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Why did Slow Cooker Beef Burgundy turn out dry?

do the 'hounds know what happened? I made my first-ever crock pot meal--beef burgundy. Used 3 lb Sirloin roast as recipe indicated, carrots, mushrooms, onion, celery, and a bottle of Pinot Noir. Cook on "Low" for 8 hours. Vegi's were awesome, meat was falling-apart tender, but DRY! Sauce/Gravy helped, but not much. I don't get it. What happened? Cooked too long? Not long enough?

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  1. First problem: sirloin roast. Not enough fat. You shouldn't start with a lean cut like sirloin. Try chuck next time. Chuck has more fat and connective tissue that breaks down and keeps the meat moister.

    Also possibly cooked too long.

    Cooking meat too long dries it out -- that's physics. It'll be very tender but dry. When people say (re: stew, pot roast, etc) that you can't cook it too long, they're wrong.

    But I'd use a difft. cut of meat and follow the recipe and see if that helps.

    Also, for beef burgandy, the meat should have been cut into chunks. Many recipes (the best ones) call for the beef to be marinated in the wine and aromatics overnight before cooking -- definitely do this.

    1 Reply
    1. re: C. Hamster

      I'm going to agree with C. hamster, and add that all pot roasts are technically dry. It's the fat and collegen from the connective tissues that give the moist mouthfeel.

      I did a test in my slow cooker to see how long a chuck roast would improve. I expected to let this test run for days, thinking it might get better and better as it went. WAY WRONG!!! After three hours in MY slowcooker it turned the corner from tender, juicy and flavorful to dry and eventually mushy. Someone said that low on today's slow cookers may actually not be as low as it used to be, so I suspect that's also to blame.

      FYI: I used merlot and some stock. the acidity probably increased the mushiness. I assume using a less acidic medium might allow for a little longer cooking.

    2. I have had the same problem when using a slow cooker to make a beef pot roast and also a beef stew. For a pot roast , I have used a chuck or blade roast which should be ok for a pot roast. At least it would be when cooking the traditional way.
      When I made a beef stew using beef cubes called stewing beef , the meat also was very dry. I am new at using a crockpot and was quite dissappointed with the results.

      1. Also, if it was an older recipe, older crockpot's "low" was much lower than the newer models "low", so you may have cooked it too long, despite what the recipe said.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Katie Nell

          Really!? I've been looking at getting a newer, nicer one, but if I have to learn how to make everything all over again, I might just stick with Old Faithful.

          1. re: heatherkay

            Yep, I have "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook" and they have written all the recipes for newer crockpots, so they advise if you have an older one, that you will have to adjust your time and possibly even temp.

        2. You might try a cheaper, fatter cut of meat like Chuck Roast, cut into 2' cubes. Sirloin is so low in fat, there isn't enough moisture to cook a stew properly. You should test your lid as well, and make sure the seal is tight. If not, you can make a flour and water paste dough and wrap it around on the outside to form a seal.

          1. one more vote for cooking such a lean cut of beef for too long a time.....but there is one other step you could take to help keep whatever beef you use stay moist: toss it with flour before you brown the beef. the flour will help seal in the meat's juices but even this step won't help if you cook it for 8 hours.....you can taste as you go but I'm thinking you might only need 1.5 to two hours?

            1 Reply
            1. re: gordon wing

              Searing the meat to keep in the juices is a popular myth, but it is a myth. See Harold McGee on "The Searing Question" in /On Food and Cooking/ page 161. McGee gives a short history, but the basic takeaway is: "The crust that forms around the surface of the meat is not waterproof ... But searing does flavor the meat surface with products of browning reactions ... Liebig and his followers were wrong about meat juices, but they were right that searing makes delicious meat." Also, when using a slow cooker, searing the meat dramatically improves the appearance of the result (versus unseared nastiness).