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Cookware

Really need some stockpot advice

optimal forager | Feb 13, 200811:41 AM     9

I have recently started making my own chicken stock, but neither my Le Creuset dutch oven (7qts?) nor my Farberware 8 qt are really big enough. Also, I'd like to start making my own beef stock with the huge bones I see at the local Vietnamese grocery. So I've been keeping my eye open for an inexpensive big stockpot.

At Tuesday Morning, I found three possibilities:

1) a Tramontina 16 qt: stainless steel; with a glass lid with no holes; very sturdy, with thick bottom (although not clad, apparently); thin, wide-set handles; made in China; $49.99

2) a Tramontina Pro 16 qt: stainless steel; with a metal lid with two little steam holes; very sturdy, with thick bottom; thin, wide-set handles; made in China; $49.99.

3) a Sitlax 16 quart: stainless steel; glass lid with 1 vent hole; quite a bit lighter than the Tramontinas; handle loops are smaller, but handles themselves are thicker; made in Brazil; $29.99.

Is 16 quart big enough? Is it big enough to do a lobster in, if I want to make it multitask? Is there anything else I might use such a big pot for? Does weight actually matter in a stockpot? After all, you're putting it over extremely low heat regardless. Or does a thicker bottom reduce the chances of you boiling your stock and making it cloudy? Should I check out the huge cheap aluminum pots I've seen at a nearby ethnic supermarket, or should I consider this a lifetime purchase and get something more solid, like one of the Tramontinas (but not All-Clad or anything, because I don't have the money and because I don't understand the benefits of a fully-clad stockpot [are there any?]).

Any feedback would be very much appreciated. I've searched for previous threads on stockpots and haven't found any, although someone did reference such a thread. If anyone can point me towards that, that would be great, too. TIA.

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