Cheaper Meat for Slow Cookers
Even if you know nothing about beef and what the various parts are called, you can pick the right ones. Just look at the price tags. There are many more cuts on a cow that require long, slow cooking than there are parts that are meant to be grilled, broiled, or roasted. Look at the cost of a tenderloin roast, then look at the cost of a brisket. Buy the brisket for the slow cooker.
Choosing Your Cuts
Price is a good guideline, but there are others. Anything that says "chuck," "rump," or "shank" is a good slow cooker choice. One of the best cuts of beef for the slow cooker is the short ribs, also called flanken in some parts of the country.
The shape of your slow cooker is one guide to what to buy. If your slow cooker is round, a rump roast is your best bet. If it's oval, go with a chuck roast or a brisket.
Basics of Boning
Some cuts that look like the best buys frequently contain some bones. It's a good idea to cut these away, because they slow down the cooking process. Save the bones for making stock.
The first step of boning is to cut away the bones. The second step is to decide how the remaining boneless meat should be cut. The rule is to cut across the grain rather than with the grain. If you're not sure which way the grain runs, make a test slice. You should see the ends of fibers if you cut across the grain.
Long Leads to Luscious
You can't rush a great pot roast. It takes hours of low heat for the fibers to tenderize in a large piece of beef. If you don't have the 5 or 6 hours necessary, cut the meat into pieces and make a stew which will cook faster. Plan on about 10 to 12 hours on Low or 5 to 6 hours on High for most of these pot roast variations.
More on: Cooking Tips and Basics
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Slow Cooker Cooking © 2003 by Ellen Brown. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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