Pros: Well built; efficient cooker; various settings; includes probe; easy to clean; reasonably priced.
Cons: Electric cord too short; probe wire too short; sparse owner's manual.
The Hamilton Beach Programmable Slow Cooker, Model 33967 is an excellent slow cooker in many respects, but it does have some minor drawbacks. I have owned many slow cookers (crock pots) over the years and have found most of them lacking in certain areas, including size, effectiveness, clean up, sturdiness, etc. The Hamilton Beach Model 33967 overcomes most of those shortcomings, but still could use improvements in minor areas.
This unit is advertised as a 6-quart capacity, but the effective cooking capacity is closer to 5 quarts. It has a Program Mode which allows you to set the cooking time and heat setting. It can also be used in Manual Mode in which you set the heat setting and it will then cook for up to 14 hours before shutting off. The heat setting includes High, Low and Warm. There is no Medium setting.
There is also a Probe Mode which is used with the included probe. The probe is inserted through a hole in the glass lid and into the meat. You can then set the probe for a particular temperature of the cooked meat and the unit will stop cooking when that temperature is reached and it will automatically set to Warm and continue on the Warm setting for 14 hours. You can also set the temperatures to read out in F or C degrees.
I have made a boneless pork roast in the pot using the probe and the times were kept very accurately and the probe worked fine sensing the meat temperature and switching to warm when done. However, as with all slow cookers, roast meats are not the best foods to cook in these devices. They seem to come out bland and underdone. My opinion is that roasts are best made in a conventional oven and leave the slow cookers for soups, casseroles. stews etc.
The unit is well made with a stainless look and a LCD touch pad control panel. The top is a glass lid with plastic handle and a rubber seal on its edge. There are also two spring type clips which hold the lid down tight before cooking. There is a small hole on the top of the lid where the probe is inserted and plugged into a port on the lower right side of the cooker. The bowl insert is a black ceramic oval piece that is very easy to clean. The bottom of the unit has rubber feet to keep it from moving around on the countertop.
The controls work very well and most dishes that do well in slow cookers come out excellent in this cooker. Cleanup is easy, especially the bowl insert. The owner’s manual is rather sparse with very few recipes and a general cooking guide for most meats. There is also a short list of Quick Temperature Probe Recipes. The manufacturer warranty is one year and there are toll-free numbers to call for customer service. These cookers sell in the range of $48. to $55. Mine was a gift, so I do not know its actual cost.
Some of the features that I feel can be improved include a longer electrical cord and a longer probe wire. After placing the meat in the bowl, if you wish to switch the position of the probe hole by turning the lid, the probe wire will not reach the other side of the pot. These are minor flaws and would not prevent me from recommending this slow cooker for its efficiency, build and reasonable price.