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Tasty Techniques for Savory Slow Cooker Meals

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slow cooker meals

Slow Cooker Tips

Slow-cooking can produce some of the most amazing meals. Unfortunately, most people don’t know how to use a slow cooker. One of the most common problems is overcooking. Because slow cookers let you “set and forget” the meal, most people just assume that you can endlessly cook food in the crockpot and it will come out amazing. Not true. The results are often bland. Here’s how to turn your slow-cooking around and create savory and scrumptious meals.

Buy A Slow-Cooker With a Temperature Setting

Most cheap slow cookers don’t have a timer. Get one that does. Bed Bath and Beyond’s website has a long list of cookers that should fit the bill. When you can control the temperature, you can control the damage to your food. Low heat settings vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. As with other Kitchen appliances, you want precise temps so that you know exactly what and how you’re cooking your food.

Use Cheap Cuts of Meat

Cheap cuts of meat work well in a crockpot because they’re often very fatty and have a lot of connective tissue – tissue that takes a long time to break down. But, when it does, it’s amazing. Brisket is a good choice, and so are flank steaks.

Whatever you end up choosing, it should be a bit on the fattier side, don’t worry so much about the marbling, and pick up a soup bone (if you’re making a stew). Roasting the meat, and the soup bone, will help preserve the flavor of the meat. The soup bone imparts the flavor of the marrow into the food and water.

Avoid prime cuts like tenderloins. These are easy to overcook and will ruin your entire meal.

Don’t Use Too Much Liquid

Most people think that slow-cooking means you should create an open water bath for your food. Unless you’re making a soup, don’t drench your food in water. An inch or two is all you really need to cook a good meal. You can make a hearty stew with a little more water, but don’t go overboard.

If you do, all you’ll end up with is waterlogged food and that’s why you end up with bland food. You’ve diluted the flavor to the point of non-existence. If you want to retain moisture, and are worried about your meat drying out, brine the meat before putting it into the crock pot.

Don’t Overcook Your Veggies

Carrots and onions can take the heat. Greens, on the other hand, wilt and become a soggy, mushy, mess. To keep the greens bright and lively, add them during the last half-hour of cooking. They will impart their flavor to the dish without being ruined by the liquid and heat.

Overcooking, in general, is a bad idea. Don’t do it. When directions for a roast say 6 hours, cook it for 6 hours, not 8. Paying attention to the little details will help your food turn out as you expected it and will reduce the risk of your food turning bland or mushy.
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Robert Hopkins worked as a cook for many years before retiring. He now spends his days in his kitchen garden and writing at his desk. You can find his informative articles mainly on cooking and home entertaining websites.

 
 



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