[Explored] Why Is Meat Tough After Slow Cooking?

The slower you will cook meat the tastier it will become. For this, slow cooking is preferred by most meat lovers. However, it also happens for many people that they find their meat has become tough after slow cooking. If you have encountered the same, then we can feel your pain.

Don’t worry, we have a solution to fix your tough meat. But before that, you might wonder why your meat becomes tough after slow cooking. Well, sometimes cooking meat without liquid or fat for too long makes it tough and hard.

In this article, we will explain the possible reasons for meat to be tough after slow cooking and provide a guide to cooking meat correctly in a slow process so that your meat won’t become tough in the future. Let’s explore them below.

Why Is Meat Tough After Slow Cooking

Why Is Meat Not Tender In Slow Cooker?

In the slow cooking process, the connective tissues of meat break down completely which makes it tender and easier to chew. However, there are many other factors (proper cut, marinade, etc.) to consider to make meat tender while slow cooking.

If the meat you’re cooking hasn’t become tender even after cooking it slowly, then there can be many other reasons for this. The possible reasons for tough meat after slow cooking are:

  • The meat is sliced too thin and is dried out.
  • The layer of fat from the meat is removed.
  • The thick piece of meat isn’t tenderized properly.
  • The marinating part is skipped for the meat.
  • High Temperature.
  • Overcooking the meat for too long.

These are the reason why the meat you cook might still is tough even after cooking slowly. To prevent this, you need to cook the meat in the proper way.

Ways to Avoid Tough Meats in Slow Cooking

There are 3 ways to make the meat tender and avoid toughness – cutting, pounding, and marinating. You can follow the tips below to avoid tough meats in slow cooking:

Tip 1: Prepare the Meat

Before you start cooking, you need to prepare the meat first. You need to cut the meat into pieces and have to ensure the meat is neither too thick nor too thin. If you want to cook a big piece of meat, then you either need to pound the meat with a meat tenderizer or marinate the meat in citrus acid for 10 to 20 minutes.

Tip 2: Cook the Meat Slowly

While cooking the meat, you have to cook it very slowly. For this, you need to keep the temperature lower than 250°F. Otherwise, it will evaporate the water from the meat and will make it tough.

Tip 3: Boil the Meat

If you want to make the meat soft and juicy, then you can boil it before cooking. Put some red wind into it and boil it until it is evaporated totally. The alcohol will make the meat tender and prevent it from being tough.

Tip 4: Do Not Cook It for Too Long

If you cook meat for too long, then you might end up overcooking the meat. As a result, it will become hard and chewy. You can use a slow cooker to cook the meat for 8 to 10 hours depending on the piece of the meat.

By following these tips, you can avoid tough meat and enjoy a delicious, juicy meal.

Bonus Tip to Process a Tough Meat

In case the meat has become tough after slow cooking, you can follow a simple tip to make it soft and tender. For this, you’ll need a roasting pan, some sliced onion, peppers, oil, and wine. Put the tough meat on the pan and cook it with these mentioned ingredients for 2 hours at low heat.

You can also add the liquid and put the meat into a slow cooker to cook. Once the meat is cooked, wait at least 30 minutes before cutting it. Because meat required time to observe the juice after cooking.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers (FAQs)

Will Meat Get More Tender the Longer You Cook It?

Yes, the meat will get more tender if you can cook it for a long time. But there is a condition. It will only become tender if the heat is low. Otherwise, the meat will become overcooked and tough.

Why Is My Slow-Cooked Beef Not Shredding?

Slow cooking the beef meat is the only way to make it tenderize. However, you need to pound the meat and marinate it before cooking. Also, you need to cook it for a long time at low heat. If your meat is cooked but not shredded, it means the heat was high and the meat is overcooked.

What Happens If You Slow Cook Meat Too Long?

If you cook meat slowly for a certain time it will become shredded. But if you slowly cook the meat for too long, it will be overcooked and become tough and dry.


All the possible reasons why your meat is tough after slow cooking is explained in this article along with what you can do to prevent this type of situation further. So, we hope you’ve found this guide helpful in identifying your mistakes while cooking meat and learning the proper way to avoid tough meat in slow cooking. For any further queries, our comment box is always open for you. Thanks for reading.

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