Pot roast is one of those dishes that’s meant to be cooked slow. I’m talking 3-4 hours in a pot on the stove slow. I’m talking house-smells-good-all-day slow. So when I heard that Kuhn Rikon’s new pressure cooker claimed to be able to cook pot roast in half an hour, well, let’s just say it had my attention.
When I heard that this half-hour cook time would happen in my microwave, I was still interested. But I was also very, very skeptical. I had a lot of questions, ranging from “What is this sorcery?” to “Ew?” and my questions could only be answered one way: by giving the Kuhn Rikon Duromatic Micro microwave pressure cooker a try.
The fateful day was yesterday. I bought a boneless chuck roast. I commandeered the office’s biggest microwave. I got some answers, I ate some surprisingly decent pot roast.
Here is an interview I conducted with myself on your behalf, so that you may learn from my experience:
Q: What is this sorcery?
A: Glad you asked! A pressure cooker seems like magic, but it technically isn’t. It’s a sealed container that traps steam inside as your food cooks, increasing the pressure. This means higher temperatures and faster cook times, because science.
Popular pressure cookers like the Instant Pot have lots of preset functions, a control panel, and their own heat source. The Duromatic Micro does not. It’s just a friendly-looking plastic pot with a good seal and a pressure valve. You heat it in the microwave. When it’s done cooking, it naturally releases the pressure over the course of 2-3 minutes. But it uses pressure to increase the speed of your cooking, same as any pressure cooker.
Q: Pot roast in the microwave? Ew?
A: Bear with me here. I know it sounds gross. But the pot roast I made turned out… really, really okay. Seriously. It wasn’t as good as the stuff my mom cooks for hours and hours using more conventional methods, but if you served it to me, I would never suspect it had come from the microwave.
I definitely would not suspect that it only cooked for half an hour. It was 100% decent and fully-cooked.
Q: So seriously. How well did this thing work?
A: It was super easy to use. It’s a really uncomplicated piece of equipment. If you can lock the lid and observe when a red pressure valve is up or down, and if you’re familiar with use of a microwave, then this will pose no problem for you.
If your goal is speed, then this thing knocked it out of the park. 30 minutes is a crazy short cook time for something that generally takes about six times as long to cook.
In terms of texture and flavor, it was not amazing. The top of the piece of beef cooked outside of the liquid, so it was a bit dry. Parts of the roast were tender, parts were a little bit tougher. And it tasted pretty good, but not great. I served it to my coworkers, who said things like:
“It tastes like cooked meat!”
“I would never know that was made in a microwave.”
“It’s not bad at all!”
“If I paid $10 at a cheap diner and that came out, I wouldn’t be mad.”
“It’s pretty good!”
Some of them reached for second helpings, but no one loaded up their plate.
Q: Who should buy this and why?
A: At around $60, the Duromatic Micro is significantly cheaper than an Instant Pot, but it only performs one function to the Instant Pot’s several. But unlike the multicookers and countertop pressure cookers that seem to dominate the pressure cooker scene right now, the Duromatic Micro isn’t heavy. It isn’t particularly bulky. You could store it in a cabinet, stack some pots inside it, pull it out when you need it. If you don’t have ample counter- or cabinet space, that’s a godsend.
You might also prefer it if you want something that cooks really quickly but you don’t need other settings like “slow cook” and “yogurt,” or if you like that it’s dishwasher-safe.
The name of the game here is really speed and convenience. If you want a lot of high-tech buttons to press and the “start” button on your microwave doesn’t count, this isn’t for you. If you want the best possible flavor, make your pot roast in a Dutch oven on the stove. But for speed and simplicity and pretty good quality, the Duromatic Micro is a really good option.