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Smithy

Comparing the IP (Instant Pot) Ultra 60 to the IP Duo 60

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Posted (edited)

Whee! Look what turned up at my house!

 

20190806_191431.jpg

 

20190807_215907.jpg

 

This is my opportunity to evaluate the Instant Pot Ultra 60  and compare it to the Instant Pot IP Duo-60 that I already have. Where the IP Duo-60 has plenty of functions, the Ultra has more functions AND that control knob that promises finer control of temperature. Maybe it fine-tunes other parameters as well, but I've been especially interested in temperature. DH and I have been pining for a slow cooker that offers a better temperature setpoint than "low" and "high" or "low", "medium" and "high". Will this be it?

 

A couple of extras -- lagniappes, as folks in some parts of the USA would say -- were included. We have all read about the tendency of the gaskets to pick up off-odors from, er, assertive ingredients such as garlic or onion, and the need for extra gaskets so that sweets aren't contaminated with off-odors. The other lagniappe is a pair of nesting steamer baskets. One fits inside the other so it can be added or removed at will. It's a perfect arrangement for cases where two ingredients need different steaming times. I'm all ears for suggestions.


Edited by Smithy Clarified "IP 60" to "IP Duo-60" (log)
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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Posted (edited)

Right out of the box, there's a difference between the IP Duo-60 and the IP Ultra 60: the pressure control and relief valves. The system is more automatic than before. There's a warning tag with a tie around the relief valve; it's difficult to miss.

 

20190807_220154.jpg

 

I decided to try the pressure-cooking mode first. It really is a set-and-forget mode. I've been working lately with equipment that requires pushing a knob, turning it for a different mode, pressing it again (and so on) so I had no trouble with the controls. There are instructions for those who don't find it as easy, but I'll be happy to provide more detail for those interested.

 

Maybe it's just because I like progress reports (although I hated them when required to give them to my bosses) but I really like the screen that shows the status of the program. It's bright and easy to read: what mode, how far along, and what's happening inside? At this point, the pressure was building. The timer had not started, and would not start until the pressure had reached the "high" point. Note the difference in the graph between the right and left photos.

 

20190807_220655-1.jpg

 

The bottom snap in this collage shows that the pressure "button" had closed and pressure was on the rise.

 

20190807_220415.jpg

 

After the pressure reached the set point, the timer began. 

 

20190807_220448.jpg

 

...and because I wandered away to do other household chores, it kept track as the temperature and pressure dropped after the cooking time had elapsed. In this photo, it was done cooking and had switched to the "keep warm" cycle as the temperature and pressure dropped.

 

20190807_223646.jpg

 

I don't have photos of the steam release, because I don't have enough hands, but I will say that after allowing the pot to sit for 20 minutes on natural release it was as uneventful as with my IP Duo-60...and it was easier, because I simply had to push a button down instead of twisting a valve. I still took the precaution of covering the vents with a towel.

 

The last test I did tonight - and, alas, the last test I'm likely to do for a couple of days - was to see what this IP Ultra 60 thinks it can do for temperature control in slow cooker mode.

 

20190807_224052.jpg

 

If it can really accomplish this range of temperatures, it will be a marvel. Tests to come in a day or three.

 

Tests of the other functions need to come along too. What would y'all like to see? The idea is to put my IP Duo-60 and this IP Ultra60 alongside each other and compare their performance. I have enough kitchen circuitry for this feat. The electrician who wired this kitchen would be proud. :) 

 

 


Edited by Smithy Clarified "IP 60" to "IP Duo-60" (log)
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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Nice

 

I dont understand the difference between just the line-graph and the line-graph w the bars underneath it

 

did you do something to get the bar graphs ?  and what do they add to the information ?

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12 minutes ago, rotuts said:

Nice

 

I dont understand the difference between just the line-graph and the line-graph w the bars underneath it

 

did you do something to get the bar graphs ?  and what do they add to the information ?

 

The line shows the program for that phase ("Preheating" in the top paired set of photos) and the bar graph shows how far along it actually is for that phase. In this case the phases were "Preheating," "Cooking" and "Keep Warm". The phase is named in the lower right of the screen. 

 

The graphs came up on their own without my asking. I think it will be nice for monitoring progress / status of a program, but whether it will be of use other than satisfying my curiosity remains to be seen.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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About 45 minutes ago I set it to cook at 104F. It's an hour into the 4-hour program and has slowly been climbing from 100F to 103F. I began with 76F water, up to the "max pressure cooker" line.

