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Old 02-24-2012, 11:30 AM   #1
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Crock-Pot Cooking

is it really necessary to start on high for the first hour ,then to low for the rest of time?

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Old 02-24-2012, 11:35 AM   #2
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It depends on what you are cooking.

But it can be unsafe to cook things like chicken on low.
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Old 02-24-2012, 12:11 PM   #3
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I cook everything on low, though I do sear my chicken and pork before putting them in the crock and I make sure there is enough liquid covering them - it gets hot even at low and keeps it safe.

I use my crock pots (yes, more than one) at least once a week and have never made anyone sick!
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Old 02-24-2012, 01:34 PM   #4
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Do you have an older or new crockpot? The new CPs get hot very quickly. I follow the manufacturer's suggestions for my model. Do you have the recipe you could share?
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Old 02-24-2012, 01:39 PM   #5
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crock pot

was told or should say some one said they always start on high for 1 hour to get meat in the safe zone 140, then on low for remainder of time. They do this for all or any recipes.. And its a new Hamilton one.
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mumu View Post
was told or should say some one said they always start on high for 1 hour to get meat in the safe zone 140, then on low for remainder of time. They do this for all or any recipes.. And its a new Hamilton one.
I am not doubting you in any way, mumu, but just by definition and product marketing, a slow cooker is something you put on in the morning and your dinner is ready when you get back. It is a slow cooker. I have been using them for years and have never come across a recipe that starts on high and is turned to low after awhile. If anything it will start on low and then you turn to high for any finishing touches such as thickener or fresh veggies/herbs, etc.
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Old 02-24-2012, 03:16 PM   #7
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crock pot cooking

I been to about .com on crockpot cooking....and it also says about 1 hour on high. And I agree with what you said LBeier too.
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Old 02-24-2012, 03:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mumu View Post
is it really necessary to start on high for the first hour ,then to low for the rest of time?
I expect different recipes have different requirements. Also, newer cookers have higher minimum temperature settings to address food safety concerns. If the instruction manual for your cooker says to do that, do that. Otherwise, follow recipes from reliable sources.
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Old 02-24-2012, 03:43 PM   #9
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I have, at times, tried to shorten the total time by starting on high, but I doubt it accomplished much. Last weekend, I had a large whole pork loin that I cut into three pieces and browned well on all sides in a pan and then stuck them in the pot with salt and sage. Starting and finishing in LOW. It still just takes a few hours.

But for recommendations on slow cooker issues, remember that old references and old cooks may refer to old slow cookers. Specifications have been changed at some point to bring food more rapidly to the target 140F. And that had created a lot of complaints about overcooking. It also accounts for the bewildering range of cited temperatures. At one time, slow cookers were intended to reach 140F on Low and a bit over 212F on High. Now, it's more like 200F and 300F. Properly designed, one hour of High should be about two hours on Low. So the lawyerly caution dictates the Low setting be so high, and that determines the High temperature. I would also assume that the instructions in a 1970's slow cooker cookbook should be followed with caution and checking the food at a little more than half of the recommended time. With undated recipes, the problem is not knowing the source.

Also remember that the basic models are not thermostatically controlled devices. They are simply two different arrays of elements of given wattages. The designers assume a considerable heat sink in the form of the food. And the unloaded cooker must still be able to run empty indefinitely without being dangerous. It's a safe bet that the Low setting on new slow cookers will get a normal load of food up to 140 during a theoretical safe time.

Don't take a blindly simplistic view of safe temperatures. With solid cuts of meat, the internal temperature is not much of an issue. (Rare steak, for instance.) And salmonella and trichinosis are killed at 131F and 135F, respectively, when held for any reasonable cooking time. 140F is not a magic temperature - it's just a fudge factor applied to a guess adjusted for people who might have inaccurate thermometers. Ground meat I didn't grind myself I wouldn't consider safe unless incinerated.
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Old 02-24-2012, 04:26 PM   #10
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My first crockpot many years ago had the function to start at high and turn to low later on, automatically. I was disappointed that my new one doesn't have that. It has to be done manually. Fine for me since I'm retired, but wouldn't be good for someone who wants to have their meal ready when they come home from work.
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