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slow cooker turkey stock question

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I did a search but didn't see this question asked or answered previously. I have 3 large turkey wings and 3 backs (purchased for $0.49/pound at WF), along with some veggies, in my slow cooker. After 2 hours on high it is only at 190 degrees. Does it matter if it never actually gets to a boil? First time I have used the slow cooker for this purpose.

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  1. In terms of safety, that's plenty high enough, but you are only at the fringe of the heat level needed to render collagen, which you need for maximum flavor and gelling. 2 hours is not enough for a slow cooker stock, though it would be more than sufficient in a stove-top stock. You don't need an actual boil, but over 200 would be adviseable. Just leave the cooker going until the meat is falling off the bones, and the bones are easy to crush between your fingers. Then strain the stock and if it is not strong enough for you, boil it down to reduce it till it tastes good. There is no harm in reducing it down to half the initial volume, or less. This means more compact freezer storage, and you just add water when you're using it later on.

    1. I had my turkey carcass and accoutrement in the slow cooker overnight Thursday into Friday morning. I strained the stock into a steel bowl and let sit in the fridge for a day and skimmed off a well formed fat layer to find some of the most collagenous stock I've ever made.
      So, I echo the advice to leave the stock going for longer.

      1 Reply
      1. re: monavano

        I made stock in the slow cooker this year for the first time, just as you describe, monavano. 12 hours later - then some fridge time - I skimmed off the fat and discovered the most gloriously gelatinous stock I've ever made. I'll do this every year from now on.

      2. You never want it to boil. You want it to simmer, simmer, simmer for as long as you can stand it. That's why a slow cooker is perfect for this application.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rainey

          Agreed. Mine is set on low for 8 hours and may be set for a second round of 8 as well. Previously that treatment has resulted in gloriously rich stock with next to no effort.

        2. We always cook our stock overnight in the slow cooker. Carcass, vegetables, water to just cover. On LOW. In the morning strain and into the fridge it goes. I leave a layer of fat on top after skimming just to preserve the broth for a few days longer. If I need some stock I skim away the fat just from the stock I need. After three days the rest is frozen.

          1. Like others have said, NEVER boil stock.

            Let yours go slow for a lot longer.

            1 Reply
            1. re: C. Hamster

              Thanks all!! It is so nice to have consultants on call! :)

            2. Keep in mind it takes 3-4 hours for slow cookers to come to "high" temperature, depending on how full it is. Give it more time and it will get hotter.