 

20190808_074821.jpg

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Here's a manual excerpt showing the different operating modes and range of parameters that can be controlled for each.

 

20190808_081156.jpg

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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According to my thermometer, it took about an hour for the water to actually reach 104F, although it rose to 100F from the initial 76F in about a half hour. Since the two-hour mark it's been hovering around 105F. I've seen it down to 104.x (can't remember) and up to 105.7. If I find a datalogger around here - or even a min/max recording thermometer (I think I have one) I'll be interested to see what the temperature swings are. At this temperature it's plenty good for a slow-cook; this isn't a precision circulator. It certainly holds a much lower temperature than the IP Duo 60!

 

I won't be able to do much, if any, more with this today. Feel free to post questions or suggestions on what you'd like to see. Tomorrow or this weekend I'll be doing some side-by-side comparisons with the Duo. We may use this as a slow cooker for meat tomorrow.

 

(Actually, I just told it to crank the temperature up to 150F. If I learn anything before I leave for work I'll post about it here.)

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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In 20 minutes, the temperature has risen from 105F to 131F and it's still climbing. I can hear a relay clicking on and off. The bar graph hasn't changed in response to the temperature change, so it appears that the image is simply a graphical representation of the phases involved and the progress through the phase in question. 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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based on your observations above

 

its possible that the initial graph-line  shows you what the program is going to do

 

and the bar-graph shows you the progress for that program.

 

a nice feature

 

but probably neither is a reflection of measured tempature inside the pot ?

 

still nice to know when one wonders what's going on and an approximation until the end of the program.

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47 minutes ago, rotuts said:

based on your observations above

 

its possible that the initial graph-line  shows you what the program is going to do

 

and the bar-graph shows you the progress for that program.

 

a nice feature

 

but probably neither is a reflection of measured tempature inside the pot ?

 

still nice to know when one wonders what's going on and an approximation until the end of the program.

 

Yes, I think that's exactly right. This weekend I may get around to opening the manual to see what they have to say about it. :) 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Just now, Smithy said:

 

Yes, I think that's exactly right. This weekend I may get around to opening the manual to see what they have to say about it. :) 

 

...always a last resort, of course... :P

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"The only questions that really matter are the ones you ask yourself."

Ursula K. Le Guin

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

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I'm very interested in the results of this test. I've been putting off getting one until these features were included . . . :wink:

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Today I'm beginning the comparison between the IP Duo-60 and the IP Ultra-60.  I already talked about the difference in lids and venting systems, but here's a picture for comparison's sake. The Ultra's lid is on the left. If someone wants a better picture so they can read the printing, let me know.

 

20190809_095620.jpg

 

The Duo's Steam Release Valve has to be manually turned to "venting" or "sealing" as the use dictates. The Ultra's Steam Release Valve automatically closes when the lid is locked onto the pot. The small button on the right changes the state of that valve: Press it in to release steam; turn it to seal the vent again. I think it's probably safer because you aren't touching the Release Valve (vent) itself, although with only a 2-inch separation between them I'm not sure it matters much.

 

Both came with the rice paddle, scoop, measuring cup and steaming rack. There's a minor difference in racks. (Ultra is on the left.)

 

20190809_095206.jpg

 

Here's the first huge difference, the one that I hoped would be true with the Custom settings:

 

20190809_095053.jpg

 

The Ultra has been holding a fairly steady 152F since it reached temperature, about an hour after I started it. Based on two temperature setpoint, it seems to have a 2F offset. I can't get too fussed about that: if it's important, I can lower the setpoint by 2 degrees. The Duo is heating water at its "low" cook setting, and an hour after starting it's at 185F. I don't know whether that will be the final point. It was still climbing when I took this picture.

 

Both cookers start the timers for the slow-cooking mode when they begin, not when they reach temperature. If I were the programmer for the Ultra, I think I'd have set it so the timer began when the "Cook" phase began, but that's a small quibble. One delightful aspect of the Ultra is that it remembers preferences. Yesterday when I started it in the SlowCook mode it began with its default of one of the classic modes. (I don't remember whether it was Low, Medium or High.) Today when I plugged it in it defaulted to SlowCook, Custom, 104F.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Here's the first unintended consequence / unexpected result. I left the IP's alone to do their thing, and came back an hour after the Ultra had beeped loudly to announce that its program had ended. (The sound can be turned off or on.)

