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Old 03-28-2017, 01:39 PM   #1
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Is the InstaPot worth it?

My wife wants one and there are 1000s of reviews. But, isn't it really just another kitchen gadget that takes up space? At home, we use a crock pot several times a month, but use our oven or stove top the vast majority of the time. Camping, we use the oven or the grill the vast majority of the time.
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Old 03-28-2017, 02:13 PM   #2
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We have one, and when we go full time next month, it'll go with us. We use it just about every day for soups, broth, and so much more. My wife would be thrilled to have another one.
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Old 03-28-2017, 02:20 PM   #3
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I don't remember the brand but we have used a pressure cooker a few times and have one of those dedicated appliances like that. Like a lot of things, it takes up a lot of space and I can't remember the last time we used it recently.

Lately the appliance we have used the most is a Sous Vide cooker For camping I wouldn't recommend the Joule that we have because of the Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity. I would recommend one of the others like an Anova which is standalone.

For us the reason we use it more than the pressure cooker is that we are busy. So on the weekend we buy meat which I season, package with the food saver and freeze. Then when I get home around 4:30 I grab something out of the freezer, fire up the Joule and throw the meat in the water. A little later my wife gets home from work and we usually head off to the gym. Once we get home I pull the meat out of the packaging and sear it in a hot pan or on the IR burner on the grill while my wife is throwing together a salad and some veggies and we are eating in 10 min from getting home. The great thing about this is if we are at the Gym for 30 min or 1.5 hrs it doesn't matter. Once the food is done it will hold for a few hours and can't over cook and get dried out. You can eat whenever you are ready.

The problem with the pressure cooker for us was that while it is true it cooks fast, it was how long it takes to get heated up and build pressure. Also when it is done it is done, you can't hold the food for hours until you are ready to eat. That is where Sous Vide is great because on a busy weekend it is easier to shoot for eating somewhere between 4PM and 6PM vs I need to be home at 4:45 to get the meal out of the pressure cooker. Also I have no concerns about cooking unattended with the Joule because with the wifi connection I have remote monitoring with my cell phone and can keep an eye on the process. Also the cooking temps are much lower. Some people are concerned that your chicken doesn't hit 160F or Pork 145F but the slower sustained heat over a longer period actually does a better job of killing bad bugs than cooking at higher heat.

You don't have to use food saver systems with this. I have used zip lock bags. But I have found seasoning the meat vacuum packing it and leaving it in the fridge like that for a day then freezing really lets the meat pick up great flavors.
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Old 03-28-2017, 02:27 PM   #4
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Lately the appliance we have used the most is a Sous Vide cooker .
If you haven't seen it, you should watch the movie "Burnt" with Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller. The sous vide plays prominently in that movie.
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Old 03-28-2017, 02:35 PM   #5
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The problem with the pressure cooker for us was that while it is true it cooks fast, it was how long it takes to get heated up and build pressure. Also when it is done it is done, you can't hold the food for hours until you are ready to eat. That is where Sous Vide is great because on a busy weekend it is easier to shoot for eating somewhere between 4PM and 6PM vs I need to be home at 4:45 to get the meal out of the pressure cooker.
The Instant Pot can be set to cook for a certain period, then it will go to a warm setting and slowly vent the pressure so it stops cooking but keeps food hot, so it can be left alone also.
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Old 03-28-2017, 02:41 PM   #6
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Haven't seen that movie. Might have to check it out.

I do know that this cooking method has been used in the restaurant industry for a while. Of course they don't use these small stick heater cookers like what I have. For instance it is a great way for a steak house to bring out several steaks all cooked to the perfect amount at the same time event though some may be rare and others well done. You cook by temp and time but the time is drawn way out. The problem with it is I like my steak med rare and my wife well done. My Med Rare should be 129F where her's is 147F. It its in the water (vacuum packed) so once it heats all the way through to that temp it is done whenever. This is why I am considering getting a second cooker. Probably a Anova this time around so I can bring one in the camper. Because it stays so juicy I we have been compromising at 140F for now. Then when finishing them I leave hers in the pan or on the grill a bit longer. Where mine just sits there for a couple seconds.
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Old 03-28-2017, 05:03 PM   #7
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I bought one last fall and took it with us on 2 trips. If you want something fast and good it definitely is up to the reviews. Pot roasts, stews, chicken, or pork all come out well in it and within 1hr.

It's a bigger unit to drag around and I use it a lot at home. The 10 hr warming function is great for when you want to go out for the day and return to a home cooked meal.

We gave one for a gift we picked up black friday this past year for $69.00. The bluetooth one might be a stretch IMHO.
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Old 03-28-2017, 05:29 PM   #8
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We got an Instant Pot about a year ago.
I use it at home for dinner 2-3 times a week, and I make all my lunch-soups in it.

It will probably go with us on any extended RV trips. When we "camp", we cook outside on the fire quite a bit, or might take a grill with us if we're in a big group of people, so it might not get used much then, but if we're doing a lot of one-night stays, it can be cooking while we're setting up camp, which is a big help.

