I'm doing beef stew in a slow cooker. When cooking slabs of meat (e.g. steak), I can check doneness with a meat thermometer, but I'm not sure that method really applies in a stew. The broth will heat faster than the meat, presumably, and I don't think I can get a good reading off a 1" beef chunk.

How do I tell when a stew is done? I've had bad experiences trusting to just a timer.

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    Not quite an answer, but I've never had trouble with a timer (or, more frequently, I just leave it on all day set to low and eat when I'm ready). With beef, you're OK with it being undercooked, but if you've cut it into cubes, I doubt that will be an issue (it'll cook quite fast). With a stew and the beef used in stew, you're more worried about getting the meat tenderized than overcooking.
    – SnakeDoc
    Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 0:12
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    Yeah, further research suggests that I might be asking the wrong question. Stew doesn't seem to have a specific "done" temp in the same way that steaks do. It has to be at X temp for Y time or something, and it's always "well done".
    – Andrew
    Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 5:36

1 Answer 1


Stew meat is generally from tough cuts. Meat is tough because of collagen, which takes time to break down into gelatin, and gelatin gives a luscious mouth feel. The meat will get up to temperature and stay there for hours, the way tell it is done is with a fork - if it falls apart it's done.

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