Slow cooking at low temperatures is a healthy and tasty way of preparing delicious meals. The low temperature between 165 F to 200 F avoids dehydration and possible toughness – the meat remains juicy and tender. The cooking time is substantially longer than at higher temperatures, but it does not require any supervision and can be lengthened significantly without any qualitative losses.
How long to slow cook meat?
The cooking time depends on the nature and size of the meat cut.
A rough rule of thumb: slow cooking takes four to five times as long as regular cooking.
A beef roast that takes 2 hours in the oven should be in the slow cooker for at least 8 hours. At low setting even longer if desired.
A dish that can be cooked in a pot on a stovetop in 30 minutes, should simmer in the slow cooker for a good 2 hours on a high or 4-6 hours on the low-temperature setting.
The lower the temperature gradient the more unproblematic is an extension of the cooking time. The temperature gradient is the difference between core temperature of the meat and the meats outside. Some cooking fans leave meat at the low level for 12 hours or more. This very long time is particularly suitable the more connective tissue the meat cut has.
You have experimented with your slow cooker for while and try various dishes.
You will soon learn that factors such as the quality and size of the meat cut, liquid fill level in the pot, the cooker model and other, all will affect how long to slow cook meat or poultry.
Extending the cooking time
Sometimes you may need to extend slow cooking time to turn a tough cut of meat into a juicy and tender dish. You can use the low heat setting for about all dishes to get this result. Especially when the meat cut has a lot of connective tissue like a beef chuck or lamb shanks.