To begin, the briefest of rants. A few years ago, I got one of these Crock-Pot Little Dipper dealies as a gift. The idea, the gift-giver told me, was that I could use it to keep queso or artichoke dip warm when I had friends over. This was going to be so great! No longer would once-hot queso congeal sadly on my coffee table! The days of artichoke dip going cold when only half the baking dish had been consumed were over! IT WAS A HOT-DIP MIRACLE.
Except for one fatal flaw, or, perhaps, two of them: The cord on this tiniest of crockpots was quite short. (No shade: I am also quite short.) And my coffee table, lovely though it was, did not come outfitted with an electrical socket in which to plug the tiny cord. I suppose I could have used an extension cord, but they’re unsightly, and also? Did you know that I’m afraid of everything? I am! Which means that throwing down an extension cord in a place where people will be drinking, and could trip over it, fills me with the kind of dread that only a child who grew up on her mother’s dinner-table stories of horrific freak accidents could know. Consequently, for all intents and purposes, that itty-bitty crockpot was no more functional than a serving bowl outfitted with a koozy.
For whatever reason, though, I held onto the dumb thing. And then one day, I found a use for it: As it turns out, that stupid, tiny crockpot is the secret to perfect pot butter.
How I came to that revelation is another story. (It’s a bit sad, too, so you should be prepared for the possible occurrence of feelings.) It was summer, and my best friend’s father was dying of cancer. My friend spent as many weekends as he could in Pennsylvania with his dad and stepmother to help, to provide comfort, to just be there. As is the case with many people undergoing chemotherapy, his dad had difficulty with his appetite and with keeping food down, and he was losing weight at an alarming rate. Enter pot brownies! I got an email asking if I could help make a batch, which, of course.
The request came, presumably, because I make the best brownies, and also because I’m an adequate joint-roller, a talent which people often conflate with being the sort who knows stuff about weed. The problem was that I’d never actually made pot brownies, nor, more crucially, had I ever made pot butter. No matter: Thanks to Google, our brownies came out great, and there’s some video of my friend’s dad shuffling hilariously around the kitchen trying to make a pot of coffee that provided a much-needed bright spot for us during that heavy summer. But the process of making the pot butter was still off-putting.
There are an untold number of cannabutter recipes available online; as you might expect, they’re all variations on “combine weed and butter, then cook.” But one major issue with the production of stovetop pot butter is that it requires a fairly long cook time, which leaves the butter prone to scorching, even atop the lowest of flames or gentlest of coiled heating elements. In the case of my best friend and I, as people prone to both anxiety and perfectionism, this issue made the two or so hours of what should have been a chill time tending to a pot of gurgling weed butter incredibly stressful for us. I fretted that the butter was burning; he worried that his All-Clad saucepan was developing inoperable scorch marks; I in turn got upset at the suggestion that he thought there might exist a scorch mark I couldn’t cure. We self-soothed with HGTV and a lot of white wine.
I never made that mistake again. Of the five most prominent weed-butter recipes online—from the Cannabist, High Times, the Stoner’s Cookbook, the Weed Blog, and Leafly—only that last one makes mention of a slow cooker. Good for them, and good for you. Use one if at all possible.
From there, the simple math of weed butter is this: one ounce of pot to one pound of butter to, if necessary, one cup of water. To us Americans, a pound of butter is what you’ll get in a box containing four sticks. Ideally, the butter should be allowed to cook with the marijuana for two to three hours; the longer it can go, the more potent it will be. For those using a crockpot, leaving the butter on for anywhere from six to 12 hours will be just grand. And you may not even need water: In a tiny model, there simply won’t be enough unused surface area to lead to scorching. But for regular-sized slow cookers, the water will be crucial to allowing for an extended cook time. If you don’t have a slow cooker, do your weed-buttering in a covered dish that can hang out in a 200-degree oven for a few hours. And yeah, use water.
For regular smokers, it’s well worth saving your stems, seeds, and shake in a little runoff jar or baggie so that you can turn garbage into gold, so to speak: All of that stuff will infuse butter with plenty of THC, so put it to good use. If you’re not a regular smoker, it’s unlikely that you’ll have enough shake hanging around to avoid having to use your good bud for butter, and that’s okay; it mostly just means that your pot butter will cost you more than my pot butter costs me. But your brain function is probably doing better than mine, so, you know, tradeoffs. But! Are you pals with your dealer, or a grower? Ask if they have shake they’re willing to sell for a song.
Once your butter is cooked, it still will need one last treatment before it’s recipe-ready: You gotta strain out all that debris. A fine mesh strainer or sieve will be just fine for this, but if you have cheesecloth in the house (because you’re a fancy stoner), that’s even better. Set the strainer over a heat-proof container with a lid, or secure the cheesecloth to it using an elastic band. Pour the butter into the container, using a spatula to push as much through as you can. If you used cheesecloth, remove the elastic and give it a good squeeze. Discard the cooked ganja, let the butter cool at room temperature for an hour or so, and then refrigerate for later use.
Happy 4-20, by the way. What a coincidence! Which means, Dear Reader, that it’s time to share your best and most creative recipes using pot butter. Then we’ll all go get hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.
Jolie Kerr is the author of the book My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag … And Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha (Plume); she can be found on Twitter, Kinja, and Tumblr.
Illustration by Jim Cooke.
Adequate Man is Deadspin’s new self-improvement blog, dedicated to making you just good enough at everything. Suggestions for future topics are welcome below.
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