Slow cookers are popular because you can simply set them and forget them. However, if you're not careful with your slow cooker, you might make a mistake that could end up ruining your results. There are some preparations you can make that will lead to your slow cooker meal tasting much better.
The most common mistake is to leave an item in the slow cooker for too long. If you notice that the flavors only have one note or the vegetables are mushy, this is often because you have left them in the slow cooker for too long. A slow cooker can have a "keep warm" setting switched on so you don't overcook your food.
Don't Open the Lid
Do not open the lid unless you are instructed to do so by a recipe. For example, you may need to open a lid to add ingredients, but this is the only time that you should do so. With many recipes, you need to keep the lid on the entire time. Slow cooker recipes are meant to cook over a long time period. If you remove the lid, you'll remove the heat that has built up over time. Typically, ingredients are only added at the end because they only require a slow cooking time, such as when you introduce herbs.
Brown Your Meats
Your meat will taste a lot better if you brown it before you add it to the slow cooker. You can brown it in a skillet on the stove before tossing it in. Make sure to follow the instructions for how long to cook meat in a slow cooker because you may risk not cooking the meat thoroughly enough. Don't fill your slow cooker with too much meat. If your slow cooker becomes overly stuffed, it won't have enough space to cook throughout.
Use the Right Cut
Be careful with the type of meat you use in a slow cooker. Recipes will typically give you a specific cut of meat you should use. If you use the wrong cut, your meat will turn out tough or greasy. You may need to trim your meat before adding it to the slow cooker.
Your meat will taste delicious if you add the right ingredients and follow a recipe carefully. After you have cooked several successful slow cooker recipes, you'll be able to experiment and find ways to create your own recipes.