The biggest mistake you’re making with your slow cooker (+ the easy fix!)

By Rachel O'Regan |

Keys2words Slow Cooker - Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks

By now, you’ll probably know we’d rather give up our left foot than our slow cooker (well, just about).

This wonder appliance is not only cheap and notoriously easy to use, but you can make stews, curries, bread, jam, cakes, yoghurt and more in a slow cooker.

Yet despite its magical capabilities, there’s one slow cooker mistake many people are making. You have to choose the right meat. Here’s why.

The cheaper the meat, the better.

Please do not slow cook Wagyu beef. The beauty of a slow cooker is that it makes any old, knobbly, tough bit of meat tender and succulent. After all, you’re cooking it for eight hours!

Swap tenderloins for brisket, jowls, neck, oxtail and shanks. Feeling adventurous? Throw some offal, such as kidneys or sweetbreads, in the mix.

Brown the meat first.

Slow cooking meat will automatically deepen its natural flavour. But searing beforehand makes it even tastier, and it’s essential for meat with skin, like chicken (nobody wants soft skin!).

Before slow cooking, season and quickly sear the meat in some olive oil/butter until the outside is caramelised. If you’ve chosen a big, knobbly cut of meat, it should stay raw inside.

DON’T cut off the fat.

The greasy, gristly bits are actually what makes slow cooked meat the most delectable. Over the long period of cooking, the fats and connective tissues melt down into a gelatin-rich stew. This also keeps the meat moist, so win-win!

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