 

20190809_120047.jpg

 

Surprise! The "Keep Warm" function was warmer than my setpoint! The manual (yes, I did open it today :P) says the "Keep Warm" function runs from 145 - 172F. If I had been intent on having something cook at 150F, I'd have been disappointed to see what happened afterward.

 

The "Keep Warm" function can be turned off or on, but it appears that the temperature set point can't be changed.

 

Incidentally, I've been reporting everything in degrees F, but the unit also works in degrees C. The altitude setting works in feet or meters.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I've been looking at the altitude setting. This pot will automatically add time for altitude adjustments. I don't know more about the algorithm and am unlikely to explore it much, unless we take this on the road to a higher elevation than where we live now.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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My DH is firmly in the "set it and forget it" school of cookery. If it takes more than 2 steps or 3 ingredients, he won't cook it although he'll usually love it if someone else takes the trouble. When we first met, one of his favorite dinners was country-style ribs, stuffed into a Crock Pot, smothered with barbecue sauce, and cooked on low for 8 - 12 hours. In the meantime he went to work, came home, went for an afternoon run, had a nap, had some pre-dinner beer, or did whatever else he pleased until dinner time. Anything, except mess with the food. That was over 20 years ago. We brought identical Crock Pots to the marriage, right down to the color: the 3-quart model with the heat wiring embedded in the ceramic liner, the kind you couldn't immerse in water because the liner wouldn't come out. I thought mine a pain to clean and didn't use it much. He loved his and used it for the kind of cooking that fit his lifestyle. I gave mine away when we combined households. He gave his to his daughter when we got a 6-qt pot with a removable liner as a wedding present. 

 

Country-style ribs haven't been the same since. They tend to come out overcooked in the large Crock Pot. I bought a smaller unit for our trailer. They overcooked in that one. His daughter has since cleared out her collection of Crock Pots in a move, so his was beyond retrieval. I bought another 3-quart, liner-can't-be-removed model at a garage sale. I think it's the same model (except for the color) that we each had; he doesn't; after 22 years it's difficult to prove. Either way, it runs too hot and overcooks the ribs.

 

We know that the pork itself has changed in the intervening time because most pork is leaner than it used to be. Is our trouble due to the meat, or the cooking equipment? We haven't known. We've tried low temps, shorter time periods, power controllers...and he has continued to be disappointed. Still, we have persisted.

 

Today, we're trying out the IP Ultra for this purpose. Unfortunately we don't know what temperature corresponds to those long-gone original pots. Perusal of my various cookbooks suggests that 155F for a long enough time will be the right temperature for the ribs we bought yesterday. I don't like most barbecue sauces, but Jack Daniels #7 is one we can both get behind. The prep: open the package, pack the ribs tightly into the pot's liner, pour enough BBQ sauce to fill the spaces, load into the Ultra Pot.

 

20190824_113517.jpg

 

I walked him through the procedure for programming and starting the pot. We chose a Custom Temperature of 155F, and told it to run for 12 hours. By that time we'll be ready to eat (whether the meat is ready or not) so we don't have to worry about turning off the "Keep Warm" setting. He did all the programming, and knows that every time he takes the lid off to check and then replaces the lid he'll have to push the little button to reopen the valve. We'll probably leave the lid off and put a silicone lid on instead to allow a thermometer.

 

"Wow," he exclaimed, "this pot is exactly what we've been looking for!"

 

I'll report on the results later.

 

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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@Smithy

 

nice report

 

as long as the [    #(%(#^R# n  ]  

 

get gobbled up 

 

why not ?

 

I have personal views of meats

 

keeping as much ' meat flavor ' in the meat

 

but we all know  

 

BBQ sauce  fixes all Transgressions 

 

Bon Appetite

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18 minutes ago, rotuts said:

@Smithy

 

nice report

 

as long as the [    #(%(#^R# n  ]  

 

get gobbled up 

 

why not ?

 

I have personal views of meats

 

keeping as much ' meat flavor ' in the meat

 

but we all know  

 

BBQ sauce  fixes all Transgressions 

 

Bon Appetite

 

Thanks, rotuts, I think. If this works out right, the meat flavor WILL stay with the meat. If it doesn't, then we'll try another time/temp combination. I'm thinking that a very quick pressure cook before starting the slow-cook mode might be a good idea, but that would be one step too many for my darling.

