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I am looking for recipes that I can put in the slow cooker before I go to work and have them done (not over cooked) when I get home. This is about 9-10 hours of cooking. Most recipes that I am looking at have cook times of 4-6 hours. Most contain chicken or beef.

Is there anything wrong with keeping recipes cooking longer than 4-6 hours? Is there anything I can do to prevent this?

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It depends on the particulars of the recipe and the ingredients and the slow cooker itself.

You say you are using chicken or beef, but are the pieces of meat small or large? Is the meat lean or fatty? I've had problems with overcooking large pieces of lean meat, such as chicken breast, but smaller pieces and/or fattier pieces seem to hold up better to extra-long cooking.

Another issue is proportion of liquid. For example, soups tend to work better in your scenario than "drier" recipes.

And, of course, the slow cooker itself can make a difference. I assume you are talking about 9-10 hours on low, not on high. But low itself is not likely to be entirely consistent between cookers. For example, a large slow cooker is likely to put out more total energy than a small slow cooker, so for extra-long cooking times, you are probably better off using a small cooker with a full pot that a large cooker with a half-full pot.

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I have slow cooked in crock pots for 12 hours without any problems. Actually, I just ate a bowl of beef vegetable soup that slow cooked for at least that long.

  • But aren't some recipes prone to overcooking after that long? Things getting soft to the point of falling apart? – Cascabel Oct 9 '14 at 2:08
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    I thought cooking things to the point of falling apart was the point of slow cooking. Drying out is a more common problem. – ElendilTheTall Oct 9 '14 at 8:02
  • @ElendilTheTall There's a difference between very soft vegetables in your stew and vegetables that actually disintegrate when you give it a stir. And a difference between a pork shoulder that's fork tender, just able to hold together to serve, and one that's basically falling apart under its own weight. – Cascabel Oct 10 '14 at 14:22

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