One of the best ways to make pot roast is in a slow cooker.
The slow cooking process brings out the flavors of the meat and makes it tender, brown, and deliciously moist.
However, it can take eight hours or more for the meat to cook on the Low setting.
If you don’t want to wait this long, let’s look at a few ways to reduce the cooking time.
Ideal Time to Slow Cook Pot Roast
The ideal time to slow cook pot roast is on the Low setting of a slow cooker for eight to ten hours.
Though the results are worth the wait, you may prefer to speed up the cooking process when time is a luxury.
Here are some ways to go about it.
Easy Ways to Reduce the Cooking Time of Pot Roast
The following methods will ensure that your pot roast turns out well in less time.
1. Make sure that the slow cooker is deep enough.
Never overcrowd ingredients in a slow cooker.
It’s not a good idea to stuff the meat in the cooking pot and squeeze the lid in place.
It will increase the cooking time and prevent the meat from cooking properly.
To avoid this, make sure that the meat fits comfortably inside the slow cooker.
There should be enough space between the ingredients and the lid to prevent the liquid from spilling.
The larger the pot, the better the meat will cook.
If you have a small crock pot, reduce the quantity of ingredients to help them cook better.
2. Choose the right cut of meat.
There are plenty of recipes for the perfect pot roast.
However, the choice of meat affects the time taken to complete cooking.
Meat on the bone produces better flavors. The tougher the cut of meat, the more fat it will have.
This will enhance the pot roast flavor and make it moist and tender when cooked long enough.
You can use either boneless or bone-in pieces of meat for cooking. However, boneless pieces cook faster.
So, if you must reduce the cooking time, choose boneless meat.
3. Don’t use frozen meat.
It’s possible to cook frozen meat in a slow cooker.
However, the process takes longer since the meat needs extra time to get warm.
There is also an added risk of cooking frozen meat since it will be in the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F for a long time.
This can lead to food poisoning.
To avoid these problems, bring the meat to room temperature before placing it in the slow cooker.
So, if you store beef in the freezer, thaw it completely. Thaw it on the countertop for a few hours.
However, it’s better to thaw the beef in the fridge overnight.
The meat will thaw evenly, and there will be no frozen bits.
4. Cut the meat into smaller pieces.
Large cuts of meat take longer to cook in the slow cooker.
The gentle heat will take a long time to break down the connective tissue and fat, making the meat tender and soft.
Smaller pieces of meat cook faster and more evenly. So chop big pieces of meat to cut down the cooking time.
The flavor of the meat will not change when you cut it.
However, it will cook faster since more surface area is exposed to heat.
5. Keep the lid closed.
The main benefit of cooking food in a slow cooker is that you can leave it unattended.
The ingredients will combine slowly and thoroughly using gentle heat. There is no need to stir them.
These devices work by trapping heat and cooking ingredients for a long time.
When you remove the lid, some of the trapped heat escapes. So the cooker needs time to heat up again.
Don’t open the lid unless required.
Most recipes that don’t use additional liquid for cooking should remain undisturbed, at least for the first two hours.
You will increase the cooking time by several extra minutes each time you open the lid.
So, frequently checking on the pot roast will increase the cooking time.
6. Cook on the High setting.
Slow cookers have Low and High settings.
In the Low setting, the cooker is at a temperature of 190°F. The High setting is 300°F.
You can choose either of the settings to cook most dishes.
However, the result will differ depending on the chosen setting.
In the Low setting, the ingredients cook slowly on low heat.
It takes a long time. However, the dish will be tender and flavorful.
When you choose the High setting, it will cook faster.
However, the flavors will not intensify, and the dish may not be as flavorful.
The best way to cook pot roast is on the Low setting of a slow cooker.
However, if you want to cut the cooking time by almost half, you can choose the High setting.
7. Start on the High setting and switch to Low.
Another alternative way to cooking is to start the cooking process on High and later switch to Low.
Assemble all the ingredients and cook the pot roast on High for two to three hours.
Once the meat cooks partially, switch to the Low setting. Let it cook for the rest of the duration on Low.
The benefit of this method is that the flavors of the meat concentrate toward the end of the cooking process.
This makes the meat more tender and flavorful.
8. Add just enough water.
The slow cooker relies on trapped heat to cook the ingredients.
For most ingredients, you don’t have to add any water.
The moisture inside the vegetables or meat evaporates and rises.
The lid traps it, and the ingredients cook in the trapped heat and steam.
To speed up the cooking process, you can add just enough water to the recipe. This will create a moist environment.
The additional steam produced will help the meat cook faster and prevent it from drying.
Apart from water, you can also use wine or stock to add moisture.
9. Cover with aluminum foil.
A practical yet easy way to reduce the cooking time in a slow cooker is to use aluminum foil.
The way to do this is to place an aluminum foil over the contents of the slow cooker.
Remove the lid and cover the pot roast with foil. When you plug in the slow cooker, it will start heating.
The heat transfers to the ingredients, releasing the moisture in them.
This cooks the meat slowly and thoroughly.
However, the area above the meat develops a cool layer that slows the cooking process.
It takes several minutes to overcome this temperature and keep cooking.
Aluminum foil proves useful in this case. It’s a good conductor of heat and traps the heat inside the cooker.
It also reflects the heat to the base. This helps the ingredients cook faster.
Another benefit of using foil is that it traps moisture and makes sure the ingredients remain moist and tender.
It will also evenly conduct the heat and prevent the formation of hot spots in the food.