Technique, Tools

Overpriced, but there is not a better, more versatile or higher quality multi-cooker out there.

The Vermicular multi-cooker ($600) is comprised of two parts: The “musui” a cast iron pot with a machined tight-fitting cover and the “kamado” a cradle for the pot with interior induction heaters bottom and sides and an exterior control panel.

Everyone is familiar with slow cookers and multi cookers and what they do, so I’ll focus on what this thing does that’s unique or better. It uses induction heating ($$) ,which is quick and intense, the cast iron pot lid is machined so tight ($$) that steam escapes only through a machined vent ($$) with the result that veggies and meat products make and retain their own juices, without the need for oil or broths. The pot itself is treated cast iron ($$). It has a multi-option program to make rice, which worked great but tried only once since I don’t eat much of it. There are four understated heat settings on the control panel–warm 200F), extra low 230F, low 300F and medium 445F. Preheat the empty pot on medium and a “grill OK” light comes on when the dry pot bottom is hot enough to brown and sear. My Fluke IR Thermometer registers an astonishing 565F in grill OK mode ($$$)!

The Vermicular, like the Anova Oven is programmed for dry sous vide ($$$) with precise settings up to about 190F. I’m not a fan of dry sous vide and not about to change after nine years of experience with circulators and vacuum machines. The control panel also features the usual timer controls and status icons. The unit comes with an excellent cookbook with detailed instructions and recipes that highlight the unit’s capabilities.

The Vermicular reeks of quality. I use it every week for chicken, ribs, pot roasts and veggies. It heats evenly, browns aggressively and retains juices. I wouldn’t be without it. As I said in the Anova post, some day I may have to downsize to a geezer apartment with a lousy kitchen. The Vermicular and the Anova will be even more important there.

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