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Old 09-11-2021, 04:50 PM   #1
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Swap oven for slow cooker (crockpot)?

I have a lovely-sounding recipe for what is basically "pulled lamb". It requires a leg of lamb to be roasted in the oven for 4 - 5 hours (rubbed in spices, oiled, and half submerged in water, plus heavily wrapped in paper and then foil).

Is there any reason I couldn't just pop my leg of lamb in a slow cooker and get the same result? (Obviously the result I want is lamb that you can pull - so it has to be super soft.)

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Old 09-11-2021, 05:04 PM   #2
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Your recipe uses an oven but it’s not roasted, it’s braised. Your slow cooker will do the same thing but will not taste as good, IMO.
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Old 09-11-2021, 05:13 PM   #3
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But why would it taste different? That's my question.

Putting something in the oven for a very long time - but covered and in liquid - means it doesn't get a crust or caramelisation, so if it is more a question of getting the flavours into the meat and tenderising it, what would be the difference between the oven and the slow cooker? (Other than the cost of the electricity.)
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Old 09-11-2021, 05:33 PM   #4
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I’ve cooked for a million years and to me crock pot food tastes dull and bland.

Whereas food braised in a Dutch oven in an oven tastes deeper and richer.

I can absolutely taste the difference so my crock pot is used to keep food heated for parties, not for actual cooking.

But that’s just me. You could definitely make that recipe in a crock pot, but I don’t know about the setting or how long.
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Old 09-11-2021, 05:41 PM   #5
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Thank you Jennyma!

Honestly, I have been cooking for quite some time too, and I would say there is nothing wrong with a long, slow cook in a slow cooker, but it seems to "steam" meat rather than bring out it's best points.

I guess I just wanted to have someone agree with me.

My leg of lamb will be liberally spiced, oiled and wrapped in paper and foil before having a leisurely sojourn in my oven tomorrow.
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Old 09-11-2021, 05:50 PM   #6
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Hi Katy! *waves wildly* I've made both pulled pork and barbacoa in my slow cooker and have enjoyed the results. Maybe my palate isn't as refined as jenny's. Just watch how much liquid you put in. Sometimes it seems like there is so much liquid you have to wonder if it's a recipe for soup. But you do need enough so it can cook.
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Old 09-11-2021, 05:57 PM   #7
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CG! *waves madly back" I use my slow cooker for stews and it is great for those. But I think for this recipe, the oven is the way to go.

Thanks for the advice on the liquid - I will keep an eye on it.
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Old 09-11-2021, 06:16 PM   #8
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Pulled lamb in the oven probably needs a higher temperature than you could achieve with a slow cooker. I cant be categorical, because Ive never had a slow cooker and have no intention of buying one...but to start the lamb off, youd probably need a temperature of about 350F, and in the later stages, youd need to crank it up to 400-420 to brown it.
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Old 09-11-2021, 06:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karadekoolaid View Post
Pulled lamb in the oven probably needs a higher temperature than you could achieve with a slow cooker. I cant be categorical, because Ive never had a slow cooker and have no intention of buying one...but to start the lamb off, youd probably need a temperature of about 350F, and in the later stages, youd need to crank it up to 400-420 to brown it.
Not a fan of slow cookers. Interesting. I think they have their uses.

The temperature for this recipe is really low (150c) so I don't know how that matches a US oven. And there is no requirement to increase it. Browning is not important to the recipe. (Falling apart tender is the main requirement.)
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Old 09-11-2021, 06:37 PM   #10
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Im a Brit, but my oven ( and ovens, in the past) have always been from the US.
Im no expert on roasting, but Id imagine the 150C (300F) is probably a bit low. I make Mexican pulled pork (called cochinito pibil) which is wrapped in plantain leaves before its baked - again, long and slow - but I put the temperature at 175-180 ( 350 - 360F) and cook it for a good while.
I dont (wont) use a slow cooker because I like to taste my food frequently as it cooks. I cant imagine putting something in a pot and just leaving it there for hours - although I may be wrong!
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Old 09-11-2021, 06:49 PM   #11
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My oven is very standard and 150 is lowish on the available scale. It starts at 120 and goes up to a maximum of 220. (Still manage to get pretty decent home made pizzas.)