The best part of the Instant Pot, is that it cooks unsupervised. Prep the ingredients, throw stuff in in the pot, stir... lock lid, set time and walk away. No need to adjust the temperature or stir during cooking (you can't). Once it's done, it reverts to "keep warm" and will sit there for hours until you're ready to crack it open and serve up the meal.

The other selling point for us, was that it is a rice cooker, slow cooker, pressure cooker, and "hot pot/electric skillet" (saute) - all in one.

Oh, and it makes the best easy-to-peel "boiled" eggs!
I'm happy that we have one!
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Old 03-29-2017, 07:27 AM   #9
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Lately the appliance we have used the most is a Sous Vide cooker For camping I wouldn't recommend the Joule that we have because of the Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity. I would recommend one of the others like an Anova which is standalone.
Wow.. I just watched the video on Amazon. I've never heard of such a thing.
It looks pretty good.
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Old 03-29-2017, 07:33 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by WyEm View Post
My wife wants one and there are 1000s of reviews. But, isn't it really just another kitchen gadget that takes up space? At home, we use a crock pot several times a month, but use our oven or stove top the vast majority of the time. Camping, we use the oven or the grill the vast majority of the time.
We don't camp without ours. There are so many great recipes you can make in a short amount of time. It can work as a slow cooker, pressure cooker or rice cooker.

Well worth the expense.
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Old 03-29-2017, 07:56 AM   #11
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Wow.. I just watched the video on Amazon. I've never heard of such a thing.
It looks pretty good.
Not to hijack this thread but they are really nice if you are really busy. Because of our and our kids schedules it was tough to go to the Gym as neither of us like working out on a full stomach but if we try and work out before eating, then come home and start dinner, well then we wouldn't eat until 8-9PM. So for a while we would go work out and then grab some food on the way home. Well that defeats the reasoning for going to the Gym and is expensive. This method is actually faster because it is cooking while we are gone and you can eat whenever since it holds the process for so long. One complaint is that the meat comes out kind of looking grey but that is before you finish it on the grill or in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil. My wife never liked pork because it was always dry, this stuff is really moist and really good.

The Joule is made by Chef Steps and it is nice but I wouldn't take it camping. Their website is pretty good and I enjoy their videos. It is nice and compact but there is no interface to it without WIFI. I really like their guides which can be used with any cooker. I mainly went with the Chef Steps one because I wanted remote monitoring. If I wanted I could put a pot of water on the stove (not turned on) then put the Joule in it and power it on but not tell it to heat. Then before leaving work, I can log into the app and tell it what I want to cook so the water is preheated by the time I get home. That does take a bit. I speed up the process by putting hot water in the pot if I start it after I get home.

The biggest drawback is you kind of need more of them if you have people that want meat cooked to different levels. That is fine with Chicken and Pork with us but an issue with Steak. The Joule is spendy and I want to say that the App can only control one device. That may have changed or at least they have been talking about changing that with a future app update. This is why I would get a Anova for a second one if I was buying one now. It is highly rated and can be run manually without any internet connection. So it would make a good option for camping but it is a bit bigger than the Joule and the heating element isn't as powerful.

The process of cooking this way has been around for a long time. There are other neat things you can do with it as well like yogurt or pasteurizing eggs if you had a use for "raw" eggs and were concerned about contamination. I really like the 75C Poached Egg. Take a few eggs in 75C water for 13 minutes. I think they are wonderful on a bit of toast with some butter and salt/pepper. My wife calls them slimy eggs and gags as I slurp them down.

There are also some recipes that cook a really long time. Like over a day. I have seen where you have to watch the water level but some people put the cooker in a cooler rather than a pot then use ping pong balls for a layer of insulation on the top. Chef Steps has an indoor brisket I wanted to try that sounds really good. I have a smoker but it might be fun in the winter when it is harder to run the real smoker.

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Old 03-29-2017, 08:25 AM   #12
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My wife loves ours, uses it almost every day. She wants to take it with us while camping, and I agree it would be great. But since she bought it we have only gone dry camping. We are thinking of getting a small stove-top pressure cooker for when we dry camping so she can cook the same recipes. Next time we go somewhere with hookups though it is definitely coming along!
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:30 AM   #13
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We just got a Instantpot and we love it! Its fast and it makes food taste really good. Everyone here that has one sums it up. You won't regret it.
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Old 04-06-2017, 12:52 PM   #14
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My daughter talked me into getting one after this past Christmas. I have done about 3 pot roast in it and have been really pleased with. Look forward to taking it camping this spring and summer.
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Old 09-14-2020, 05:28 AM   #15
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We have just acquired an Instant Pot, and one of the concerns was its bulk.
We have a smaller hybrid, so storage space - and weight - are at a premium.

However, we realised that it can replace the slow cooker that we used previously, so we were able to stick to our policy of "put something aboard, take something off"

We're now at the stage of compiling recipes, some of which look delicious :-)
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Old 09-14-2020, 05:58 AM   #16
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We ditched the crock pot in favor of the instant pot - have one at home and in the RV. It's our "go to" cooker.
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Old 09-14-2020, 06:41 AM   #17
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Insta Pot is great we start generator put what we want in pot set it in the sink for safety and let it do its thing while we drive When we get to our spot dinner is ready
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