Good cut of meat for Crock-pot?
Since Safeway has a big beef sale on, I'd like to dust off the crockpot and make some spoonably tender beef. However, I have very little experience in this arena. Can someone suggest a lean cut of meat that fares well in a slow-cooker? Ideas (and recipes!) are greatly appreciated!
Also, if they happen to have oxtails (OK, it's cow), get a couple and make a barley soup with it - it's so wonderful and easy in a crockpot.
I have found that lean cuts of meat don't turn out so well when cooked in the crock pot. For beef cuts, chuck roast, either a 7-bone or blade cut, seem to turn out the most flavorful when slow cooked. A shoulder clod is also okay but not the best. Once it is finished cooking after about 6 hours on low heat, I separate the lean meat and discard the remaining fat, gristle and bones. You will also have plenty of liquid left in the crock pot to make gravy.
A bone-in pork shoulder also works out very well in the crock pot. I trim away the outer layer of fat before starting. A 7 lb. shoulder takes about 10-11 hours on the low heat setting.
My standard way of slow cooking is to first brown the meat on all sides in a skillet over high heat before placing it in the crock pot. If it is a beef roast, I brush its outer surface with either Kitchen Bouquet Gravy Master before browning it. After it is browned, I then deglaze the skillet with a little bit of flour and some wine. Then add some fresh sliced garlic and a bullion cube before pouring that liquid from the skillet into the crock pot with the meat. You can also further enhance the flavor by adding a few parsley sprigs and a carrot, onion and celery stalk, cut into 1" pieces. When it’s done you’ll probably want to strain the liquid before using it.
I've made some tasty crock pot stuff using a brisket. I'd say it works quite well in the slow cooker.