As for slow cookers, I can and do taste my food - I just open the lid and taste/test/adjust. Why would you think you couldn't/wouldn't do that?
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Old 09-11-2021, 06:54 PM   #12
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Ignorance, of course - as Ive never had one! Ive heard so many stories of people who put their food in a slow cooker and go off to work. Must be that it stuck in my mind.
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Old 09-11-2021, 07:04 PM   #13
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I think that is a common view of a slow cooker.

I don't use mine often, and have never "chucked a load of stuff in" before going to work!

I doubt I have swayed you into buying one, but I will say they can be useful to get a joint of meat tender if you have a lot of time available. (Never for use with poultry!)
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Old 09-11-2021, 07:42 PM   #14
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Attached is a lengthy article from seriouseats.com. It compares results from slow cookers, dutch ovens and pressure cookers. It's eye-opening.

https://www.seriouseats.com/why-pres...n-slow-cookers

While the article focuses and promotes pressure cookers as the best option, they describe the differences among all three cooking devices.
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Old 09-11-2021, 08:22 PM   #15
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Spoon-leg-of-lamb is a name for a dish made in a dutch oven, or in a roasting pan, sealed with foil, and the lamb is either browned in oil in the pan (my favorite way to do this), or placed in the pan, with the lid off, in a high heat oven, to brown. Then, it is put in the pan, on a bed of mirepoix, along with some rosemary, and a cup of white wine. w
The lid was sealed with dough, in the old recipes, and cooked at a very low temperature - I think it was 225 for 6 hours, in the first one I did. I have a 9 qt oval Dutch oven, which is great for this. A crock pot is not going to give the same flavor of any of these methods, using the even lower temps.
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Old 09-12-2021, 09:15 AM   #16
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I have braised in the oven, and slow cooker both. The difference is in temperature control. A typical oven has temperature ranges between 170' F (76.6' C) to 500' F (260' C). This allows you to control the braising temperature. A slow cooker has three heat settings, warm, which keeps food at about 145' F (62.8' C), low, which is a slow simmer, or high - medium boil). Water boils at 100' C, which can overcook meats, and dry them out. So if braising in the slow cooker, cook on low to avoid that, and get that pull-apart, tender, moist meat you are looking for. Trust me on this. I once put some meat in the slow cooker, covered in braising liquid, set on high, covered it, and let it cook all night while I slept. I checked my roast the next morning. It was still covered in liquid. I was expecting something wonderful. What I got was very tough, dry meat.

As meat is heated past 145'F (62.7' C), the proteins begin to contract, squeezing out juices, and becoming more resilient (tougher). Interestingly, a piece of meat that has significant fat marbling, collagen, and gristle, cooked for 30 minutes or more between 190; F. (87.8' C), and 210' F (98.9' C) actually becomes more tender and flavorful as the fat, collagen, and gristle melt, and soften.

So, depending on the meat marbling, the amount of fat and gristle, adjust the braising temperature to get the best results. Whether you use the oven, or slow cooker, the flavor will be the same. Heat is heat. Where it comes from doesn't matter. Both your Dutch oven, and slow cooker insert are ceramic, and so will not affect the flavor. The only caveat here is that all of the Dutch oven will be at the same temperature, while the slow cooker insert is heated by a band that surrounds it, giving you a hot spot right around the middle of the sides. For your roast, this won't be a problem. For sauces, chili, and stews, this can cause burning, or over cooking at that hotter section, and so the need to be stirred every 15 to 20 minutes to avoid that issue.

Hope this helps. Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 09-12-2021, 09:47 AM   #17
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I just read the article provided by Andy. The slow cooker I used was taken apart for cleaning. The heating element was a metal band that was attached to the side walls, about mid center Hight on the slow cooker. It didn't heat from the bottom. I guess it depends on the brand.

Other than that, the article author got the same results as I get with all three devices. I prefer a pressure cooker over the other two. But that's just a personal preference.

Oh, and thanks, Andy.

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Old 10-01-2021, 06:26 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Attached is a lengthy article from seriouseats.com. It compares results from slow cookers, dutch ovens and pressure cookers. It's eye-opening.

https://www.seriouseats.com/why-pres...n-slow-cookers

While the article focuses and promotes pressure cookers as the best option, they describe the differences among all three cooking devices.
I read this. It is lengthy. But it makes a lot of sense. Thanks Andy.
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