Most crockpots have two heat settings, low and high, but some of the newer ones have three – low, medium, and high. With a lot of crockpot recipes, you can choose whether you want to cook the meal on the low or high setting. Obviously using the low setting means you will have to cook the meal for longer. This could work out better if you are going to be at work all day and will not be home for eight hours.
What is the Degree of Crockpot Low Temperature?
The low temperature on a crockpot is 200 degrees F, which is enough to cook nearly any food. A lot of crockpot meals are suitable for cooking on the low setting. Remember that one hour of high heat cooking is equal to two hours of low heat cooking in a slow cooker so a recipe might say something like “cook on low for eight hours or high for four hours.”
You might like to cook your food on high for an hour and then turn the heat down to low for the rest of the cooking time. Heating the food up quickly minimizes any chance of bacterial contamination caused by your food heating up too slowly.
Safe Temperatures for Crockpot Meals
Chicken breast must be 170 degrees F, chicken thigh must be 180 degrees F, and ground meat needs to be 160 degrees F in order to be safe to eat. Roasts should be 145 degrees F for medium rare, 160 degrees F for medium or 170 degrees F for well done. Soups, stuffing and casseroles should be 165 degrees F. You can check with a thermometer at the end of the cooking time.
A Few Handy Crockpot Cooking Tips
If you have never used a crockpot before, you are going to be amazed at how easy they are to use and the range of tasty crockpot meals you can make in them. When you shop for a crockpot, there are different types you can get. Crockpots are not expensive and you will soon offset any cost with the savings you make on cheap cuts of meat and other crockpot-friendly ingredients.
Remember that crockpot cooking times listed in crockpot recipes are guidelines rather than fixed times. The actual crockpot cooking time will vary depending on the crockpot brand, the size, the amount of food you are cooking. You can check your food to see if it’s done but remember that if you lift the lid and it is not done, you will need to add another twenty minutes to the cooking time to make up for lost steam and heat.
Common sense tips for using a slow cooker include making sure it does not touch any walls or other appliances because the outside gets hot and checking it for cracks and breaks before adding any ingredients. If the interior shows any cracks, even a tiny one, do not use the appliance.
Browning the Meat for Crockpot Recipes
Browning meat is not essential with crockpot meals but if you do brown, the meat you will find this helps to reduce the fat content in large cuts of meat such as roasts. Browning the meat also caramelizes the sugars in the meat, making it more flavorful and nicer looking.
If you want to concentrate the flavors in the crockpot recipe or thicken up juices, you can remove the lid from the slow cooker and cook on high for the last half an hour of cooking time.
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