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Has anyone ever tried finishing a butt in a crock pot (on low and unwrapped) vs. wrapped in oven?

GreygooseGreygoose Posts: 103
edited October 2011 in EggHead Forum

Has anyone tried this method? theory it would make sense. you could continue a low and slow and retain moisture. Once your wrapped, your only dealing with raw heat (from oven or egg), so additional flavors are not in question.

Havent seen anthing on the forum about this and would like to get some opinions from the experts.




  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    ...and don't forget that the true 'moisture' is minimal.  you are dealing with melted gelatin.  there's some moisture from water in the meat, sure.  same type of moisture in a piece of pork cooked to maybe 140 internal.  but in a butt, there's much less of that.  you've taken it to 200 or so, driving off much of the water.  the moisture we enjoy in pulled pork is mostly from collagen.  most of the water is gone, or shortly will be when you pull it and open it up to evaporation.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • GreygooseGreygoose Posts: 103

    I'm stil surprised to see so little about this on the forum since its two very different cooking styles. oven is dry heat while crock is a moist heat. who knows, maybe it doesnt matter, but i'd be surprised. the whole idea of foiling to retain moisture makes great sense, but a crock does it by design.

    sounds like a test is in the plan.


  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited October 2011
    here's something most folks don't realize about 'moist heat'.  it does nothing to retain moisture.  in fact, it is easier and faster to dry out meat by boiling it (submerged in the most 'moist' environment possible), than it is to dry it out by roasting or searing at high heat.

    try it some time.  boil a chicken breast until it is 190 or so.  it will be dry when you cut into it despite being submerged in water the whole time.

    heating meat drives moisture from it.  you either stop heating it at a certain point to retain as much moisture as possible (130-145 for a steak, for example), or you let it go so long, somewhat slowly enough and at a gentler temp, in order to break down collagen which will make it FEEL moist, even after the water is driven off.

    low and slow meat is still 'overcooked' by any definition.  but the chunk of meat used is so tough generally, that it actually becomes tender because the collagen (which held it together, making it tough in the first place) weakens and gelatinizes. bonus, that gelatin replaces the 'wet' feeling you lost by driving out most of the water.

    if you'd only cooked the meat to 130-145, you'd have a truly moist piece of pork, but it would be tough.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • LitLit Posts: 6,856
    Stike - what if you sous vide a chicken breast at 140 until it hits 140 for 20 hours or whatever it takes and then hit direct at high heat raised until 160 and then wrap to rest? Does this not count for moist heat because it doesn't boil? I guess I am just questioning moist heat means boiling but this chicken breast should still be moist? What if you sous vide a shoulder to 160 then wrapped in foil on the egg and brought to 195? Has any moisture left? I have too many questions and want a
    Sous vide.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,873
    Any time muscle is cooked, the water that is in it comes out. Items in a sous vide bag will be immersed in their own juices when removed. The advantage is that those juices can then more easily be used for a sauce. Also, any flavorings will have penetrated far into the muscle. The added advantage of sous vide is that the meat may not be taken over the temperature that destroys the natural enzymes that tenderize the meat, just as they do in dry or wet aging. Sous-vided (is that a word?) meats have an exceptional tenderness because of both the enzyme action and dissolved collagen.

    The down side is that the temperature is too low for maillard reactions. I've found that placing meats in the Egg for awhile, then bagging works well. Better than searing afterwards.

    To get back to the slow cooker, the problem for me is that the water transfers heat so much better than a steamy foil packet in the oven, that the protein denaturization is much more complete, and one can be left with just a mass of chewy mush sitting in a pool of diluted juice and congealing gel. Also, the only additional maillard reaction occurs where the meat is outside the water, and the escaping steam is sufficiently hot to create some of the nice browning.

    For me, and oven finish is advantageous because the steam from the meat is more likely to escape, and improve the final browning.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited October 2011
    @ lit : my point is that 'moist' cooking does no more to preserve moisture in the meat than roasting or any other method.  the single biggest factor is the temp of the meat.  sous vide to 140 or roast to 140, you have 140 meat, and it won't be dry.  sure, you can keep searing to 160 and it'll still be pretty moist.

    my point is to take it to the extremes in order to reveal the fallacy.

    the most moist environment (submerged in water) will STILL result in dry meat when that meat is overcooked.

    that's what does it.  you don't make meat dry by adding salt to it for an hour before cooking, you can't make meat dry by searing at high heat, or by cooking it lo and slo.  you make meat dry by overcooking it and driving out moisture

    all else is 'style'. what style/method/manner will you cook it? up to you.  just don't OVER cook it.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • SqueezySqueezy Posts: 1,102

    I've always thought that about crock pot meat ... soaking in all that liquid and it was dry and chewey.

    Had many an argument over that one ...

    Never eat anything passed through a window unless you're a seagull ... BGE Lg.
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