Chuck tough after low 6 hr. but tender after high on 4 hr.?

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Senior Cook
May 15, 2020
Prior Lake
MIL has a question I can't figure out. She made a recipe in the crockpot as follows:

A 3 pound chuck roast
1 stick butter
1 package hidden ranch seasoning
1 package a jus powder

She generally throws this into a slow cooker and cooks it on HIGH for 4 hours and it is fall apart tender.

Today she threw it into a slow cooker and cooked it on LOW for 6 hours. It is still very tough. Why would low make it tougher than high? The cut and ingredients were all the same as before; I can't figure this out. I thought low was always preferable as it's more similar to a traditional braise (though sans liquid). Any help or info would be appreciated.
My general rule of thumb is this: slow cook time = high cook time * 2. If it cooks on high for four hours, expect it to take eight hours on low. Perhaps more. If she's working with the instant pot, she could turn it into a pressure cooker for 15 minutes, and that would make the roast tender enough for y'all.
Also, check the temperature of the low temp mode - some brands have a very low temperatures on the low, so low that CR gives them bad ratings, and it could affect the time it takes to tenderize the meat. Remember, it will eventually tenderize - it just takes a long time. Think about a sous vide, and how long that takes, but it eventually does it at low temps!
Low is generally around 200 Fahrenheit, good for reheats or keeping things warm but not for any actually cooking of a 3lb piece of meat in a reasonable amount of time. imo.
Meat fibers have to reach a certain temperature before they start to break down, which is 160 F to 170 F for beef and pork cuts high in collagen. I have no idea what the low temperature setting is on a cockpot because I don't use one. However, if the meat never gets to the temperature noted above, it will never breakdown and tenderize regardless of how long you cook it.

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