Eleven Tips for Cooking Meat and Poultry in Your Slow Cooker

Eleven Tips for Cooking Meat and Poultry in Your Slow Cooker

it safe to use a slow cooker? You may be wondering this and your not alone. Cooking your meat with a slow cooker is quite different than using the oven or stove top. Here are a  few rather interesting tips to make your recipes super tasty and at the same time keep you safe from food born bacteria.

  1. Always defrost your meat or poultry before placing it in the slow cooker.
  2. Trim all fat from meat and poultry – Excess fats in your dishes will increase the temperature of the liquid in the slow cooker. This ends up decreasing the cooking time and leaving your dishes over cooked. Also the fats leave an unpleasant texture to your finished dish.
  3. Brown your meat before slow cooking – This of course, isn’t a necessary step but it really helps to add a depth of flavor and removes any excess fat. This is especially true when you’re cooking with lamb, pork and sausages. If the meat is lean, well trimmed and not highly marbled, it doesn’t need to be browned.
  4. Ground beef dishes – If you’re using ground beef you’ll get the the best texture and color if you brown. Although when you use ground beef in meatloaf and similar type dishes you don’t need to brown it first.
  5. For stews and roasts, pour some liquid over the meat. Just note that you should use the exact amount of  liquid than specified in the slow cooker recipes and no more. This is important to remember since slow cooking retains the juices in meats and vegetables as opposed to conventional cooking.
  6. Cooking  times – It is important to follow the recommended cooking times. Also during the cooking process,  keep the cover on your slow cooker.  Since your cooking with steam within a tightly-covered container it will destroy any bacteria at a temperature of between 170° and 280°F.
  7. Most meats require a total of 8 hours of cooking on the low setting. Cooking at higher settings will generally give you a tougher piece of meat.  For all day cooking you might want to use a low setting. Also it’s actually better to use tougher, cheaper, cuts of meats for slow cooker recipes. It has less fat, which makes them more suited to crockpot cooking.
  8. It’s better not to use a slow cooker for large pieces of meat like a roast or whole chicken. This is because the food will cook so slowly it could remain in the bacterial “danger zone” too long.
  9. Meats will usually cook faster than most vegetables in a slow cooker.
  10. Dark meat takes longer to cook. So if you’re using a whole cut up chicken, put the have the thighs and legs on the bottom.
  11. Organic, corn fed, or free range poultry is ideal for slow cooker recipes since they have a slightly coarser texture.

These meat and poultry tips will keep you safe and also make your slowcooker meals more tasty. By the way, if you’re new to slow cookers, have you ever wondered why there’s a high, medium and low setting? Find out more about slow cooker settings right here.

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