 

IMO most BBQ sauce is a transgression precisely because it masks the meat flavor. I commented on that last night, here. This Jack Daniels has a good taste to both of us, and doesn't necessarily overwhelm the meat, so we're both happy with it when we get the texture and donneness right. Sometimes when I'm doing short ribs or spareribs, I put my food down...BBQ sauce can be added at the table, thankyewverymuch, at the whim of the diner. Not before! Or at least leave it off my half of the meat! >:(


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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@Smithy

 

thank you for your reply

 

I do SV for Beef @ 130 . and for chicken and turkey @ 142 F

 

but if you are adding BBQ sauce 

 

of your own making\

 

or comecial 

 

if the Jus from the meat 

 

goes into the sauce ?

 

you will be gobbling it up and enjoying it

 

as long as the meat is tender  this way

 

Gobble Gobble.

 

 

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FWIW -- as one who has cooked barbecue since her formative years (maybe not toddler, but definitely elementary age), it's been my experience that meat is better slow-cooked in a thin, vinegar-based sauce (I suspect whiskey-based would work, but I've never tried one), and then the thicker, tomato-based sauce applied as a glaze right at the last, or served as a "table sauce."

 

The sauce I grew up cooking with was a half-cup melted butter, a half-cup vegetable oil, a half-cup cider vinegar, a whole bunch of paprika, and moderate amounts of black pepper and salt. I've modified it over the years to add some garlic and onion powders, and change the paprika to pimenton. One could add cumin, coriander, turmeric, etc., as one was inclined. I've had decent chicken barbecued in this sauce with a healthy addition of cinnamon.

 

For best results, one cooks over an open fire or grill and bastes frequently with the sauce. For a slow cooker, I'd likely marinate in the sauce and then maybe put about 1/4 cup in the cooker just to steam things.

 

But a pork shoulder, on the pit for 18 hours at no more than 225 degrees, turned and mopped every hour? Can't beat it. Trust me on this.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Oh, @kayb - I absolutely believe (and trust) you on this. Braising something in barbecue sauce does not a barbecue make. I appreciate your ideas about the use of the slow cooker. Thank you!

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Posted (edited)

I'd call tonight's dinner a qualified success.

 

We used the set-it-and-forget-it philosophy to spend time on chores we did not want to do as well as a bicycle ride that we did want to do. At some point after 8 hours of slow cooking we could see a temperature stratification: meat at the bottom of the pot was around 150 - 160; meat at the top was around 125 - 140. My darling removed all the meat from the pot and restacked the ribs to invert the lot. An hour later, the ribs that had previously registered in the 150 - 160F range were down into the 120 - 130F range, whereas the ribs from the original top layer were heating up. I still don't understand how this could have happened, but there it is: it appears that heat transmission isn't great from the bottom of the pot, where the heat element is, to the rest of the pot, unless there's a generous amount of liquid (in this case, BBQ sauce) to fill in gaps and transmit heat.

 

The meat seemed tender at all levels, but there were questions about the desired temperature and the food safety implications. (Much to my surprise, he was the one worried about food safety.) We discussed options: add more liquid for better heat transmission; crank up the temperature setting; try pressure-cooking to finish.

 

We turned the Custom Temperature up to 175 (roughly the low-level Slow Cooker setting, but who's counting) for 10 or 20 minutes, then lost patience/faith in the process. We sealed the IP and set it to Pressure Cook on High for 10 minutes. At about the time it reached full pressure, it announced that it was burning. I turned off the program, and let it all cool down naturally. 

 

Top pic: the contents of the pot. Bottom pic: our dinners. (Never mind pretty plating, we were tired and hungry.)

 

20190824_214703.jpg

 

Some of the meat was almost overdone. All of it was tender; most of it was juicy, but the drier segments made us think that it was slighly overcooked.

 

Was this better than our recent country-style-rib attempts? Yes. Was this better than memory serves from 20 years ago and many frustrations since? Well, no...but maybe it came close. Will we try it again this way next time? No: we'll either up the slow-cooker temperature from the outset, start the cooker earlier for a much longer time, or pressure-cook (or steam) it first. 


Edited by Smithy elaborated or clarified a few details; changed "would" to "will" (log)
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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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The leftovers made enough for 3 meals for 2 of us. On the left: that meat is tender! and still juicy! On the right: with the sauce added from the pot. We'll need to cook potatoes or rice to soak up that juice. As rotuts says, "yum yum".

 

20190825_085947.jpg

 

Our samples of the leftovers didn't indicate overcookedness after all, so maybe it was just our tiredness and general crankiness that led us to think so last night. Still, having to hustle it along at the end didn't help. Next time we'll cook at a slightly higher temperature, and start it earlier in the day.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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