Stringy Meat

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scoobysoo | 14:59 Mon 14th Jan 2008 | Food & Drink
10 Answers
How come, when I cook a joint in my slow cooker, it comes out all stringy and impossible to slice? It's lovely and tender but looks awful!!


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Scooby, I think that that is just the nature of slow cookers. They cook slowly over a long period of time, and break the meat down. That's why they are so good for dishes such as goulash, soups, stews, chillies etc.
Do you let the meat "rest" before carving it up ?
We had brisket done in the slow cooker yesterday .I take it out and wrap it in foil while I finish the veg and stuff .It sliced up fine .
Depends on the meat too. I found silverside went a bit like that as there is very little fat in it which is why I stick with brisket or boned rib for the slow cooker as it has more of a marbling of fat.
Maybe if you brown it first- to give it that colour it won't look so 'orrible?

Yes i admit, it does come out stringy, but I prefer it like that than sliced if it means it's more tender.
Apart from the cut of meat used, the other thing that affects the result and texture is the temp you use for the slow cooker. Meat is best at low temp for long cooking time.

If the temp is too high, fat present in the meat 'melts out ' into the liquor and will also affect the result, so trim offf any larger bits of fat too which should help.

Make sure you do use a good temp though as this kills any bacteria present - necessary to avoid food poisoning....

Searing the meat is to caramilse the naturally occuring sugars that aids the flavouring and will also remove a bit of the exces fat, but it isn't strictly necessary. (It does assist in cooking a trad. stew though, so definitely recommend if you just cook in the oven).

I would also brown mince before using in a slow cooker - and pour away the excess fat too from frying.

In using the slow cooker, if you make a veg and meat stew, put the veg at the bottom as they take longer like this to cook than meat.

And you say its a joint thats the problem - slow cookers actually work best with small dice rather than large full joints but so long as you have a good amount of stock / liquid it should be ok - try a gammon joint in cola, or lamb shanks in a wine and veg stock......
I personally wouldn't cook a joint in a slow cooker as it can over-cook. Its best roasted. I like my beef a bit red in the middle but thats my persoanl choice.
My god, reading this lot has put me off buying one!!
Stringy meat, Yuk!
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Thanks. I'be been cooking on Low for about 6-8 hours, nd always seal first, and always rest after, so I guess that's the way it just turns out. Think I will start doing my Sunday joint in the oven again, and keep the crockpot for stews, curries etc.
I too have just started using a slow cooker, given to us as a Christmas present.
I cooked brisket in it yesterday, browned it before it went in the slow cooker. cooked it for about 8 hours and mine turned out just like your's did.
That was the first time I cooked brisket as I normally use the oven.
No slow cooker for me anymore.
Going back to doing my rib roast or silverside in the oven.
It could be the way you are carving it. Let the meat rest (as someone else said) and make sure you carve across rather than with the grain. That might do it.
you are cutting it the wrong way....make sure you are slicing it across the 'grain'

if you slice it the wrong way you do get like long stringy slices.....sounds like thats what your doing.

good luck

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