarily that a cook can set it and forget it, leaving it plugged in on the counter to simmer away all day. Other than not requiring supervision, which admittedly is a pretty big selling point, the Crock-Pot’s charm is lost on me. In fact, T. Rebel brought two of them with her when she moved in, but I don’t think either has been out of the basement since last June.

However, Crock-Pot devotees are nothing if not fervent, so I’m opening up the comment section to your proselytizing. Convince me that Crock-Pots are superior to Dutch ovens, if you think you can.