How Not to Overcook Meat in a Crock-Pot

Crock-Pots have the reputation of being the cooking vessel that you can leave and forget. When you come back, the meat should be cooked and tender. But even Crock-Pots can turn a piece of meat into a dry, tough, unappetizing meal. Slow cooking is a healthy cooking method because no oil is required, and it breaks down tough muscle fibers to tenderize the meat. Ensuring that the meat doesn't overcook requires understanding how to properly fill your Crock-Pot, knowing how much cooking time the meat requires and monitoring the meat's temperature.

Trim fat off of the roast to reduce the fat content. (Image: Ju-Lee/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Thaw the meat fully before placing it in the Crock-Pot.

Step 2

Fill the slow cooker between half and three-quarters full to ensure that the meat cooks correctly based on the recommended cooking time.

Step 3

Cook the meat for only the time recommended. Follow your recipe or use these guidelines: Cook a 6- to 7-pound pork roast on low for nine and a half hours or on high for seven and a half hours. Cook 6 pounds of chicken on low for seven and a half hours or six hours and 15 minutes on high. Cook a 3- to 4-pound roast for eight hours on low or five hours and 45 minutes on high.

Step 4

Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat to monitor cooking temperature. Cook the meat just until the thermometer registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit for poultry and 145 degrees for beef, pork and lamb steaks, chops and roasts.

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