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Slow Cookers
Old 02-14-2012, 02:40 PM   #1
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Slow Cookers

I have one these crock pot things, and I always think it should be really good for the things I eat and my distaste for meal preparation. I find it is good for making greens and soups, but not nearly as good as a cast iron pot in the oven for chile colorado, chile verde, stews, lamb of beef shanks or any braised meat dish.

Do you cooks have similar experiences, or have I just not mastered the slow cooker yet?

Any suggestions for better results? Also, is it OK to leave an electric oven on at 300 or so while you are away from home?

Ha
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Old 02-14-2012, 02:50 PM   #2
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I use my slow cooker(s) once in a while (set it and forget it), but I do brown all meats and veggies and deglaze the pan to add to the slow cooker. To me, without this prepping step, the flavor just isn't there.
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Old 02-14-2012, 02:54 PM   #3
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I have a crock pot and never use it (it's getting downsized). For me, it's cast iron all the way.
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:08 PM   #4
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Try putting a whole chicken in there and leaving it in all day.
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:10 PM   #5
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Try putting a whole chicken in there and leaving it in all day.
How high do you cover it with water?
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:21 PM   #6
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How high do you cover it with water?
I skip the browning step; I'm using the slow cooker for convenience. don't want another pan to wash...

I use 1/4c. or so for chicken, pot roast, etc. Need some moisture, but not much. Too much water will dramatically increase cooking time, plus leach out all the flavor.
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:22 PM   #7
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Try putting a whole chicken in there and leaving it in all day.
Don't they just jump around until the lid falls off and then climb out?
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:31 PM   #8
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How high do you cover it with water?
I use very little water in the crock pot . It's great for beef pot roasts just brown the meat ,deglaze the pan ,add some seasoning and about a cup of red wine or beef broth . I also use it for sausage & peppers . I pre cook the sausage for a few minutes in the microwave , add onions & peppers , a can of spaghetti sauce or just a can of tomatoes . My So loves pork & sauerkraut . Brown the roast add sauerkraut and some seasonings and it's good to go . I just plug it in and ignore it all day it's like having a wife . I still love my cast iron dutch oven but the crock pot is convenient .
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:43 PM   #9
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Try putting a whole chicken in there and leaving it in all day.
I do this all the time. No water - just the chicken. Let it cook on low for 8 - 10 hours. It is the moistest most tender chicken you will ever have. It even gets brown.
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:47 PM   #10
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I just plug it in and ignore it all day it's like having a wife .
Wow. That is a quote for the ages.
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:50 PM   #11
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A pork roast done this way is really good too. Just salt and pepper and 8 hours. If you want to get fancy add a glug of smoky barbecue sauce.
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:59 PM   #12
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I have also done turkey breasts this way. No water.
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Old 02-14-2012, 04:16 PM   #13
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Check your library or used book store for Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook - lots of variety, and nearly all of the recipes I have tried are keepers. I made the short ribs in red wine last weekend, they were delicious.

I rarely left the oven on when not at home, until I got an oven with a timed feature that is easily usable. Now I can set it to turn off in case I don't get home when I think I will.
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Old 02-14-2012, 04:21 PM   #14
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I use our crockpot guite a bit. It's great for making soups of all kinds. In fact tomorrow I'm doing up a pot full of chicken vegetable noodle soup. I buy up chicken thighs and/or legs when they're on sale, and throw some in the crockpot along with about 2 quarts of water and some seasoning. I let them cook on high until they're about done, then take them out and de-bone them. Turn the crockpot down to low, throw the chicken back in along with a variety of cut-up veggies and some more seasoning, and cook a while longer. Then I toss in my egg noodles and continue to cook until the noodles are the way we like them. Then it's time to dish it out and chow down!

I also cook pot roasts, whole chickens, pork roasts, seafood chowders, BBQ rib-tips, BBQ ribs, BBQ pulled pork, Italian beef, braised rabbits, stuffed bell peppers, and many other odds and ends! Sometimes I brown the roasts, sometimes I don't...it all depends on whether I feel like it or not.

The BBQ ribs and rib-tips are the easiest to do by far! I put 'em in the crockpot, and dump in enough BBQ sauce (homemade or store bought) to cover 'em. I set the pot on high for an hour, then turn it down to low for about another 2-3 hours. Take 'em out and plate 'em up! Tender and tasty as can be!!!

