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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Slow Cooker & Crock-Pot Cooking / Crock pot - what am I doing wrong?
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    Crock pot - what am I doing wrong?

    Lara N
    Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:29 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Hi, if someone could help me with the following I'd so appreciate it!

    I bought a crock pot (or slow cooker? not sure of the difference) recently and I've been trying some things out with mixed success. Dishes with a lot of liquid turn out ok, but it seems like a lot of the juices evaporate so quickly and leave the meat very dry. For example yesterday I tried making this kalua pig:

    Basically it's just pork, salt and a few drops of liquid smoke.

    When I checked the cooker today after 12 hours, which is not even as long as the recipe suggests, the pork was all very browned and dry, almost no liquid! I actually added half a cup of water a few hours back so I'm really confused why so much liquid is evaporating. I can't see any hole in the lid and I checked that the lid was sitting properly.

    The only thing I can think of is that I didn't use as much meat as in the recipe; I probably used about 600g / 1.3 lb in quite a large cooker. I always use the low heat setting. What am I doing wrong?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

    Read more:
    Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:51 pm
    Forum Host
    I think you've hit upon the explanation. 1.3 lbs of meat in a large cooker will cook quickly even on low. Slow cookers work most efficiently when they are half to 2/3 full. Your small roast in a large crockpot will not work with the recipe as written. The recipe calls for a 6 lb roast, which is quite large. Your roast is less than 1/4th of that. It was probably done in three hours or so

    Also, did you use pork butt or shoulder? Or did you use something like tenderloin? Tenderloin is a lean cut and is not the best choice for slow cookers, IMO.

    Slow cooker is the generic name, crockpot is the brand name from Rival.
    Lara N
    Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:44 am
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Thanks for your reply, it was really helpful. I'm a bit disappointed though because if I'd known about the size/amount efficiency I would have bought one or two sizes smaller; I thought it would be good for when we have company but really it's a lot of space to fill when I'm cooking for one or two! Do you think it's possible to get the tenderness of meat from cooking just for a few hours? Would I be able to cook it longer if I added more liquid, or would that be disgusting? I'm a beginner for any kind of cooking so I really don't know what to expect...

    I can't remember what cut the pork was, but it was definitely lean. What would you recommend?

    Thanks in advance!
    Red Apple Guy
    Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:34 pm
    Forum Host
    duonyte is right about the amount in the pot. The cooker is sized to cook at least half of the volume of the crock. If it's a 6 quart crock, then the heater is sized to cook from 3 to 4 quarts of food. Typically that is 6 to 8 lbs of food.

    You can adjust to the high rate of cooking when cooking smaller portions, but that would strickly be trial and error. A meat thermometer would tell you when the item is done (180 to 200F is what I look for, plus the tenderness of the food.

    You could cook other food items along with the main ingredient, using heat-safe containers or foil to separate the foods.

    You could cook larger amounts and freeze the extra food.
    Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:44 pm
    Forum Host
    I like pork shoulder or butt in the slow cooker (really the same cut). It has a reasonable amount of fat which will melt away and keep the pork moist.

    If using beef, chuck is a great cut for the crockpot - again, it has a reasonable amount of marbling.

    Do consider making larger quantities and freezing them. I use a 3 qt an a 5 qt slow cooker. Th 3 qt one is ancient, but really enough for the two of us. As 4 qt one is also a good smaller sized one to use.
    Chef #1801339806
    Thu Dec 26, 2013 10:18 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I have thrown many a small roasts, both Pork and beef, into my 7 qt Slow Cooker, and always have added enough liquid to almost cover the roast, but never over 2/3 full, and have never lost any liquid while cooking,

    One of my favorite recipes is so easy it ridiculous.

    2 cans Mushroom soup. I use Campbells, the other soups make this too runny
    Butt pork chops, as many as is needed to feed the number expected to eat this
    put Pork Chops in frying pan, brown both sides, do not cook
    in bowl, put the contents of the cans of soup in. Add about an inch of milk into one of the cans, add the milk to the soup, Add no more liquids, mix. You can add spices here, to any flavour you you want, I sometimes add some fresh garlic or onions. Pour this over the Pork Chops, in the Slow Cooker. Do not mix. Turn Slow Cooker to low and cook for 7 1/2 to 8 hours. Serve over rice.
    Red Apple Guy
    Fri Dec 27, 2013 6:42 am
    Forum Host
    Sounds very good. Yes, crock pots tend to "make" liquid since very little evaporation occurs and the food tends to release some water.

    How about picking a name? It would help us get to know you.
    Chef #1801339806
    Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:50 am
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    My name is Dave, I live in southern Ontario, Canada, In city situated on the Grand River. The Bell Homestead is here, although the place where Bell made the first long call from is no longer standing.
    Red Apple Guy
    Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:46 pm
    Forum Host
    Nice to meet ya, Dave. I'm Loren.
    I was referring to a user name. Chef #1801339806 is a mouthful and impossible to remember.
    Chef #1801339806
    Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:55 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Lauren, Here is another recipe for the Slow Cooker I love. It is called Salsa Steak.

    You need
    Round steak, again, as much as the crowd your feeding can eat
    Salt & pepper
    1 can Mushroom soup
    1 cup Salsa

    The How to
    Sprinkle Salt & Pepper on steak, then throw it a frying pan. brown both sides, put in Slow Cooker.
    Put contents of soup can and salsa in the pan you did steak in, mix, be sure to include pan drippings. When done, pour over steaks in the Slow Cooker.
    Set Slow cooker to Low, cook for 7 1/2 hours, then serve over Egg Noodles.
    Red Apple Guy
    Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:54 pm
    Forum Host
    Sounds good. I haven't had round steak in a long time. It's something we grew up eating a lot.

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