04 Dec A Crock Pot On Board?
I recently got an email asking what I thought of having a slow cooker (crock pot) on board. The reader, Sharon, went on to explain that they were liveaboards and knew quite a few people in their community that used them.
I love this, as it points out the diversity of readers here on TBG. Readers range from weekend trailer-sailors to those who spend vacations aboard near their home to part-time or commuter cruisers to those working their way around the world as well as those who live aboard full time but don’t necessarily cruise anywhere. (There are also some who have RVs, tents or just a tiny kitchen.) The common factor is that everyone has a galley of some type!
But all that diversity means that not every “answer” is applicable to everyone’s situation. Tips that apply in one situation — say, someone who spends weekends on a 23′ trailerable boat — won’t necessarily be helpful to a family of 5 going around the world on a 60′ boat.
So, for someone who lives aboard but spends most or all of their time at the dock with shore power, my answer is that a crock pot can work well. Just as well as it does for someone living ashore — put the food in the cooker in the morning, come home in the evening and dinner is ready.
The big concern here is if you’ve got the space to store it. In using it, be sure to wedge it in somewhere so that if a passing boat puts up a wake, it won’t slide off a counter.
However, if you’re not on shore power, it’s unlikely that you’ll have the power for a crock pot.
A slow cooker generally draws 1 to 2 amps on 120 AC power (depends on size and heat setting) — on 12-volt batteries, that’s 10 to 20 amps (plus some extra for losses in the inverter) and crock pots usually cook for 6 to 8 hours. So if you’re running off batteries, that’s a minimum of 60 amp-hours to cook dinner, and probably more. If you’re running a generator or motoring all day, you may have the power.
Most boats at anchor just don’t have that much power. For them, I’ve talked about three other options that don’t take electricity: a Thermal Cooker, Thermos Cooking and the Wonderbag. All are forms of slow cooking that take a lot less heat and can be left unattended while you’re off doing other things.
A quick note on buying a slow cooker — be sure to get one with a removable crock for washing. It’s horrible to have to wash one that you can’t immerse in water. Size is important, too — it needs to be sized for what you’ll typically be cooking in it. And read reviews to make sure that the “low” setting really is “low” — many are almost as hot as the high setting.