6 Reasons That Cause Meat Tough In Crock Pot

Why Is My Meat Tough in Crock Pot
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Why Is My Meat Tough in Crock Pot

The crockpot is a countertop cooking appliance that is used to cook dishes for long periods of time at low temperatures. Crock pots are ideal for cooking soups and stews.

Why Is My Meat Tough in Crock Pot?

While crock pots are supposed to produce tender, juicy meat dishes, sometimes the meat can come out tough and rubbery. This article will explore the many reasons why your meat might be tough, and how you can fix the problem.

Why Is My Meat Tough?

  1. The wrong cut of meat

Certain cuts of meat are ideal for the crock pot, as they are best cooked for long at low temperatures. Generally, fattier meats that still have the bone in are best for the crock pot. Avoid lean meats as they will dry out quickly and become tough in the crock pot.

If you are cooking a beef dish, try using stewing beef such as brisket, or a chuck roast. If you want to cook a chicken dish, choose a whole chicken or chicken thighs rather than lean chicken breast. Pork shoulder or ribs are also an excellent choice.

Production Line at Meat Processing Plant
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If your heart is set on leaner meat, braise the meat in a little bit of liquid and cook it for a short amount of time rather than boiling the meat by fully submerging it or cooking it for a long duration. You can also marinate the meat overnight before you cook it to make it tender and juicy.

If you have selected a leaner cut of meat you can also sear it quickly on high heat before adding it to the crock pot to create a crust that will seal in moisture.

  1. Small pieces of meat

Small pieces of meat lose their moisture quickly and can easily become dry and tough in a crock pot. Choose larger pieces of meat for the crock pot that will stay moist. You can always cut the meat into serving-sized portions once it has finished cooking.

If you are using smaller pieces of meat, remember to decrease the cooking time to prevent the meat from drying out and becoming tough.

  1. Too much or too little liquid

You can’t have tender juicy meat with a pot full of water, nor can you make it with only half a cup. Either too much or too little liquid can cause the meat to become tough. The amount of liquid will vary depending on the dish that you are making as well as the size of your crock pot.

Crock pot beef goulash
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As a rule of thumb, use around 1-2 cups of water for dishes that require braising and around 3-4 cups for a soup. Your recipe should provide instructions regarding how much water to add, but as you cook more dishes you will learn to estimate the amount of water you need.

We recommend just covering the meat with the water or stock – no more.

  1. Lifting the lid

Lifting the lid of the crock pot will cause it to lose both heat and moisture. This can cause the meat to become dry and tough. Avoid lifting the lid of the crock pot to check on your dish. Most crock pots have clear lids so you can see how the dish is doing without removing the cover.

You should also make sure that you are using the correct lid for your crock pot so that there are no gaps between the pot and the lid. Do not tilt the lid of the crock pot like you would with an ordinary pot.

  1. Overcooking

Overcooking your meat will definitely cause it to become dry and tough. Smaller pieces of meat will cook faster than larger pieces of meat. Leaner cuts of meat will also need to cook for a shorter period of time than fattier cuts.

You can gauge whether or not your meat is finished cooking by using a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the meat.

If you use an oven-safe meat thermometer you can insert the prong into the middle of your piece of meat and then place it in the crock pot. This means that you won’t have to keep removing the lid to check the temperature on the meat thermometer.

A crock pot with a glass lid will allow you to see the temperature on the oven-safe meat thermometer without taking the lid off. Chicken and pork should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas beef should be cooked to only 145 degrees.

  1. Too much heat, too little time

Remember that the crock pot is designed to cook meat at low temperatures over long periods of time. Slow cooking requires patience, and you should avoid increasing the temperature to cook your dish quicker. This will result in tough meat.

Crock Pot Cooking
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Many crock pot dishes will cook for up to eight hours, so remember to allow enough time for this. Crock pot timers are helpful in this area, as you can set the timer for eight hours and then go to work and dinner will be ready when you get home!

Should I throw tough meat away?

No! Remove the tough meat from the crock pot and allow it to cool on a board. Shred the meat with your fingers or a fork, and then add it to a sauce to create a new dish.

Pork works particularly well when added to a BBQ sauce to create pulled pork for shawarmas. Beef or chicken can also be added to soups for a tasty, light dinner.

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