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Old 01-17-2007, 10:50 AM   #1
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Crockpot overcooking?

I received a crockpot for Christmas and I really like it. I made a delicious beef stew for very little money, time, and effort. It works really well for me for recipes that require a long time, as I just stick them in and go to work.

However, I'm wondering about recipes with shorter times and if my schedule is acceptable for them as I cannot do the shorter times. For example, I found a whole chicken recipe that says 4-8 hours on low, depending on when the little timer pops up. I'm gone a minimum of 10 hours each day. Since it is a slow cooker, and cooking on low all day, would it burn, ruin, or dry out the chicken if it were indeed done in 4 hours?

I don't expect to turn 2-3 hour recipes into 10 hours, but is it alright to let them go longer than the recipes call for relatively long, low cooking?

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Old 01-17-2007, 12:13 PM   #2
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longer is fine! And, don't forget to try those crock pot liners that Reynold's makes - there's virtually no cleanup afterward.
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Old 01-17-2007, 01:23 PM   #3
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Excellent. Thank you, jkath!
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Old 01-17-2007, 02:02 PM   #4
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It depends on what you're making & the temp of your crockpot, since just like ovens, temps can differ.

I once made stuffed peppers in my crockpot, following the crockpot recipe for them. In fact, I even shortened the cooking time a bit. The peppers were definitely overcooked. In fact, they just fell apart as I removed them.

I don't think you have to worry much about anything burning or drying out. I think you'd be more inclined to find things a bit "soupier", depending on what you were making.

That said, I have to admit that I'm still not comfortable leaving home all day with a crockpot going. I may just be a worrywart, but better that than someone standing on the lawn watching her house burn down - lol!!! So I plan crockpot meals for days when I'll be home busy doing other things. It's still a timesaver.
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Old 01-17-2007, 02:08 PM   #5
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Speaking of crook pots, I don't what I am doing, but I had two of them crack on me, had to throw away, grrr, should have posted this in venting...
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Old 01-17-2007, 02:52 PM   #6
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I am gone for 10+ hours a day and I just always set the crockpot to low - if you make sure there's a little liquid in the pot with the food, it won't burn or anything.
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Old 01-17-2007, 03:11 PM   #7
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Overcooked meat drys out, even if cooked in liquid. It's just the science of it. The liquid within the meat cooks out eventually. The type of meat dictates how long it can cook without drying out.
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Old 01-22-2007, 11:18 AM   #8
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On a related note, can I add things for a little multitasked-cooking as well? For example, can I throw in some potatoes or perhaps some carrots to the afforementioned chicken to cook them alongside, or am I risking undercooking/drying things out?

I know this stuff must vary with the recipe, but is there a general rule I can follow?
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Old 01-22-2007, 11:21 AM   #9
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I could be mistaken, but I think the basic rule of thumb is to put the vegetables in first & the meat on top, to allow the juices to mingle & help cook the veggies. But it's also true that some recipes might be different as far as the layering based on the ingredients.
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Old 01-22-2007, 11:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieD
Speaking of crook pots, I don't what I am doing, but I had two of them crack on me, had to throw away, grrr, should have posted this in venting...
I cracked one when I didn't wait for the crock to cool enough before soaking it in water ... or the water was too cold. I can't imagine putting cold water in it , though.
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