Whether you’re using it for game-day chili, pulled barbeque sandwiches or tasty fajita fillings, a Crock-Pot is often an essential ingredient for a day of tailgating. It keeps the party going by keeping your food hot and delicious while you hang out with family and friends.
Crock-Pots and other slow cookers offer an easy and convenient way to make delicious hot meals. Put the recipe’s ingredients into the Crock-Pot, turn it to the desired setting (based on when you’d like it to be ready) and let it do the cooking for you during a day or half-day. One pot, no-effort cooking and tasty results.
A Crock-Pot can help simplify your life for tailgating, camping and other events. You can cook stews, chili, soup, casseroles, pasta dishes or sandwich fillings and much more.
Aside from saving your time and effort, a Crock-Pot can keep your grocery dollars. Because of the multiple-hour slow-cooking process, lower-priced cuts of meat turn tender and moist in the Crock-Pot.
The two main types of crock-pots are manual and programmable, with express-cookers and multi-cookers as subcategories of the programmable type.
Manual Crock-Pots have an exterior metal holder with a heating element in the bottom, an interior heavy ceramic crock that holds your food, and a glass lid. The typical manual Crock-Pot has only four knob settings, including low, high, warm and off.
Programmable Crock-Pots offer an automatic timer that turns the appliance to the “warm” setting after the allotted cooking time. They also have digital touchpads that set time anywhere from 30 minutes to 20 hours.
Express-cookers are the newest version of programmable Crock-Pots, offering slow cooking and a faster pressure-cooking function to quickly cook different types of foods using different methods like browning, steaming, boiling and sautéing.
Multi-cookers include slow cooking, baking, roasting, browning and steaming functions.
A 4-quart manual model costs around $20, while a 6-quart Cook & Carry model runs around $40. Most programmable Crock-Pots cost $50-$80. An express-cooker often falls between $80 and $120, while a multi-cooker is around $100-$120.
Crock-Pots come in different sizes, so the right one for you depends on how many people you’re trying to feed. Five- to 6-quart slow cookers are the ideal size for a family of four or five. Seven-quart or larger Crock-Pots are big enough to provide for a crowd at a potluck or party.
Cook & Carry is a must-have feature for tailgating, potlucks or picnics. These models have tightly locking lids to prevent spills and carrying handles for easy transporting.
iStir is a smart feature that automatically stirs your food every half hour without lifting the lid and losing heat.
Lift & Serve is a hinged lid that lifts out of the way for easy serving right out of the Crock-Pot without having to find a spot to set the lid.
If you’re looking for a Crock-Pot that’s not too big and is perfect for a casserole, side dish or dessert, this 2.5-quart mini casserole model is a good bet. It has a locking lid for secure transport for tailgating. Its oval shape and white and blue ceramic design offer a pretty, retro style.
If you’d like to feed a small family of four at a tailgating or potluck, this 3.5-quart option is a great fit. This model’s wide base is perfect for whole chickens, roasts, lasagna and casseroles. It has a locking lid and comes in five color options.
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This 6-quart portable slow cooker serves seven or more people, with easy-to-carry handles and a lid-mounted locking system. It comes in eye-catching shiny red with smooth oval styling.
This system is brilliant for tailgating, providing a way to connect two or more Crock-Pots that plug into each other and only need one electrical outlet for all of them. It’s also great for families with different tastes or cooks who like providing variety with two different dishes. It comes in 1- to 3.5-quart sizes and sometimes comes in pairs, such as 5-quart and 2-quart.
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This Crock-Pot’s oval design easily ﬁts significant cuts of meat, like a whole rack of ribs or an entire pork roast, without having to stack them. It has 15 one-touch programs, combines nine appliances in one, and can feed seven or more people. This model also comes with a recipe book, steaming rack, gasket and serving spoon.
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This Crock-Pot set combines the extended size of an 8-quart slow cooker for larger groups with a compact food warmer perfect for dips and sauces. It includes soft carry handles and has a stainless steel exterior.
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This 10-quart stainless steel model is great for when you need to feed 13 or more people. It’s an excellent all-in-one appliance with 88% five-star ratings that lets you pressure cook, sterilize, slow cook, brown/sear, sauté, boil, simmer and steam. The easy release steam dial enables you to release pressure while keeping your hands safely away from hot steam.
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Jane VanVooren Rogers writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.