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this may be a stupid question

My mom told me that it's good to pre-cook meat (sausage/shrimp/chicken) before you put it in the crock pot. But, my question is, can't you just throw it in there with everything else and just let it cook for 8 hours? I mean, I'm just thinking that it would be easier to do it that way then to have to cook it ahead of time and then throw it in there you know?

I'm planning on making a sausage/rice/beans type dish next week for dinner sometime and would like to know if I have to cook the sausage ahead of time before I put it in the pot.

Thank you



( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 30th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
you can totally just throw it all in. It's gonna cook for eight hours. That's plenty of time to cook it thoroughly and kill any bugs that might be in residence.
Apr. 30th, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
yeah, that's what I thought too
Apr. 30th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC)
Meat actually comes out better if you don't precook it. I learned that lesson the hard way.
Apr. 30th, 2009 11:11 pm (UTC)
Absolutely it comes out better. It's much more moist and tender if you toss it in raw and let it cook just in the crock.
Apr. 30th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC)
Yep, I agree. I chuck it all in and let it get on with it.
Apr. 30th, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
I used to cook a whole chicken in a few hours in my crockpot, and I started from raw.. the meat was falling off the bone by the end. It's fine to put it in raw.
Apr. 30th, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
I've done both, and as long as the cooking time is long enough and you don't have to drain extra fat off the meat, it doesn't matter that much.

I actually prefer to put the meat in raw when making stews and chili, the flavors permeates the dish more.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 30th, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC)
Yes, I do it all the time. The cooking time is long enough to cook it thoroughly, so there's no problem with the meat being raw.
I sometimes use raw turkey meat or pork sausage too for turkey chili...but never taste it before it's thoroughly cooked, of course!
The classic meat based chili always is made from ground beef put into a beef and tomato broth around my house...we don't brown the meat first. It's cooked thoroughly from raw in the broth, so I make it that way in the crock pot too.
Apr. 30th, 2009 09:34 pm (UTC)
this is probably a dumb question, but how do you add raw ground beef into a crock for chilli? Wouldn't it just cook into a solid square brick? how does it crumble if you're not there doing it with a spatula?
Apr. 30th, 2009 09:47 pm (UTC)
I break it into pieces while raw. And I do continue to occasionally break it up with a wooden spatula as it cooks.
Apr. 30th, 2009 07:32 pm (UTC)
Some stuff-- like delicate seafood-- might even be better left till the last minute or two; dunno. I mean, if I'm making garlic shrimp soup, I just chuck the shrimp in for the last 3 minutes of simmering because they cook so quickly and they turn into little rubber erasers if you overcook.

But in general if we're talking red meat, pork, or whatnot-- I never precook. I might *brown* it briefly to give color and add flavor, but that's the most I'd do.
Apr. 30th, 2009 07:34 pm (UTC)
I like browning off meat too - but shrimp I'd absolutely not throw in until shortly before the rest is ready. Overcooked shrimp is just not yummy.
Apr. 30th, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
yeah, overcooked shrimp doesn't taste good
Apr. 30th, 2009 07:40 pm (UTC)
yes. this exactly. rubber erasers is what they would become.
i brown red meat and pork, but just throw in the chicken raw.
Apr. 30th, 2009 07:43 pm (UTC)
I would definitely recommend browning meats, actually, unless you're making a really rich sauce. That caremelized flavor won't stick to the meat, but it will improve your sauce / the juices you cook in by a LOT.

And yeah, all seafood needs to be saved for the end. Even frozen shrimp can just be tossed in a colander and thawed with warm running water, and then added at the point of serving. Too much longer and they get nasty.
Apr. 30th, 2009 07:34 pm (UTC)
One caveat
Mostly, putting things in raw is okay. The BIG exception to this is a big roast that's all in one piece, especially if you're taking it straight from the fridge. You want to brown something like that well all over before you put it in the crockpot, first of all because it looks nicer and secondly because otherwise it will take a dangerous amount of time for it to come up to a safe internal temperature.
Apr. 30th, 2009 08:42 pm (UTC)
Re: One caveat
On the looking nicer, okay. But I've put large chunks of frozen cow in the crockpot plenty of times and never had issue with it. YMMV.
Apr. 30th, 2009 09:14 pm (UTC)
Re: One caveat
But if you're browning the roast on the outside it's not really going to alter the internal temperature at all. If you leave it 'browning' for long enough to change the temperature all the way through, then you're pretty much pre-cooking it.
Apr. 30th, 2009 07:35 pm (UTC)
Browning, yes. Cooking, no.

