I have read that slow cookers manufactured recently (not sure what time period that actually means) rise to their cooking temperature faster because of FDA concerns of keeping a food at a dangerous temperature for too long. The recommendation is to perhaps cook things for a bit less time than the typical 8 hours on low to avoid overcooking.
To this end, I have been putting a thermometer in my meat and cooking to a temperature instead of to any set time. However, I'm finding the meat gets to its "done" temperature at WELL below the time suggested. For example, I have a chicken recipe (skinless, boneless) that suggests cooking for 8 hours on low. In my slow cooker, the chicken gets to 165 degrees at only 2-1/2 or 3 hours! Well below the 8 hour suggested cooking time.
So, my question is, should I say my meal is done at that 165 degree mark, or is there any slow cooker advantage to leaving it in for the full or close to full cooking time? It seems to me the meat just gets dry if I leave it in longer, but maybe if I left it in the full 7-8 hours, some other chemical process takes place, leaving the meat more moist and flavorful than if I take it out at the 3 hour mark because of the temperature.