Rival Versaware Crock Pot 5 Quart

Previously, I presented Infobarrel readers with my thoughts and feedback on the Rival Crock Pot BBQ Pit , a rather innovative indoor barbecuing appliance. However, of the more recent advances or developments that we have seen with the Rival Crock Pot brand of slow cookers, one of the most innovative would have to be the line of Versaware Crock Pot slow cooker models that the company has come out with. Arguably the most stylish of these releases would have to be the Rival 5 Quart Versaware Crock Pot slow cooker model. Indeed, the attractive or even unusual design has contributed to its growing popularity. When a kitchen appliance is repeatedly sold out on Amazon dot com, you know it is in demand. Unlike other Crock Pots with a heavier stoneware liner, the Versaware benefits from having a lightweight stoneware liner made of Extreme Temperature Cookware(or ETC for short), and also known as Versaware, hence the name of this line of slow cookers. The versaware's liner means that it is extremely versatile: it can be bused in a variety of cooking and storage environments, including on the stovetop, under the broiler, in the oven as well as in your microwave. The lid of the 5 quart pot is also made of ETC which means that you can also store your versaware's crock in then fridge or freezer as well as use it for baking some covered dishes in the oven. The Rival company has been marketing this appliance's versatility to be sure, suggesting that the whole cooking and storage cycle of one meal can be carried out within the Versaware: "Sauté, Cook, Serve, Store and Reheat all in one pot!"

The Versaware Crock Pot is undoubtedly a novel way of preparing your slow cooked meals and obviously offers the consumer some versatility in how they prepare their foods with the appliance, however it looks like while the appliance hits the mark in some ways, in others, the versaware slow cooker is somewhat lacking or disapointing.

On top of the stove, the removed versaware crock insert meets an acceptable level of performance provided no intense heat is used for any prolonged duration; in the microwave the insert also performs adequately. Atop a diningroom hotplate the insert also performs admirably. The crock's 5 quart size is a nice one, seeing as how you are able to fit an average sized roast into it without having to cut it up beforehand and it also can handle an entire 4lb. chicken without any difficulty. The design of the insert crock is unusual yet easily accessible; the insert rests in a cradle-like fashion atop the main unit and both the crock and the main unit have loop-like handles that make lifting very easy. The spider-like design of the metal legs that support the crock pot are very unusual and a step away from conventional design. The powercord for the unit is removable from the unit itself which makes storage much easier and means that you can put the crock pot out for serving without having to deal with a cord getting in the way.

The unit gives you a choice of high and low cook settings; On the high setting, the meals seem to cook in half of the time needed for the low setting. There is also a 'keep warm' setting for after the meal is cooked. The settings are all chosen by adjusting a single knob which is convenient. The unit is capable of preparing a wide range of meals such as soups, stews, roasts and more, with many ideas being available in the 79 page recipe booklet that is included with the unit. Your meats can be braised as necessary at the outset of a recipe on the stovetop, and any casseroles can be browned below the broiler just prior to serving them out to guests. The standard or basic Versaware Crock Pot unit has been selling for around the $60 range recently, but for another $20 you can probably find the upgraded automatic version of the unit which has a 'maintain warm' feature that is automatically activated when the built in timer has completed its countdown. The Versaware's removable crock-liner insert and the lid are both dishwasher safe, which is nice since the insert - while being relatively 'lightweight' in comparison to other crock pots, is still heavy enough to make washing it thuroughly in the sink a bit of a challenge.

I mentioned before that there were some shortcomings with the unit; they are few but definitely worthy of mention here. The promotional materials claim that saute is an option when you use the Versaware insert on the stove top, however the insert is not really safely usable without scorching the liner at stovetop temperatures necessary to successfully saute anything. Boiling is also not a certainty with the insert on the stove top - at least on an electric stove top which is more prone to burning of the liner/insert. The other drawback of the unit which will be more significant to some potential users more than others, is the fact that the insert is coated with a metallic coating which appears to be easily marred or scratched by any rough or forceful use of metal utensils within the insert while cooking or with any metallic scouring pad during clean up.

True the limitations of the Rival Versaware unit could be potentially frustrating to some home gourmands, however for a majority of potential users of the Versaware Crock Pot the culinary options offered up by its innovative design should far outweigh its limitations. If this is a sign of the direction that Rival wants to take with its future Crock Pot releases, the standard slow cooker could be in for some serious changes.