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Stock Pot Followup

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I want to get an 8 quart stock pot and I've heard conflicting things from different source about whether, for a stock pot, it's important to get a high quality one or not.

I'm not sure what a higher quality one does that's different that a less expensive one. Does it conduct heat better, maybe not so much of the energy going to heat up the kitchen?
post #2 of 13
The main thing a high quality stock pot will do is last. The cheap ones pick up dings and dents easily which often leads to an uneven bottom.

A good heavy bottom is useful for sauteing in the pot before adding liquids as many soup recipes call for. Also good for browning meat for a braise. Besides the even heating for those purposes, I think a heavy bottom helps you achieve the proper simmer too.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 13
No single, one good answer, it all depends.

If you want to use the pot ONLY for stocks it would make financial sense to get a cheaper, single guage aluminum one. A stock pot is never used to saute, and usually never has acidic ingredients or cream based liquids in it. With that being said, plain, untreated Almumimum pots with simple bottoms are notorious for warping under high heat, pit easily, react badly to salts and acids and stain any cream based or white liquids. The handles usualy work themselves loose and the rivets leak too. In many Commercial restaurants there is a specialy reserved stock pot for this purpose and it is usually aluminum.


However, an 8 qt pot comes in very handy in a prviate kitchen for many other purposes, so I would suggest spending the extra coin on a decent s/s pot with a sandwich bottom and use it for whatever comes your way without suffering the negative aspects of an aluminum pot
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #4 of 13
Everything Phatch and Foodpump said.

Plus:

If you don't have a four-way "spaghetti" set with a large strainer, a steamer basket and a heavy (probably glass) lid -- you should. You will use this pot every time you cook pasta, for two layer steaming, for cooking a lot of chili, etc. Buying something more versatile argues for buying decent quality.

Foodpump hit the nail on the head when talking about a sandwich bottom. There are plenty of "good quality" choices below the All-Clad/Tri-Ply level. You don't have to spend top dollar for a good quality pot -- and you certainly don't need multiple layers all the way up the pot walls. One is a good number, even if it's the loneliest number you'll ever do.

FWIW, kitchens that make a LOT of stock FREQUENTLY, typically use inexpensive aluminum; because it's light, and cheap to replace when (even heavy) pots inevitably ding. ( That's not advice, Novice, it's just a general knowledge fill-in.) While I think an aluminum saute pan has its place in a budget-conscious home kitchen, too light a stock pot is a false economy. I have two myself. One is a good, 10 qt "four way" with a sandwich bottom, and the other a big old 4 gal, inexpensive stainless.

BDL
post #5 of 13
Yesterday at the local BB&B, this pot caughtmy attention. For the money it seems like it may be a good choice. I believe I saw one on-line store selling it for $59.00 ... FWIW, I may get one mainly for pasta use and some light stock and soup work.

Emerilware™ Stainless Stock Pot, Tall 8 Qt

8 Quart Emerilware Stainless Tall Stock Pot w/ Lid - $59.00

8951 Stockpot Choices
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the point about the four-way set; last night, while at a couple stores, I saw some that came that way.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'll take a look. There's a BBB about a mile from me.
post #8 of 13
>If you don't have a four-way "spaghetti" set with a large strainer, a steamer basket and a heavy (probably glass) lid -- you should. <

Absolutely! That sort of rig is one of the most useful pots you can have.

However, double check how far down the large strainer goes. Many of them are set too high, and, as a result, you have to fill the pot with too much water just to have enough room for the pasta to cook. The strainer should reach almost to the bottom---yet some of them are as much as two inches up.

Don't hesitate to take a tape measure when you go shopping, and actually measure the two depths.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #9 of 13
Absolutely! Further on that point, I found a Calphalon pot that had a strainer that went down almost to the bottom, ordered it, and when the pot arrived noticed that the strainer didn't go as far down as the store sample - seems like there was a design change - Feh!
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
So a cheaper pot - maybe even one that is not sandwiched on the bottom - won't do a worse job of making stock - it just won't last as long?
post #11 of 13
A cheaper pot as you describe is a poor choice. Heating may be uneven, hot spots may cause food to stick or burn, imparting off flavors to the stock or soup, making cleanup a PITA, and cheap pots may not sit flat, or wobble, and more. There was a thread on Chowhound in which a couple of people described their dissatisfaction with a cheap pot purchased from Macy's. Cheap pots can do a lousy job. Now, a point of clarification: by cheap I don't mean inexpensive. You can get good pots that are inexpensive.
post #12 of 13
Personally, I think an 8qt stock pot is too small. I wouldn't consider anything smaller than 12 qt. With meat parts and the veggies, you still want ample room for the liquid, and bear in mind the stated capacity of the pot is 'to the brim', but you would actually have the contents only to within an inch or two of the top. Because it's a time & energy consuming process, when I make stock, I make lots of stock to have it on hand in the freezer.
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #13 of 13
[quote=KYHeirloomer;243215 However, double check how far down the large strainer goes. Many of them are set too high, and, as a result, you have to fill the pot with too much water just to have enough room for the pasta to cook. The strainer should reach almost to the bottom---yet some of them are as much as two inches up.
[/quote]

I agree completely. I have a four way set like that. Takes forever for water to boil, otherwise I am happy with it, though.

The four-way set is also handy for making stocks. Put all the meats and vegetables in the strainer portion, and when you are done simmering you can just lift the strainer and take out all the spent meat, bones, veggies and so on.
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