Nothing beats the convenience of throwing a few ingredients into a crockpot and coming home to a meal that’s ready to eat. But if you want to take your slow cooker meal to the next level, you should consider browning the meat before adding it to the crockpot. Browning the meat before adding it to the crockpot not only adds flavor, but also helps to keep the meat from becoming too tough or dry. Here’s what you need to know about crockpotting that browns meat.
Benefits of Browning Meat
Browning meat before adding it to the crockpot adds flavor, texture, and richness to the dish. The Maillard reaction, which is a reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that occurs when the meat is heated, creates a complex flavor profile that cannot be achieved by simply adding the meat to the crockpot. Browning the meat also helps to lock in the juices, resulting in a more tender and flavorful dish.
Preparing the Meat
Before browning the meat, it’s important to prepare it properly. Start by trimming off any excess fat and removing any skin or bones. This will help to ensure that the meat cooks evenly. Next, season the meat with salt and pepper, or any other seasonings of your choice. Finally, cut the meat into even-sized pieces so that it cooks evenly.
Choosing the Right Crockpot
When choosing a crockpot for browning meat, it’s important to select one that has a removable cooking bowl. This will allow you to brown the meat in the bowl before adding it to the crockpot. It’s also a good idea to select a crockpot with a timer, as this will help you to keep track of the cooking time.
Browning Meat in the Crockpot
Once you’ve prepared the meat and chosen the right crockpot, it’s time to brown the meat. Heat a small amount of oil in the removable cooking bowl, then add the meat and sear it on all sides until it is lightly browned. Once the meat is browned, transfer it to the crockpot and add the remaining ingredients.
Serving Crockpot-Browned Meat
When the meat is cooked through, it’s time to serve it. Serve the meat with a side of vegetables and your favorite starch, such as rice or potatoes. This will help to round out the meal and make it even more delicious.