SLOW COOKER THURSDAY

 

 

For this week’s Slow Cooker Thursday entry I’m posting some tips in addition to a recipe.    All of my information and recipe are coming from Family Fun.com

To see more Slow Cooker Thursday entries, please visit Sandra over at Diary of a SAHM 

 

Buying a Slow Cooker  

by Jon Adolph

 

Today’s slow cookers are a far cry from the first simple appliances of the seventies. If you’re ready to upgrade (or venture into the crock world for the first time), here are some of the questions to consider:How big? Slow cookers can be as small as 2 quarts to as large as 6.5 quarts, with the ideal size for a family probably falling in the 3- to 4-quart range. Since crocks cook best when they are at least half full, you want the unit’s size to reflect how much food your family typically needs (or how much you like leftovers).

Removable liner or one-piece unit? A removable stoneware crock makes for simple clean-up and transport and is convenient for storing leftovers or ready-to-be-crocked meals in the fridge. One-piece units reportedly heat up quicker and cook faster.

Round or oval? Long cuts of meat like brisket and whole chickens fit better in an oval crock, although you can often trim most cuts to fit in a round crock. Round crocks might fit better on the counter.

Programmable or manual? A preset timing function lets you set both the heat (high or low) and the cooking time (6 to 10 hours). When the food is done, the unit goes to a warming mode. This is great if you’re going to be away from the kitchen all day or suffer from episodes of amnesia. Manual models, which you simply turn to low or high, generally cost a little less.

What brand? There are many familiar names to choose from (Proctor Silex, Hamilton Beach, West Bend, and, of course, the company that started it all, Rival). According to the ratings on Epinions (epinions.com), you really can’t go wrong with any of them. The device is so simple it seems hard to make a bad one. Prices range from $20 to $60.

Slow-Cooking Hints  

Tips and recipes for slow cooking

 

Today’s cooks have learned to master recipes custom-made for the slow cooker, with spectacular results. Sadly, many crockery pot users from the avocado-green and harvest-gold decade never quite got the hang of it. “People were not applying the tenets of good cooking to slow-cooked recipes,” says Rick Rodgers, author of THE SLOW COOKER READY AND WAITING COOKBOOK. “You can’t just throw a chicken in a pot, add a can of soup, put the lid on, and come back 10 hours later and expect it to be delicious.” That was the expectation of many people at the time, and when they ended up with a dish that was about as spicy as Marie Osmond, they blamed the slow cooker. Rodgers’ remedy? “Essentially, what I’m asking people to do is to spend an extra 10 minutes to brown the meat and saute the vegetables before they put it into the slow cooker,” Rodgers says. The caramelization of the ingredients adds a depth of flavor to any dish.

But browning is where Natalie Haughton draws the line. “I think that defeats the purpose,” says the author of THE BEST SLOW COOKER COOKBOOK EVER. “My theory is, if you’re using a slow cooker, you want it easy, and you want it finished and ready to serve when the pot is done.”Haughton reserves browning only for ground turkey and ground beef, because this step adds color and prevents the meat from cooking in clumps.

Safety Concerns  

Tips and recipes for slow cooking

 

Although Haughton is now considered an authority on slow cookers, there was a time when she worried about bacterial growth in the prepared food. Haughton spoke to food technologists at the University of California at Davis, who assured her that the slow cooker’s Low (about 200 F) and High (about 300 F) temperature settings meet safety standards, since bacterial growth is inhibited at temperatures above 130 F. Fears behind her, Haughton is now the slow cooker’s biggest supporter. “I think it’s a boon to cooking,” she says, “especially if people can feel like they’ve done something and they haven’t really put a lot of time into it.”

“I feel safe using a slow cooker,” says Todd Chandler, a Web site production supervisor in New York. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving a stove on for a long time, much less when I’m not home.”

 

 

A Stirring History  

Tips and recipes for slow cooking

 

If it is such a great appliance, why is it that people fell out of love with the slow cooker?

