T Nation

Slow Cooker Lovers?


#1

I just bought a slow cooker. Any of you guys use this piece of equipment on the regular?

If so what sort of recipes do you make in it?


Favorite Crockpot Recipes
Getting Back Into Lifting After Long Period Off
#2

First you start with a full pound of American cheese…

Oh wait, this is T-Nation.

I like chicken tacos. Just put some boneless/skinless breasts (or any cut of chicken, for that matter) in with a bit of water and taco seasoning, cook on low until it pulls apart easily and the liquid reduces. Now you’re eating tacos.

Pulled pork works the same way. Just put it in with some water on low, season it up and let it cook all day. You can just eat the pork if you’re avoiding bread. I also consider pulled pork to be an excellent condiment for a cheeseburger.

Soups and stews can also be really good, cheap and easy. Google will give you better recipes than I can. My chili recipe is in the chili thread and it would work just fine in a slow cooker.


#3

best thing ever. Lend themselves really well to the style of cooking where you just dump a shitload of stuff in and let it simmer until it’s cooked.

Really good for cheap cuts of beef as you can just stew away at them for hours.


#4

I use mine damn near every day. Great way to put in a little labor in the morning and come home with a post-workout meal ready and waiting in the evening.

I basically echo twojarslave and Yogi. Google some recipes for ideas, but “recipes” aren’t really necessary. A slow cooker is magic because it keeps almost any piece of meat tender if you cook it long enough. For example:

  1. Put 4 (bone-in) beef short ribs in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Chop an onion and a couple of potatoes. Salt liberally.
  3. Pour in a few tablespoons of vinegar and a few tablespoons of water.
  4. Set on low and cook all day.
  5. Profit.

You can do this with damn near ANY cut of meat. A whole chicken. Chicken drumsticks. Beef ribs. Pork shanks. You name it.

If you’re into the finer end of things, make duck confit.

  1. Melt a whole bunch of duck fat in the slow cooker.
  2. Place 2-4 duck legs in the melted duck fat. Salt liberally.
  3. Set on low and cook all day.
  4. REALLY profit.

#5

I usually slow cook a whole chicken, duck, pot roast or turkey breast 1x/week using my slow cooker.

Just take out the giblets, etc., season with salt and pepper quite liberally, and then throw the meat in the slow cooker with a small amount of chicken or beef broth in the bottom, i.e., 3/4 of a cup or so. You can add in veggies too; I sometimes add chopped celery, carrot sticks, or even white potatoes with the roast or chicken. I turn it on the lowest, slow cook setting before I walk out the door at 7 AM and it’s ready when I get home between 4-5 PM.

I have used the slow cooker to make chili before too - just search for a standard “paleo chili” recipe online. You can get creative and add meats and veggies of your choosing, especially if you do or don’t like certain frequent flyers that are in standard chili.


#6

I use mine to make turkey chili and some shredded chicken dishes :slight_smile: Cooking chicken breasts in salsa verde is a favorite of mine, and you can also use hot sauce if you’re looking for healthy options. I recently read online that you can use them to cook sweet potatoes, but I haven’t tried it yet. I really need to look into that.


#7

I’ll second all the above.

I love my slow cooker. Pork shoulder, short ribs, chili, stews, lamb shanks, ossobuco…

Pick the cheaper cuts of meat and look for shoulders, shanks, rounds, and rumps.

Don’t use water as your braising liquid, use stock, broth, wine, or beer. Salt at the end; as the liquid evaporates the salt will become concentrated.


#8

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:

Don’t use water as your braising liquid, use stock, broth, wine, or beer.[/quote]

I know enough about cooking to feel mildly embarrassed at the fact that I have not been doing this.

Then again, I never put much effort into my slow-cooking, which is precisely why it is so appealing.

I’ll be trying this in the near future.


#9

I think I’m going to make some French dip sandwiches today. I’ll take pics if I end up doing it.


#10

I literally just finished a pork “sirloin” roast made in the slow cooker. My main motivation w/ it is laziness, so I basically try to make as much hard to cook meat at once. Given that, I don’t bother w/ anything ground because it cooks so fast anyway and I don’t bother browning the meat (though, it tastes a lot better) because I don’t want to bother washing the pan. Likewise, I don’t really bother w/ stews because veggies cook quick, so I just put veggies on top of my meat w/ whatever space is leftover. I did make a pumpkin and lentil stew last week, which was a mistake… though, there’s a slow cooker recipe out there for “African Sweet Potato Stew” that has peanut butter in it and is amazing.

Other things i’ve made: whole poultry, london broil, st. louis style ribs (if you need bbq sauce, broil them after), sinigang (Ox tail), and more poultry.


#11

My first attempt with a slow cooker went awful.

Chicken breasts cut up (2)
italian sausages (3)
1 cup uncooked white jasmine rice
Large onion (1)
garlic cloves chopped (4)
spinach (handful)
salt
pepper.
water.

rice was kinda mush, garlic and onion taste were super strong, and stew was watery.

