Food Cautions for Safe Crockery Cooking
Always begin with fresh or thawed meats, do not use meat that is still frozen.
Rather than large cuts or roasts, cut meat into chunks. For poultry, do not use a whole chicken, but rather pieces (legs, thighs, breasts, etc.).
Cook meat on high for the first hour, turn slow cooker down to low for the remaining time. This allows the cooker to heat up quickly and yet tenderize the meat gradually.
Recipes should include some form of liquid. If a recipe does not include a liquid, consider adding 1/2 cup of water or broth, or simply use a different recipe.
Keep the lid closed. Opening the lid to take a peek adds precious cooking time in increments of 20-30 minutes EVERY TIME it is opened!
Check the internal temperature with a thermometer to ensure that the food reaches 160-165 degrees F.
Do not use your slow cooker to reheat foods. This is simply not what your slow cooker was made to do.
To help your food reach the proper temperature faster, you can prepare food on the stovetop, like soups, and get them bubbly hot before adding them to the warmed crock to finish cooking. This will greatly reduce the time the food is in the danger zone. You should also make sure the lid is properly positioned on the pot.