“First of all, they’re ugly,” says Lora Brody, author of LORA BRODY PLUGGED IN. “Some people equate it with old-fashioned kinds of things, but not old-fashioned in a good way. Old-fashioned in a sort of dowdy way.” Brody has learned to overlook the slow cooker’s appearance and loves what it has to offer. It has become one of the teaching tools used in her cooking classes. “People think they’re going to learn the hottest, hippest thing in the world, the new thing to come down the pike,” she says, “and then I put a slow cooker up on the counter.”

CROCK-POT’S DEBUT
The first slow cooker was introduced in the early 1970s by Rival, under the trademarked name Crock-Pot. Today, two models of this appliance exist on the market: multicookers and the original slow cooker. Multicookers can be used to deep-fry, steam and slow-cook.

The crockery is an excellent insulator and keeps the cooking temperature even, so it doesn’t require constant attention. Because multicookers heat from the bottom, food must be watched carefully and continuously stirred to prevent scorching. Slow cookers, which range in size from eight ounces to six quarts, have a crockery insert that may or may not be removable. The insert rests in a metal housing unit that heats from the sides.

Here’s one of my favorite things to do with the crockpot…..

Pork (or Beef) on a Bun

 
The following recipe is so easy, it seems almost fraudulent to present it here as something original. But it’s just too good to keep secret. If you love pulled pork or brisket that’s been slow-cooked by a genuine barbecue joint, you’ll be amazed at how close you can get with a slow cooker. The final flavor will be determined largely by the brand of barbecue sauce you select, so use a fresh bottle and consider one that has a touch of smoke flavor.

1 3- to 4-pound pork-butt roast or beef brisket
Salt and pepper to taste
2 medium onions, sliced
1 16-ounce jar barbecue sauce
Soft rolls

Step 1
Carefully trim the meat of visible fat and season it with salt and pepper. Place the onions in the bottom of the crock, then lay the meat on top of them. (You may have to cut the brisket in half and stack the pieces.)

Step 2
Pour about a half cup of the barbecue sauce over the meat and flip it around to coat it. Cover and let it cook for 9 to 10 hours on low.

Step 3
Carefully remove the cooked meat from the crock and pour out the fat and juices, retaining the onions. For the pork: Using two forks, shred the meat into stringy chunks, discarding any fat.

Step 4
Put the meat back in the crock, mix in the remaining barbecue sauce, and let it cook another half hour or so. (You could eat it now, but it’s better if it soaks awhile.)

Step 5
For the beef: Slice the brisket across the grain and place it on a platter, discarding any fat. Cover it with sauce and let it sit for 10 minutes or so if you can bear it! Serve on soft rolls, onions on the side. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

 

 

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9 Responses to SLOW COOKER THURSDAY

  1. Bridget says:

    Wow–that is great information!! I love the recipe also!

  2. Renee' says:

    Thanks for the tips and the recipe looks great!

  3. mjpuzzlemom says:

    Yummy! Thanks for the tips too!

    MJ

  4. Sandra says:

    I love that you shared all that wonderful info.

    The recipe looks amazing too, going to write it down and make it soon 🙂

    Hugs,
    â?¥Sandraâ?¥

  5. Lorie says:

    Looks great!

  6. annie says:

    Great information Lori! I love using my crock pot all the time… it’s one of my favorite toys.

  7. Renee' says:

    Hi Lori,
    Thanks by stopping by my blog. If you plan on doing the Deli chicken, use aluminum to set the chicken on. I don’t know why but the reaction between the aluminum/chicken and salt is what gives it the “deli” flavor. Have a great weekend!

  8. Tracy says:

    WOW – I have a feeling that this will be a recipe that my hubby will LOVE!!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    Hugs, Hugs
    Trace

  9. Michelle says:

    Isn’t familyfun.com great for tips, info, recipes etc? I get their magazine too.

    What an easy pork recipe – and I like that it has so few ingredients!

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