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Must fully submerge ribs in slow cooker or risk house-fire?

by (3280)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 7:43 PM
Created April 24, 2012 at 1:42 AM

I'm trying to make some paleo friendly baby back ribs in my slow cooker. My slow cooker book says 2 cups of 'sauce' for a rack of ribs.

As you can see from the picture:

http://postimage.org/image/l5aglgwsr/

the ribs are not submerged completely.

Question: will I start a house fire as I sleep tonight when I set this on LOW for 7 hours?

BTW, I'm trying to make it more paleo by using V8 instead of higher sugar BBQ sauce.

I did, however add blackstrap molasses because I'm trying to get more potassium in my diet.

Please help me sleep better tonight by responding asap!

Is this SAFE????

Thanks, Mike

D8c04730b5d016a839b3c5b932bf59dd
823 · April 25, 2012 at 3:48 AM

on natural flavors: http://www.theprimalist.com/dont-be-fooled-by-natural-flavors/

D8c04730b5d016a839b3c5b932bf59dd
823 · April 25, 2012 at 3:43 AM

reconstituted (that means you have no idea what they did to it before they added back water and turned it into billions of gallons of identically tasting pulp), and Natural Flavoring. http://www.campbellfoodservice.com/details.aspx?code=438

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1607 · April 24, 2012 at 5:48 PM

We do Cornish hens in the crockpot all the time with no liquid. They turn out awesome, no pyrotechnics involved!

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5135 · April 24, 2012 at 3:22 PM

The ribs still get plenty moist from their own juices. They are literally "fall off the bone", as in you can't even get them out of the cooker in one piece.

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3280 · April 24, 2012 at 3:19 PM

I edited it, putting in a plain old URL (not sure it was the same one as before). Not a big deal since I had the ribs for breakfast and did not burn down my house. I guess leaving the original url in the post, and trying the other image technique at the end if interested is fine, but probably not worth the effort. Thanks for your interest! Mike

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3280 · April 24, 2012 at 3:05 PM

now that's what I want to try (dry rub, no added liquid).

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3280 · April 24, 2012 at 3:04 PM

i didn't take the image down. i don't know how long it is supposed to stay up (probably more than a day though). Odd.

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5509 · April 24, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Fixed again, haha. Now off to work to do something productive...

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5509 · April 24, 2012 at 1:48 PM

Hm, it's no longer working...did you take the image down?

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41312 · April 24, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Oh no, vegetable juices! So unhealthful!

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41312 · April 24, 2012 at 12:02 PM

I suspect that filling halfway ensures efficient heat transfer, but there's nothing wrong erring on the side of safety. I don't crockpot while sleeping or when not around to monitor it. My crockpot is circa 1972, complete with 1970s colors/decor, hasn't caught fire yet!

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1646 · April 24, 2012 at 5:47 AM

Mike, that's a fairly typical braise. You'll still get cooking through conduction (the submerged meat will dissipate along the fibers), a little convection (covered, moist air will circulate), and some capillary action (as the proteins denature from the heat, they'll separate slightly and "suck up" some hot liquid).

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5509 · April 24, 2012 at 3:48 AM

Fixed the image for you. Right click on the picture you want, click "copy image address" and then insert it when you click the image icon when you're writing up your post.

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3049 · April 24, 2012 at 3:12 AM

Haha- no need to apologize, peaceful, restful sleep is important and they will still turn out great!

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95 · April 24, 2012 at 3:10 AM

Did you try just coding the link or image in to the text box without actually using the button?

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3280 · April 24, 2012 at 2:48 AM

Sorry guys. I just added water to the half way point. I don't think I would get a good night's sleep with one eye (and nostril) open, waiting for the fire trucks. I'll experiment on a weekend day when I'm there to monitor it. Mike

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3280 · April 24, 2012 at 2:11 AM

I'm really going to have to get up to speed on my slow cooker tech. Specifically, I need to understand what happens if half a roast is submerged, and the other half isn't: wouldn't that result in two very different effects?

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3280 · April 24, 2012 at 2:10 AM

Another vote for not burning down my house is a good thing! BTW, I did invest in a really nice slow cooker: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001KVZTFO/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00 I've used it 4 or 5 times so far, works great! (My last one was hamilton beach which turned on & off by itself - very scary. They gave me a new one, which turned off in the 2nd cycle of my bone broth - furious !)

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3049 · April 24, 2012 at 1:58 AM

Often I do a beef roast on a bed of mushrooms with very little liquid (about a cup of bone broth).

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3280 · April 24, 2012 at 1:51 AM

BTW, how are you supposed to use the image button on this forum? I clicked it, which led me to several free image hosting sites. I uploaded my image there, copied the URL back into the image button, but it kept showing up as a broken link. Finally, I resorted to using the full URL in the body of my original post (which worked), but I was hoping to master embedding pictures in my post. Any idea what I could have done wrong? Thanks, Mike

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9 Answers

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4276 · April 24, 2012 at 1:56 AM

Yes it's safe. While in general when you think of slow cooker recipes, you are thinking of long slow braises, they can be used in many different ways. I do a roasted chicken in one and use no liquid at all. The heat is fairly low and since its really all about insulated thermal mass, its very safe. If yours, like mine, gets warm on the outside as well, keep it away from paper towels and such, but that is just common sense.

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1607 · April 24, 2012 at 5:48 PM

We do Cornish hens in the crockpot all the time with no liquid. They turn out awesome, no pyrotechnics involved!

65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76
3049 · April 24, 2012 at 1:58 AM

Often I do a beef roast on a bed of mushrooms with very little liquid (about a cup of bone broth).

