I was just about to bust open waiting to write this post about my new cast iron burner/hot plate. Some months ago, our crockpot died and I was hoping to find a good solution to all the slow-cooking I do with broths and other foods in my kitchen.
For years I’ve read how most crockpots contain lead, cadmium, or other carcinogenic materials. I really didn’t want to go down that road again. I don’t ever know what to believe since I hear so much conflicting information about them.
I was planning to buy a nice big stock pot for large batches of broth, and then my parents were kind enough to buy me a Le Crueset 6 quart pot for Christmas (pictured above). It’s the best gift I’ve received in such a long time, and I love it!
At the time, we knew we were planning to move fairly soon, but the stove I was using in our current house worked fine to cook broth in the Le Crueset and leave for days at a time. That stove was just a standard electric burner stove, and I really hadn’t thought about whether moving to a new house and new stove would have an impact I might not appreciate on that process.
As soon as we moved to our new house last month, it became evident that we’d have to find a different method for making broth and keeping it on low heat for several days. The new stove is a glass-top range, and it doesn’t cook at all the same way as our previous stove. In fact, all my broths I’ve made on it have scalded, even on low heat. Not good. I certainly don’t want burnt broth.
Enter the Cadco (BroilKing) Double Cast Iron Burner Range/Hot Plate. This was my husband’s idea (he has many good ones). I had seen these in a few places, but had never heard anyone I know of using or owning one. Since I didn’t know anything about these, I had no idea what to expect. But now I can tell you after having ours for just a few days, I’m so thrilled about it! I can’t think of a better solution to our broth making-issue with our current stove.
Pros: There are so many good things about the hot plate. Like a crockpot, it’s great for keeping just about any foods on low heat that you don’t have room for on your stove, and want to leave for some hours or days. And just like a stove, you can use any of your own pots or pans on it. The one we ordered has a double-burner, but you can order single burner units as well. I highly recommend the double-unit because it allows you to cook more food at once, and is especially handy for anyone who prepares multiple dishes regularly for home use (like us since we make broth all the time) or for when you have gatherings.
I find it is especially useful when I have over-sized pots too because it’s not uncommon for me to have every burner on my stove being used at once, and things can get pretty crowded. In fact, at least once a week I am using two of my stockpots at the same time. When I’ve had two big stockpots on the stove at once, there simply isn’t room for anything else but my smallest pots on the other burners. And I find that I still need to be able to put my medium-sized pots on the stove at the same time to cook other foods, and they just won’t fit (especially on a glass-top range where pots and pans slide around so much). The hot plate solves that problem easily, and I can leave it on for days at a time without worrying about scalding or burning, and it’s just as well-contained as the crockpot cooking I’ve done for years.
It has heat settings which go from 1 up to 12, and I find that for broth somewhere between 2 and 3 is great to keep soups, stews, casseroles, broths, and other foods warm for extended periods of time.
Setup: When you take your hot plate out of the packaging, there is no assembly, but you will need to turn the heat on each burner for 10 minutes, to allow the factory coating (some kind of oil, my husband says) to burn off to prepare it for use. This does cause some smoke to collect in your kitchen, so make sure you turn on the fan and open windows for good ventilation. You may even want to vacate the room or house while this is happening, or if possible, put it outside if you have an outdoor outlet to plug it in.
Cons: I really can’t find anything negative about this product, other than the fact that you will definitely have to spend more than you would on a crockpot. However, you also have the capability of cooking on two burners with the dual-plate model (even though one burner is smaller), so it’s like getting two crocks in one unit. In my opinion, over the years you will save money buying crockpots that might not last as well as have the potential to leach chemicals like lead and cadmium into your food – which will ultimately become another health burden and expense to deal with later.
Also, when we first ordered our unit, one of the burners on the original was defective and didn’t turn on. We called to report this, and they promised to immediately replace it with a brand new one by sending another out to us that day. It did take awhile for both of the units to be sent to our home, but the wait was so worth it!
Price: The hot plate we purchased cost about $178.89 retail, and was about $190 including shipping, which I think is a great deal considering I won’t have to worry about lead leaching into my food anymore, and I likely won’t be replacing this unit for quite awhile. Since I started cooking, I’ve gone through at least 4, maybe 5 crockpots. Unlike many products that are made in China, Taiwan, or other countries where the emphasis is on quantity and not quality, the Cadco hot plate is a German product and has a limited 2-year warranty from the date of purchase.
Conclusion: The hot plate is a great investment if you plan to do multiple cooking projects at once, especially for those who cook a lot of broth, soups, stews, casseroles, beans, rice, and other large meals. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves to cook! I’m incredibly satisfied with this purchase, and I’m wondering now how I ever did without it.