First post here, so hello!!!
My oven is dead, and I've been volunteered to bring a pot roast to a Christmas gathering. A few days ago I bought a few chuck roasts to experiment with my moms ol' slow cooker that she lent me. I was always told you can't screw it up. But geez, I've screwed it up 3 times in a row and can't figure out what is happening. All the roasts were of good quality, bought from a local butcher, all about 2.5-3lbs.
But the ONLY thing that comes out of the slow cooker is tough, tough meat. It's low and slow right? First one I tried I followed the cook time from a recipe I found online for a similarly sized chunk of beef. It said cook it on low for 6-8 hours. I browned the beef, threw in some onions, potatoes and carrots, some beef stock, a packet of french onion soup (cause thats what my mom always did) and let it go. I checked it at 6 hours. It was awful, a giant brick of beef. Next one I let go for four hours, a little better, but not much. The third one I just finished. I checked it after 3 hours and it was tender still, but not falling apart the way I would like it.
I've read the collagen and stuff starts to really break down around 160 degrees, and my meat was only at about 130. It looked gorgeous if it was on the grill, but I figured lets go longer and get that temp up there and see if it wont turn into that fall apart, melt in your mouth goodness. The temp of the liquid in the slow cooker was about 190 degrees. So I figured another 30 minutes maybe to get the meat temp up there to start breaking down that collagen and what not. 30 minutes later is was TOUGH! I wanted to scream.
What am I missing? Is there a tough phase that the meat passes through before it gets to the fall apart phase of its life? I don't have the courage to let one go the full 8 hours, seeing that after 6 it was a brick.
I thought this was supposed to be easy?! I'm a fairly competent cook, but this slow cooker thing has me frazzled, and I have a meal to serve in just a few days. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!