And the browning, I'd really only apply to beef, pork, or sausage.
Apr. 30th, 2009 07:55 pm (UTC)
My advice is to precook the rice but throw the meat in there as is. I have problems putting raw rice in because it either soaks up all the juice and everything burns or I put in too much liquid and it's soupy.
Apr. 30th, 2009 08:03 pm (UTC)
I thought about just buying like 3 cans or so of red beans and rice, and then just throwing it in there with the sausage, and adding some creole seasoning to it. Or maybe instead of the canned red beans and rice, I'll add a box of uncle ben's jambalaya box mix in with the sausage.

We'll see. I have yet to figure it out.

I'm mostly just afraid that it'll turn out ok, but just be bland because I won't know what kind of spices to use. But, I think our creole seasoning will do it good.
Apr. 30th, 2009 07:57 pm (UTC)
i rarely do anything other than chuck it all in and i have never had a problem - it has plenty of time to cook through
Apr. 30th, 2009 07:59 pm (UTC)
I like to brown meat before putting in the crockpot, but that's mostly for flavor. As far as I know it's perfectly safe to put raw meat straight into the crockpot.
Apr. 30th, 2009 07:59 pm (UTC)
It depends on what you're cooking. Precook bacon, brown meat, cook ground turkey or beef, and cook chicken if you're making a soup or a stew where you're just getting the flavors to meld.
Apr. 30th, 2009 08:03 pm (UTC)
It's not a safety issue; it just tastes better if you sear it first.
Apr. 30th, 2009 08:06 pm (UTC)
Chicken is awesome in slow cookers! It becomes so tender... Much moreso than cooking it on the stove or in the oven. I just throw mine in raw. I've even thrown it in frozen before.
Apr. 30th, 2009 08:08 pm (UTC)
I won't cook my meat all the way through before putting it in the crock pot, but I will give beef a good sear before putting it in to get better flavor in the finished dish.
Apr. 30th, 2009 08:28 pm (UTC)
I never precook my meat and everything is always fine and yummy.
Apr. 30th, 2009 08:38 pm (UTC)
I only pre-cook is if I'm using ground beef or turkey in something (chili, spaghetti) because I discovered the ground meat falls apart into tiny pieces if it goes in raw. Usually, I'll just brown it as "chunks" and then toss it in to finish cooking.

I also pre-make meatballs if I'm doing spaghetti with meatballs.
Apr. 30th, 2009 09:25 pm (UTC)
The only issue I'd have is that you won't be able to drain off the grease from cooking the sausages, so I think that would make your dish pretty greasy. Other than the grease issue, I've never had a problem meat cooking in my crock.
Apr. 30th, 2009 10:39 pm (UTC)
Heck, sometimes I even throw in the meat FROZEN!
May. 1st, 2009 12:30 am (UTC)
I did this with pork loin cuts yesterday, and it turned out quite yummy. :-)
May. 1st, 2009 12:08 pm (UTC)
I've done both and in my experience, the meat retains its flavour a LOT better if it is browned or seared before I chuck it in. It gets cooked fully and well and comes out nice and tender either way, but if I throw it in raw, when I eat it it's only slightly more meat-flavoured than the vegies I threw in with it. But when I pre-brown it, I can definitely taste, oh yeah, that's meat.

So, yeah. Matter of choice; I personally choose to brown it, but that's my choice.
May. 2nd, 2009 02:19 pm (UTC)
I can't wait to try this out today! I am going to start something in the crock now and enjoy it for dinner or lunch tomorrow. I am new to it so I am looking forward ot visiting more and seeing more info
Dec. 7th, 2009 04:04 am (UTC)
I don't usually brown meat for the crock pot. But I might with sausage because I would want to render most of the fat out and drain it before adding to a crock pot recipe.
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )


What A Crock!

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