Crock Pot Tips and Tricks

I love my slow cooker. I usually use it twice a week. I plan on posting a new crock pot recipe each week. If you have a favorite recipe you would like converted to be cooked in the crock pot, let me know and I will give it a shot.

www.dadwhats4dinner.com


Here are some great crock pot tips from crock-pot.com

How do I prevent meat from drying out?

  • To prevent poultry from drying out, use chicken thighs—they have more fat and won’t dry out as quickly, Cook thighs for about six hours and breasts for a maximum of five hours on low heat. Beef, depending on the cut, is much more forgiving. For better results, use stewing beef, short ribs, or brisket as opposed to a rib steak or a sirloin.

How much liquid should I use?

  • Liquid (Stock, Water, and Wine) – In most instances, is not necessary to use more than ½ – 1 cup of liquid since juices in meats and vegetables are retained more in slow cooking than in conventional cooking.
  • Excess liquid can be reduced and concentrated for great flavor. You can reduce excess liquid by slow cooking on the stove-top, removing meat and vegetables from stoneware or stirring in cornstarch, tapioca or tapioca powder and setting the slow cooker to high approximately 15 minutes until juices are thickened.

Does liquid evaporate in the slow cooker?

  • Slow cookers have very little evaporation. If making a stove top recipe for a soup, stew, or sauce, reduce the liquid or water. If the meal result is too thick, liquids can be added later.

Can I cook frozen meats in my slow cooker?

  • Frozen or partially frozen foods require a longer cook time in a slow cooker than the recipe indicates for a stovetop or oven. Using an instant read thermometer is recommended to ensure meat is cooked through and tender.
  • Frozen meats can be cooked in a slow cooker, however, it is best to use the following guidelines: Add at least 1 cup of warm liquid to the stoneware before placing meat in the stoneware. Do not preheat the slow cooker. Cook recipes containing frozen meats for an additional 4 to 6 hours on low, or an additional 2 hours on high.

Is it safe to leave the slow cooker on when I’m not home?

  • Yes. Crock-Pot® Slow Cookers are safe for countertop cooking for extended periods of time. If holding food on the warm setting for a long time, cut back on the cook time accordingly to reduce overcooking.

Why does my food get overcooked, even on the low setting?

  • To avoid over- or under-cooking, always fill the stoneware ½ to ¾ full to conform to recommended cook times with the exception of certain cakes and custards, and as guided in our slow cooker recipes.

Can I place my food in the slow cooker the night before and keep in the refrigerator?

  • Yes, but it is very important to understand that starting to cook with cold stoneware and cold food will affect the ramp up time of the slow cooker. Always add sufficient time into the cook time to ensure food is safe, as well as tender. It is recommended to use an instant read thermometer when cooking with chilled stoneware and chilled food to ensure food temperatures reach well above 165°F and food becomes tender. Never place your stoneware (whether it has been refrigerated or is at room temperature) in a pre-heated slow cooker base.

Can I halve a slow cooker recipe?

  • It is best not to cut a recipe in half for the crock pot. A full crock pot cooks more evenly and keeps foods from drying out. Make extra and freeze for another meal.

Can I stir when the food is slow cooking? 

  • Due to the nature of a slow cooker, there is no need to stir the food unless it specifically says to in your recipe. In fact, taking the lid off to stir food causes the slow cooker to lose a significant amount of heat, extending the cooking time required. Therefore, it is best not to remove the lid for stirring.

Here are suggested cooking times and tips from crock-pot.com

Cooking times:

MEAT CUT MEAT WEIGHT LOW COOK TIME HIGH COOK TIME
Large Pork Roast* 6-7 lbs 9 ½ hours 7 ½ hours
Pork Loin 3-4 lbs 6 hours 5 hours
Poultry** 6 lbs 7 ½ hours 6 ¼ hours
Beef Roast 3-4 lbs 8 hours 5 ¾ hours
Stew Meat 3 lbs 6 hours 4 ¾ hours
Fish*** 2 lbs 3 ½ hours 1 ½ hours

  • Note: All cook times are approximate. Appropriate cook time varies according to specific meat characteristics for fat content and connective tissue as well as other ingredients added to dish, including liquid, size of meat cubes, type of vegetable, size of vegetable dice, how high slow cooker is filled, etc.

  • * Pork butt, pork shoulder ** Whole chicken, Bone-in turkey breast *** If fish is stirred in after Crock-Pot® Slow Cooker has been fully heated to stabilization/simmer point, it will cook within 15-30 minutes.

For other crock pot  recipes check out my crock pot page here!

Also if you are on Pinterst, please sign up to follow Dad Whats 4 Dinner and my crock pot cooking board here!

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