Can you cook beef olives in a slow cooker? (Safety tips)
In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Can you cook beef olives in a slow cooker,” and discuss how long beef olives take to be cooked in a slow cooker, and what are the pros and cons of cooking beef olives in a slow cooker.
Can you cook beef olives in a slow cooker?
Yes, you can cook beef olives in a slow cooker. Slow cookers are commonly employed for the preparation of a diverse range of dishes, including beef olives, through extended cooking periods. This method of slow and consistent cooking ensures thorough and even cooking of the beef.
Given that the beef in this particular recipe is braised over several hours, it is imperative to select a cut of meat that is well-suited for extended, leisurely cooking. Slow cookers operate at lower temperatures, typically falling within the range of 170°F to 280°F (77°C to 138°C).
This gentle and sustained heat proves ideal for tenderizing and preserving the moisture content, particularly in more affordable, leaner cuts of beef. What sets slow cookers apart from other cooking methods is their reliance on indirect heat, extended cooking durations, and the steam generated within the tightly sealed container.
These factors work in harmony to effectively eliminate harmful bacteria. Consequently, slow cooking emerges as a safe and hassle-free method for preparing a diverse array of foods. (1, 2)
How does cooking affect beef?
During the cooking of meat, a size reduction occurs due to the expulsion of fluids from within the meat and surface evaporation. This cooking process results in a decrease in both mass, often referred to as ‘cooking loss,’ and an overall reduction in volume. Beef olives are gently simmered in a blend of stock, red wine, and carrot, resulting in a delectable gravy.
This isn’t a swift recipe, requiring both ample preparation and cooking time. It takes 30-40 minutes for the initial preparation and a slow, unhurried 3-hour cooking period going as long as 8 hours in a slow cooker using the “low” temperature setting (3)
How does temperature affect beef?
Myoglobin, the natural red pigment in meat, experiences denaturation in the temperature range of 65±80°C, with roughly 70% of it remaining unchanged at 73°C.
As the cooking temperature drops, the vibrant red color in the meat tends to fade because myoglobin becomes obscured by the aggregation or co-precipitation of other proteins present in muscle fibers and the cytoplasm.
Conversely, when the internal meat temperature rises, the brown hue becomes more pronounced. The process of protein denaturation appears to reach a significant point of completion around 80°C. It’s noteworthy that noticeable color changes become apparent between 55°C and 65°C, between 65°C and 75°C, and between 75°C and 80°C.
Interestingly, substantial shifts in the color of beef steaks are primarily observed at temperatures exceeding 75°C, which corresponds to the denaturation of proteins. (4)
To ensure the safety of perishable foods, it’s crucial to maintain their refrigeration until you’re ready to use them. If you intend to pre-cut meat and vegetables, it’s advisable to store them separately in the fridge. Properly thawing beef before incorporating it into your slow cooker recipe is essential.
Furthermore, when including vegetables in your dish, it’s important to note that they generally cook more slowly than beef in a slow cooker. Ensure the lid is securely in place, only lifting it when necessary to stir the food or check for doneness. (2)
How to avoid foodborne illnesses using a slow cooker?
The standard guideline for cooking meat is to ensure it attains an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63 degrees Celsius). This temperature is effective in eradicating any potential bacteria present in the meat. While some moisture loss may occur during cooking, beef olives are cooked with its gravy making up for any moisture loss.
To maintain a high standard of hygiene and prevent contamination, it’s essential to adhere to good kitchen practices. Utilize a designated cutting board or plate exclusively for handling raw meat and keep a separate one for items like fruits and bread that won’t undergo cooking.
Following the handling of each meat item, be sure to thoroughly clean your utensils, cutting boards, and countertops using hot, soapy water. (5)
Other FAQs about Beef that you may be interested in.
In this brief guide, we have addressed the question, “Can you cook beef olives in a slow cooker,” and discussed other questions related to the subject, such as how long beef olives take to be cooked in a slow cooker, and what are the pros and cons of cooking beef olives in a slow cooker.
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GILL, C. O. et al. Inactivation of Escherichia coli O157: H7 in beef roasts cooked in conventional or convection ovens or in a slow cooker under selected conditions. Journal of food protection, v. 79, n. 2, p. 205-212, 2016.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety Website. Washington, DC. Slow Cookers and Food Safety. 2013.
OBUZ, E.; DIKEMAN, Michael E. Effects of cooking beef muscles from frozen or thawed states on cooking traits and palatability. Meat Science, v. 65, n. 3, p. 993-997, 2003.
BREWER, M. Susan; NOVAKOFSKI, Jan. Cooking rate, pH and final endpoint temperature effects on color and cook loss of a lean ground beef model system. Meat science, v. 52, n. 4, p. 443-451, 1999.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]. Foods That Can Cause Food Poisoning 2023.