I think the key to anything cooked in a crockpot is seasoning!!! Just like any other cooking method. Salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic, onion, celery, herbs of all sorts, and whatever else trips my fancy!!! I HATE bland food regardless of how it's prepared!
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Old 02-14-2012, 04:24 PM   #15
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How high do you cover it with water?
+1 on the chicken. No water needed. We do this with cheap cuts of pork, also. It works with just about any meat. You can add potatoes, onions, and carrots for a one dish wonder.

Leaving the oven on 300 while away from home: probably would not do that if gone for more than just a few minutes.

We try not to leave any appliances on when we are away ever since we mistakenly put a non-dishwasher safe plastic item in the dishwasher and melted it while we went out to lunch. Fortunately *all* it did was melt.
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Old 02-14-2012, 04:44 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the replies, including the advice on not leaving the oven on. So I will go forward with trying to get better results from the slow cooker. I can see that I have been using too much water.

Keep the suggestions coming I hope!

Ha
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Old 02-14-2012, 04:59 PM   #17
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Thanks for all the replies, including the advice on not leaving the oven on. So I will go forward with trying to get better results from the slow cooker. I can see that I have been using too much water.

Keep the suggestions coming I hope!

Ha

I actually do not see any problem with leaving the oven on if you leave... how many people have had a fire that started from their oven It is designed to be on without going up in flames...

Also, if you are home do you really look at your oven? IOW, if there were a problem, probably the first sign that you have the problem will be smoke from the fire that you can not put out... just sayin...

As for slow cooker, I actually like the outdoor grill more than the slow cooker... I have only cooked a few times in the slow cooker and do not get the results that I would like compared to the grill...
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Old 02-14-2012, 05:22 PM   #18
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Ha, I leave the oven on occasionally when I am out.

I followed some directions for a bison pot roast recipe last weekend. Not having cooked anything like this for something like a couple decades, I blindly followed the recipe's instructions to use 10 cups of water (I used beer for part of it). The roast came out beautifully, but there was way too much liquid. When we were done with dinner I shredded the leftover meat and added it to the liquid with all the potatoes and carrots. A touch of seasoning adjustment and 15 minutes of simmering later and I had two or three quarts of soup to stick in the freezer.
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Old 02-14-2012, 05:25 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goonie View Post
I use our crockpot guite a bit. It's great for making soups of all kinds. In fact tomorrow I'm doing up a pot full of chicken vegetable noodle soup. I buy up chicken thighs and/or legs when they're on sale, and throw some in the crockpot along with about 2 quarts of water and some seasoning. I let them cook on high until they're about done, then take them out and de-bone them. Turn the crockpot down to low, throw the chicken back in along with a variety of cut-up veggies and some more seasoning, and cook a while longer. Then I toss in my egg noodles and continue to cook until the noodles are the way we like them. Then it's time to dish it out and chow down!

I also cook pot roasts, whole chickens, pork roasts, seafood chowders, BBQ rib-tips, BBQ ribs, BBQ pulled pork, Italian beef, braised rabbits, stuffed bell peppers, and many other odds and ends! Sometimes I brown the roasts, sometimes I don't...it all depends on whether I feel like it or not.

The BBQ ribs and rib-tips are the easiest to do by far! I put 'em in the crockpot, and dump in enough BBQ sauce (homemade or store bought) to cover 'em. I set the pot on high for an hour, then turn it down to low for about another 2-3 hours. Take 'em out and plate 'em up! Tender and tasty as can be!!!

I think the key to anything cooked in a crockpot is seasoning!!! Just like any other cooking method. Salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic, onion, celery, herbs of all sorts, and whatever else trips my fancy!!! I HATE bland food regardless of how it's prepared!
Been using the CrockPot much recently. Rice/grains/corn/beans, vegetables, fresh herbs, liquid for grains et al, hunk of cheap meat (backs/ears/feet/necks...) on top. Three hours high or eight hours low...
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Old 02-14-2012, 06:25 PM   #20
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Wow. That is a quote for the ages.
Brewer, don't try this at home! Just sayin'...
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