What I learned

1)garlic and onion taste in a slow cooker are amplified vs in a pan - go easy
2) use rice that will stand up to a slow cooker - dark brown rice
3) don’t stew with water (as noted above) use a broth.
4) better spice blend.


#12

[quote]therajraj wrote:
My first attempt with a slow cooker went awful.

Chicken breasts cut up (2)
italian sausages (3)
1 cup uncooked white jasmine rice
Large onion (1)
garlic cloves chopped (4)
spinach (handful)
salt
pepper.
water.

rice was kinda mush, garlic and onion taste were super strong, and stew was watery.

What I learned

1)garlic and onion taste in a slow cooker are amplified vs in a pan - go easy
2) use rice that will stand up to a slow cooker - dark brown rice
3) don’t stew with water (as noted above) use a broth.
4) better spice blend.

[/quote]

I would recommend cooking the rice separately and adding to the slow-cooker at the very end. I would even suggest letting the stuff in the slow-cooker cool off a bit before adding the rice so it doesn’t over-cook.


#13

Juniper berries aren’t always easy to find and are totally unnecessary:

I would drop-kick a kitten to get this meat in my mouth…


#14

[quote]therajraj wrote:
My first attempt with a slow cooker went awful.

Chicken breasts cut up (2)

[/quote]

Here’s your problem.

The slow cooker is not for lean cuts of meat, you’ll notice nowhere on any ones list is chicken breast, pork tenderloin, filet mignon, etc. Nor do you chop up the meat, keep it whole. If it gets shredded like a pork shoulder, shred it at the end.

Lean cuts of meat get high heat for short amounts of time. Tough cuts of meat get relatively low heat for long amounts of time. I don’t love any poultry in a slow cooker as the skin doesn’t crisp up. It just lays there in a rubbery mess.

Get a pork shoulder (do you eat pork?) or a chuck roast or bottom round roast. Brown the piece of meat in a pan, then rub it all over with the seasoning of your choice (no salt just yet), then put it in the slow cooker with some vegetable stock 1/3 of the way up the meat and coursely chopped vegetables like onion, carrot, and celery. Turn on low for 4-6 hours and come back to the goodness that is a slow cooked roast.

Promise me no more chicken breast in a slow cooker.


#15

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:

Promise me no more chicken breast in a slow cooker.
[/quote]

Hogwash. Boneless/skinless breasts in a slow cooker works fine for shredded chicken tacos!

What he was trying to do…

Not so much.


#16

[quote]Dr. Pangloss wrote:

[quote]therajraj wrote:
My first attempt with a slow cooker went awful.

Chicken breasts cut up (2)

[/quote]

Here’s your problem.

The slow cooker is not for lean cuts of meat, you’ll notice nowhere on any ones list is chicken breast, pork tenderloin, filet mignon, etc. Nor do you chop up the meat, keep it whole. If it gets shredded like a pork shoulder, shred it at the end.

Lean cuts of meat get high heat for short amounts of time. Tough cuts of meat get relatively low heat for long amounts of time. I don’t love any poultry in a slow cooker as the skin doesn’t crisp up. It just lays there in a rubbery mess.

Get a pork shoulder (do you eat pork?) or a chuck roast or bottom round roast. Brown the piece of meat in a pan, then rub it all over with the seasoning of your choice (no salt just yet), then put it in the slow cooker with some vegetable stock 1/3 of the way up the meat and coursely chopped vegetables like onion, carrot, and celery. Turn on low for 4-6 hours and come back to the goodness that is a slow cooked roast.

Promise me no more chicken breast in a slow cooker.
[/quote]

+1

Lamb (Shoulder, Leg, whatever).
Duck Legs. For Real.
Whole Chickens (or at least skin-on thighs & drumsticks)
Beef Roasts & Briskets & Shoulders.
Short Ribs (my personal favorite).


#17

Yesterday I threw in 3 lbs boneless/skinless chicken (sorry Pangloss), topped with a decent amount of salsa and cooked on high for 3 - 4 hours. Added two cans of black beans for another 30 minutes or so at the end. Served over rice with some sour cream and a squeeze of lime. Not delicious because I put nearly zero effort into it, but pretty tasty overall. A few simple additions of spices or whatnot probably would have pushed it from “good” to “great”.

When starting off, keep it simple.


#18

OK, maybe I’m being too pedantic about the chicken breast. It doesn’t need to go into a slow cooker for 4 hours. If you want shredded chicken tacos you could microwave a breast and be eating in 10 minutes. For the roasts, there is no other choice. If you don’t slow cook it, you’re not eating it.


#19

Slow cookers are our game-day ritual. Favorite is bbq beer chicken. We keep it simple down here in the south. 6 chicken breasts, a bottle of dark seasonal beer (blue moon pumpkin at the moment), some sweet baby rays bbq sauce and liberal seasoning for about 5 hours. Shred and serve. Made some gator sausage jambalaya in the slow cooker a couple weeks ago for the GA FLA game…turned out a lot better than the game did :frowning:


#20

I don’t know why you guys would ever slow cook chicken breast. Thighs are a much better option in the slow cooker