If you're like me, you love your slow cooker. It's the perfect way to make a delicious dinner with hardly any effort. But what kind of meat should you use in your slow cooker? Today I'm going to share my favorite types of meat to cook in the slow cooker. Let's get started!
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10 things to look for when buying meat for slow cookers
When it comes to cooking meat in a slow cooker, there are a few things you need to take into consideration. The type of meat, the cut, and the fat content are all important factors that will affect both the flavor and texture of the final dish. Here are 10 tips for choosing the best meat for your slow cooker.
1) Choose the right type of meat.
Beef, pork, and chicken are all common choices for slow cooker recipes. However, not all cuts of meat are created equal. For example, leaner cuts of beef like chuck roast or round steak will become tough and dry if cooked for too long. On the other hand, fatty cuts like short ribs or pork shoulder are ideal for slow cooking since they tenderize nicely and stay moist.
2) Select the right cut.
When it comes to slow cooker recipes, you'll want to choose cuts of meat that have a lot of connective tissue. This includes things like chicken thighs, beef stew meat, or pork spare ribs. The collagen in the connective tissue breaks down during cooking and adds flavor and richness to the dish.
3) Trim the fat.
Although fat is important for flavor, too much of it can make your slow cooker dish greasy. For this reason, it's best to trim away any excess fat before cooking. This will help keep the final dish from being too oily.
4) Marinate the meat.
Marinating meat before cooking it in a slow cooker helps to add flavor and tenderize the meat. However, not all marinades are created equal. Avoid marinades with acidic ingredients like vinegar or lemon juice as these can actually make the meat tougher. Instead, opt for a simple olive oil and herb marinade.
5) Sear the meat before cooking.
Searing the meat before adding it to the slow cooker helps to seal in the juices and adds flavor. Simply brown the meat in a skillet over medium-high heat until it's evenly browned on all sides.
6) Don't overcrowd the slow cooker.
It's important not to overcrowd the slow cooker as this will prevent the meat from cooking evenly. Make sure there's enough space between each piece of meat so that hot air can circulate properly.
7) Add liquid to the slow cooker.
In order for the meat to cook properly, you'll need to add some liquid to the slow cooker. This can be water, chicken broth, beef broth, or even beer or wine. Just make sure to add enough so that the meat is completely covered.
8) Cook on low heat.
Slow cookers typically have two settings, high and low. For most recipes, you'll want to cook the meat on low heat. This slow and steady cooking method helps to tenderize the meat and prevents it from drying out.
9) Don't open the lid too often.
Every time you open the lid of the slow cooker, heat escapes and lengthens the cooking time. So resist the urge to peek inside and only open it when absolutely necessary.
10) Know when the meat is done.
Overcooked meat can become dry and tough, so it's important to know when it's done. The best way to test for doneness is to use a meat thermometer. For chicken, the internal temperature should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit. For beef, it should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit. And for pork, it should be 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Following these tips will help you choose the best meat for your slow cooker recipes and ensure that your dishes turn out flavorful and moist every time.
In short, the best meat for slow cooker recipes is lean, has a lot of connective tissue, and is properly trimmed of fat. It's also important to sear the meat before cooking and to add liquid to the slow cooker. Finally, make sure not to overcook the meat by using a meat thermometer to test for doneness.
If you follow these tips, you'll be sure to choose the best meat for your next slow cooker recipe. So go ahead and give them a try! You might just be surprised at how much better your dishes taste.