I want to cook some beef in the slow cooker and I want it to be completely submerged in the sauce. To do this I will need considerably more sauce than I require. Since the ingredients are expensive, I don't want to waste it. I was thinking I could put something into the slow cooker to displace liquid and allow me to submerge the meat without needing more sauce. I don't know what to use though. I'll need something that won't hurt the flavor of the food, can handle the heat and more importantly won't cause a lot of sauce to stick to it. Anyone have any suggestions on what I can do here?

  • 2
    I assume "reduce the sauce later", "cut the meat differently" and "add root vegetables" are not what you are looking for? Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 11:53
  • Glass bottles filled with preheated water or so
    – Alchimista
    Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 13:44
  • 1
    What is the cut of beef? Can you not cut the meat into portions so it can be packed? Could you get a slow cooker better sized to the beef?
    – paparazzo
    Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 14:28
  • It's a solid lump that I don't want to cut up. It's shape means I need more liquid than required to submerge it Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 17:11

4 Answers 4


There are many kitchen utensils which will work. My favorite will be canning jars, filled with some water so they don't float, and sealed. Food safe, can withstand the temperature, easily cleaned. One may be enough, if you find the perfect size.

If you don't have them and want to try it with something else first, look in your kitchen for metal or ceramic vessels which can stand upright and are several centimeters taller than the sauce level after displacement. This can be a thermos flask without the cap, or even a tall mug. Just put it there, again fill with some water, and fill the sauce around it. The biggest risk is that it topples over, and you end up with a somewhat watery sauce.


You are going to think this is a little crazy but ceramic or glass marbles. Put in the meat, fill in the gaps with marbles, and then fill with sauce.

I have not used marbles with wine bottles but I have seen ads for wine marbles.

Marbles have a lot of surface area so it may not be optimal for not a lot of sauce to stick. Pour the marbles in a strainer. Maybe you could rinse the marbles then reduce the sauce?

To me the best solution is to cut the meat so it will pack but I get the impression you don't want to do that.


Take a tip from the sous vide crowd and vacuum-pack the meat and sauce, then fill the cooker with all the water you like.

  • Because there's no evaporation when you vacuum pack, you end up with a much more watery result. You also don't get that little bit of browning that can happen right where the surface touches the pot (that bit of a ring that you can get as things evaporate, but also develops flavor).
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 30, 2018 at 2:29

Potatoes. You also get a side dish from them. But they will of course affect the sauce, which might put you off them - but the flavor effect is pretty minimal. Washed, unpeeled boiling potatoes would be my choice...

  • It's going to be in the slow cooker overnight. The potatoes will turn to mush and ruin the dish Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 16:30
  • @Ecnerwal this sounds like one of the rare occasions where it is best to have two separate answers posted by the same person - a very creative idea, and totally separate from your first one
    – rumtscho
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 16:37
  • @DanHastings That was question in a comment 2 days ago. And you have not answer by questions from 2 days ago.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 17:02
  • @DanHastings : Not if it's an acidic sauce (eg, tomato). Especially with the skin still on. (note -- "boiling potato" is "waxy potato" not "starchy potato". See cooking.stackexchange.com/q/784/67 ). I would not use a starchy / baking / floury potato for this. Maybe use "baby" potatoes or fingerlings, if you want to splurge.
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 30, 2018 at 2:36

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