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Old 02-27-2006, 09:41 PM   #11
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In the "old" days a crockpot had one temp - 200º F. Then a few years ago they got fancy and added low/high temp settings (200º and 300º F). Now, they have variable temp settings that go up to 375º-400º F. Not your Mama's crockpot.

One of the reasons for the 200ºF temp was that it takes +180ºF to melt the connective tissue in tough cuts of meat (like chuck roast) - which was one of the selling points of the original crockpot.

While having a crockpot was a blessing when I was young, going to college, and working full-time (before the days of microwave ovens) - they were really limited in what they really did well. I haven't owned one since about 1975 - and have never missed it.

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Old 02-27-2006, 09:55 PM   #12
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You could plug the crock pot into a timer.... just a thought. I use them for my fish so the lights come on automatically... maybe if you did the same thing, you could save a trip to the house? Personally, I would not buy a timer for this reason, but if you happen to have one handy... well there you go!

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Old 02-27-2006, 10:05 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by sattie
You could plug the crock pot into a timer...
That leaves a crock pot full of unrefrigerated food for hours. This is a potentially dangerous situation.
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 02-27-2006, 10:28 PM   #14
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I was thinking about replacing my 32 year-old crockpoy as the outside is showing signs of age. From what I've read here, I think I'll keep it until it quits.
Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back.--unknown, at least to me
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Old 02-28-2006, 09:30 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Andy M.
That leaves a crock pot full of unrefrigerated food for hours. This is a potentially dangerous situation.
You got a point there..... did not even think about that. DOH!
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Old 03-01-2006, 05:43 PM   #16
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I have noticed that with my newer crockpot too. It's not a problem for me, though, since I'm home all day. But a vension roast takes only 5-6 hours at the most, instead of all day.
The thing I love about it is that it saves me so much time on my feet...those poor old feet and that back are worn out. My recipe makes it's own gravy, and I can get all the vegies in that I need, so it becomes a one-pot meal.

You can never beat a roast that's been seared and braised in a Dutch oven, though. It's still the best. And it makes the best rich, dark brown gravy.
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Old 03-05-2006, 09:52 PM   #17
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Thank you very much for all the help. I will try another pot roast, cooking it for a shorter time. We'll see!!!!
I do have success in cooking things like stuffed peppers and stuffed cabbage. Also, I like to cook soups all night.
Maybe, I'll do chicken, etc. the old fashioned way.
Thanks again.
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Old 10-20-2006, 04:57 PM   #18
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I purchased a slowcooker just a couple of years ago here in New Zealand and while i do not use it as often as I thought I would, I think it is fabulous. It has three heat settings and I find that on the low setting the recipes take the full 8 to 10 hours that the recipe book suggests. The results have all been great. I now cook in bulk and have a freezer full of delicious single serve meals for when I am busy. I like it because it is able to use less expensive cuts of meat into tasty meals.

I am looking for chicken curry / casserole recipes though or recommendations for a good slow cooker recipe book. Any suggestions welcome.
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Old 10-20-2006, 07:23 PM   #19
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I never use my slow-cooker for poultry, only for beef and pork. I have often made both pulled pork (after smoking in the Webber kettle with chunks of apple wood) and shredded beef, as well as stew and soups with excellent results, even when cooking for 10 to 12 hours or more.

To be successful with meats, one only needs to understand what meat does at different temperatures. At 140 F. or so, it begins to turn gray and the nasty microbles begin to feel the heat. By 145, the microbial pests are dying, but the meat is still tender and juicy. By 165, poultry is completely safe and is white throughout, but still juicy and tender. Between 170 and 175, the muscle fibers begin to tighten, making the meat tougher and squeezing out the moisture. But 180, you're eating cardboard.

Where the heat comes from doesn't matter, be it from hot liquid, a dry oven, contact with a hot surface, or by radiation , either thermal (charcoal/gas-grill/broiler/wood-fire), or elctro-magnetic (microwaves). The meat reacts to the temperature, not the heat source.

My slow cooker has three temperature settings, high, low, and warm. I use high to quickly bring the vessel to temperature, then turn to low until the meat is done to my liking (three to four hours depending on what I'm making), and then on warm, which is designed to keep the food at around 140 to 145 degrees or so. I never let the liquid come to a boil. But I also always remember that there is a place where the meat doesn't follow the rules as stated above.

As meat with significant connecting tissue and fat comes to around 180 degrees, that connecting tissue and fat begins to melt and dissolve into the liquid. I lubricates the individual meat strands, allowing them to slide apart easily (pulled pork and shredded beef, or a wel-done pot roast). The meat will literally fall apart if disturbed, say by lifting it to a platter. So, the best roasts to use for pot roast, and shredded or pulled meat dishes should be lower quality pieces with significant connecting tissue, like a chuck roast, blade roast, brisket, etc. With pork, the roast and other cuts from the shoulder should be used.

Lean mets such as tenderloin, sirloin, round, hams etc., easily dry out and become tough when cooked above 160-165 degrees. So think about what you are trying to make, and choose the right cut of meat for the job.

Oh, one more thing, sausage dry out and become tough when boiled. To add flavor to roasts and sausages, brown in a heavy pan and then add to the slow cooker. Cook on low heat until sufficently done and use the warm setting to hold at the correct temperature until served.

If you understand the nature, the physics of cooking, then you will find yourself a very successful cook indeed.

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Old 10-20-2006, 09:03 PM   #20
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I made the mistake of giving away my perfectly good 5 qt Rival crockpot to buy a new 6-quarter, and I ended up having to toss it because all the recipes that worked before were burning. Same thing, I contacted Rival and they acted like it was my fault. Just to let you know, I did buy a Hamilton Beach Stay or Go 6 qt crockpot, and it runs at the proper temperature. I will never buy a Rival again, unless they make some sort of announcement that they have changed it back.

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