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1277 · April 24, 2012 at 3:54 PM

I'm so confused as to what you think would burst into flames.

If you are talking about the actual cooker catching fire - as in an electrical fire - even if you were cooking the ribs in flame retardant (mmmmmmmm, flame retardant) the "liquid" would do little to stop the electrical fire. But is the machine is in proper working order there is no risk of fire inside the cooker.

Simply put, there is absolutely no chance the ribs are going to burst into flames. As another poster pointed out, lard (which is what rendered pork fat is) has a smoke point of 375. The highest setting on a slow cooker runs between 225 and 250. So the fat cooking off of the ribs (the only thing that could conceivably catch fire) wouldn't even start to smoke - let alone burst into flames - until at least 125 degrees above the highest setting. It just can't happen.

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1646 · April 24, 2012 at 5:53 AM

Lard has a smoke point around 375F; the ignition point will be somewhere a little higher depending on the exact composition and moisture content.

A typical slow cooker on the "Low" or "Warm" setting usually doesn't heat much above 180-200F, or about enough to maintain a good, steady simmer. As long as your crock pot is working correctly, you should be good. Leaving a lid on will also help to deprive any ignition of oxygen if it's nice and tight. Cover the ceramic vessel with a tight double layer of aluminum foil then snugs the lid if you have doubts; this will help retain moisture, too!

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2417 · April 24, 2012 at 1:59 AM

Yes, another vote that it's safe. Tons of good recipes call for little to no added liquid. If you're very concerned, you can get (if you don't already have) a modern slow cooker with an automatic turn-to-warm function.

I like doing pork shoulder in my crock pot, rubbed with spices and then wrapped snugly in tin foil, no added moisture at all.

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1646 · April 24, 2012 at 5:47 AM

Mike, that's a fairly typical braise. You'll still get cooking through conduction (the submerged meat will dissipate along the fibers), a little convection (covered, moist air will circulate), and some capillary action (as the proteins denature from the heat, they'll separate slightly and "suck up" some hot liquid).

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150
3280 · April 24, 2012 at 2:11 AM

I'm really going to have to get up to speed on my slow cooker tech. Specifically, I need to understand what happens if half a roast is submerged, and the other half isn't: wouldn't that result in two very different effects?

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150
3280 · April 24, 2012 at 2:10 AM

Another vote for not burning down my house is a good thing! BTW, I did invest in a really nice slow cooker: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001KVZTFO/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00 I've used it 4 or 5 times so far, works great! (My last one was hamilton beach which turned on & off by itself - very scary. They gave me a new one, which turned off in the 2nd cycle of my bone broth - furious !)

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3280 · June 04, 2012 at 1:33 AM

I finally got an opportunity to cook the ribs on a bed of unions, with just 1 cup of V8 (liquid not touching ribs).

I cooked it on LOW in my slow cooker for 6 hours.

YUM!! It was great and no house fire!!!

I would like to thank everyone for the encouragement and sound advice!

Mike

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5135 · April 24, 2012 at 2:01 PM

I've made ribs in the slow cooker with no liquid at all. Slow cookers don't get hot enough to ignite any normal materials you'd have in your kitchen.

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5135 · April 24, 2012 at 3:22 PM

The ribs still get plenty moist from their own juices. They are literally "fall off the bone", as in you can't even get them out of the cooker in one piece.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150
3280 · April 24, 2012 at 3:05 PM

now that's what I want to try (dry rub, no added liquid).

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823 · April 24, 2012 at 6:39 AM

I frequently do roasts in the crockpot with no added liquid. If I add veggies, the liquid from the meat and the veggies usually results in about half-covered. It's all yum.

I'm more concerned about why you think V8 is healthful? yecccchh. Otay, maybe it's better than sugared bbq sauce, but not much. Read your label.

I haven't done ribs yet. I do lots of roasts and pour just a tiny bit of wine (to make the herbs stick to the roast, doncha know).

D8c04730b5d016a839b3c5b932bf59dd
823 · April 25, 2012 at 3:48 AM

on natural flavors: http://www.theprimalist.com/dont-be-fooled-by-natural-flavors/

D8c04730b5d016a839b3c5b932bf59dd
823 · April 25, 2012 at 3:43 AM

reconstituted (that means you have no idea what they did to it before they added back water and turned it into billions of gallons of identically tasting pulp), and Natural Flavoring. http://www.campbellfoodservice.com/details.aspx?code=438

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41312 · April 24, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Oh no, vegetable juices! So unhealthful!

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1804 · April 24, 2012 at 2:56 AM

I cool ribs in my slow cooker almost weekly and only ever put about 1 cup of water or beef broth. Never had a fire :) Usually leave it on for 10 - 12 hours while at work.

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3280 · April 24, 2012 at 2:41 AM

I found my owners manual. It says always fill 1/2 to 3/4.

Hmm

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41312 · April 24, 2012 at 12:02 PM

I suspect that filling halfway ensures efficient heat transfer, but there's nothing wrong erring on the side of safety. I don't crockpot while sleeping or when not around to monitor it. My crockpot is circa 1972, complete with 1970s colors/decor, hasn't caught fire yet!

65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76
3049 · April 24, 2012 at 3:12 AM

Haha- no need to apologize, peaceful, restful sleep is important and they will still turn out great!

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150
3280 · April 24, 2012 at 2:48 AM

Sorry guys. I just added water to the half way point. I don't think I would get a good night's sleep with one eye (and nostril) open, waiting for the fire trucks. I'll experiment on a weekend day when I'm there to monitor it. Mike

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