By Leanne Ely
It’s supper time. The smells coming from the kitchen have been making your mouth water all day. Your family is seated around the table, bellies grumbling.
You remove the lid from your slow cooker and your heart sinks. The moist and tender meal you’d been planning on serving has turned into a stringy mess. The slow cooker has ruined your meal! Or has it?
Don’t blame the appliance! Chances are, you just didn’t choose the right cut of meat. Some cuts of meat simply can’t stand up to the long, steady heat of a slow cooker.
How do you know what meats are best for your slow cooker? Look for the less expensive, fattier cuts because lean cuts of meat can’t be cooked for long periods of time without getting stringy and tough. The least expensive cuts at the market have enough fat in them to keep the meat moist while the slow cooking breaks down the tissues for tender results.
When you’re cooking beef, look for shanks, shoulders, rounds, and rumps. If it’s pork you’re cooking, you’re also looking for shanks and shoulders. Few cuts of Lamb will hold up to slow cooking, except for the shanks.
Bone-in chicken thighs and breasts are better for the slow cooker than boneless cuts are. Do re-move the skin before you put the chicken in the slow cooker because otherwise, you end up with rubbery skin and nobody wants that.
As a final tip, remember to brown your meat first when you add it to the slow cooker for greatly improved flavor as a result; except for chicken. Chicken doesn’t need to be browned first. Doing so may actually cause you to overcook it.
And now you know!