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Old 09-23-2007, 10:10 AM   #1
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I REALLY wish I liked Slow Cooker Meals

O.K. I've had my Crockpot for many, many years. I have several Crockpots now. I also have several Slow Cooker cookbooks. But to be honest, after all these years of wanting so to enjoy these meals, I'm rarely happy with the final product. IMO the meat is tender, yet tastes dry, the flavors all meld into one. I've tried all different cuts of meat, different recipes, adjusted cooking times, etc. I don't want to give up but I'm just about there. Why does braising on/in the stove taste soooo much better? Is it just me?

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Old 09-23-2007, 10:34 AM   #2
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Gee, Pytn, I'm sorry you have been disappointed. We've always been quite pleased with the meals that were prepared in out crock-pot(s). Yep, we have several, too.

As a matter of fact, I did an experiment in June in which I planned nearly all our menus of the month using the crock-pot. After it was all said and done, of the 27 meals (2 omitted because of monthly dinner meetings and 1 because we ate out), I wound up preparing 20 of them in the crock-pot. The ones that weren't done in the crock-pot were the few we cooked on the grill outside or fish dishes.

You mentioned you have several crock-pot cookbooks. Do you have any by Mabel Hoffman? Her books, especially Crockery Cookery, are the best IMO. I've cooked nearly every recipe out of that book. I got it in the early '70s when I got my first crock-pot, which I'm still using. You might want to give one of her books a try.

And, actually, since I've been without an oven for over 2 weeks, we're having a teriyaki beef dish cooked in the crock-pot for tonight's meal. The recipe is from Crockery Cookery and we're looking forward to it.

Good luck with crock-pot cooking.
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Old 09-23-2007, 11:12 AM   #3
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I always start my crockpot meals in a pan/stock pot on the stove first. This is where I brown the meats and veggies to give that flavor you can only achieve on a stovetop. I'll finish the whole dish on the stove, then transfer to the crockpot for the 'long haul'.

I also add certain items hours later to the crockpot. Like canned beans and potatoes that could turn to mush. Also, other ingredients that would add freshness, like corn or fresh herbs are added toward the end as well.
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Old 09-23-2007, 12:06 PM   #4
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Katie, I do have that book by Mabel Hoffman. It was my first crockpot book. And I always brown the meat before putting in the crockpot. I guess what bugs me the most is the texture of the meat. To me it tastes tender, yet dry, and the flavor seems to have leached out of it. I do have a few cherished recipes that somehow work for me. But by and large I'm usually dissapointed in the results.
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Old 09-23-2007, 12:10 PM   #5
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That's interesting, Pytn. We've never had any dry meat. Although I do have to admit that I don't brown any of the meat I cook in the crock-pot unless the recipe calls for it. And it's always very flavorful. I can't figure out what you might be doing that would cause the results you are getting.
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Old 09-23-2007, 12:17 PM   #6
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Maybe you should stick to stew type dishes in the crockpot rather than pot roast type meals? That would avoid most of the texture issues you describe, and you sort of WANT a homogenous flavour in a stew.
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Old 09-23-2007, 01:12 PM   #7
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If your choice of meat is too lean, to me - will be dry.
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Old 09-23-2007, 01:51 PM   #8
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Miss PytnPlace...

IMH and unscientific opinion, meat that is over braised is rendered, tender, tasteless, flavorless, bland, and unexciting regardless of the appliance used...On the stove, in the stove, over a camp fire, or in a crock pot/slow cooker. It may be the difference you notice between Crockpot and, On/in oven roasts is the amount of time the roast is cooked. Or more specifically the degree of doness of the meat. I would strongly suggest browning the meat prior to cooking, and maybe reducing the time cooked to see if it improves the quality.

Enjoy!
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Old 09-23-2007, 04:54 PM   #9
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I have to admit, as much as I'ved tried, I've never been able to like crockpot cooking either. Maybe it's my recipes. Whatn crockpot cookbook does everyone like best?
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Old 09-23-2007, 05:23 PM   #10
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IMHO there are things that are very well done in the crock pot and things that are much better cooked other ways. One thing is ham. I read that ham is very good cooked in a crock pot, but we like our ham baked and we like it so well that way that I don't even try it in the crock pot anymore - it wasn't nearly as good to me. I like stews, some roasts and love veggies cooked in my small crock pot. Some soups are good in them and some are better on top of the stove. I couldn't eat every day from the crock pot.
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