Do I need to cook the cube steak before I put it in a crockpot?
By Joshua from Greensboro, NC
You don't necessarily have to cook it. It will completely cook in the crock pot, but I highly recommend you brown it first.
I think it is according to the recipe. I like to get as much grease off of ground meat as possible so I usually will brown. But the others I think it will depend on what you are fixing in there.
Browning makes it more presentable, but IMNSHO, the whole purpose of crockpot/slow cooker cooking is to use the fewest pots and utensils possible. I think it tastes the same whether you brown the meat first, or not.
Purpose of crockpot is to slowly cook your meat over many hours to make it tender and delicious. A good first step is to cut meat into pieces (or if a roast, ok to leave whole but it will take longer to cook), flour, season (spices, salt pepper), and brown in skillet. This seals in the flavor, and the browning adds more flavor and gives it a better appearance (does not look like boiled meat). After you remove meat and put in crockpot you can put water in the skillet, scrape all the little particles a bit and pour this into the crockpot. This adds even more flavor.
Follow directions first couple of times put meat on bed of veggies, cover with water, etc. and then invent your own.
I like the crockpot because I can leave it on all day, 6-8 hours and the meat is fork tender and the veggies are not all mush. They are just tender and still are chewable. Maybe because heat is so low?
I just got mine as a gift and have made swiss steak with round steak, and a pork roast. The pork was especially good.
I just never took to the crock pot. The only thing I use mine for is to keep something warm I already cooked or in this one case to cook a corn beef. As for cube steak, my favorite, I roll in flour and fry in the skillet. Hum!
I rarely go to the trouble of browning meat before putting it in the crockpot to cook all day. I occasionally brown beef the night before if I'm making a roast, but never for a stew, pulled pork, BBQ ribs and, of course, I wouldn't brown chicken. I can't say I notice much difference in the meat's flavor or greasiness whether I brown it or not. It will cook though regardless. When I do brown a roast, the outside is "firmer" and remains more of a chunk of meat. If not browned, it tends to shred/fall apart more. Some recipes I have call for the meat to be browned, others do not. But like I said, I'm lazy so even when the recipe says to brown the meat, I often don't and it turns out fine.
Browning the meat first for a few minutes gives a better result, but is not needed.
Put the ingredients that have the longest cooking time on the bottom of the crock-pot then fill up with the rest.
Once you start using the crock-pot you will wonder how you ever lived without one.
If you are cooking a large roast like over 5 pounds, the receipe will tell you to cut the meat in half because if you don't, bacteria will start to set in before the meat will start cooking. If the meat is cut in half, the cooking time will start sooner.
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