Do It Yourself: The Dangers of Night-Crocking (“Always Yummy Beef”)

A surprisingly enticing photo, under the office fluorescents.

I never learn. I obviously never learn, right? I get all overeager and suddenly I’m in the middle of another crock-pocalypse.

Last year I went to 25 Degrees, the burger place at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. I took pictures and intended to blog it, but was so overwhelmed by the portions (particularly the burger size) that looking at the pictures made me sick. So I never blogged it. Six months ago, a Philly cheesesteak put me into a ridiculous food coma. I pretty much know for a fact that I can’t handle my meats. (Haha, very funny.)

Friday night, Sam made a beef stew on the stove. I showed up at his place and found him wiping away tears– onions, man!

From the Mark Bittman school of stewing. Sorry, bad lighting.

After experiencing a stove-cooked beef stew, I wondered how it would turn out in the crock pot. And I was bored last night, and didn’t have a mound of leftovers for lunches… one thing led to another, and soon I was buying the ingredients for “Always Yummy Beef.” (Recipe here.) (Doesn’t it sound so innocent?)

Here I go again...

It was a seriously easy recipe, made all the more delightful by the use of dry onion soup mix (no onion cutting whatsoever!). What I didn’t realize was that the recipe was written with a 5.5 quart crock pot in mind. Mine is 4 quarts. Luckily I bought the minimum of each ingredient, but still… whoops. I’m lucky the beef could even fit in the pot. (That’s what she said, etc. Deal with it.)

Three pounds of raw meat. Just another Monday night.

That was the only crock pot-approved piece of meat I could find. So… I guess I lucked out? (I’m seriously having a case of the 25 Degrees not-sure-I-can-blog-this feeling right about now…)

You smother the meat all around with the cream of mushroom soup (I didn’t do anything to dilute it… crocking draws water from the veggies) and the dry onion soup mix…

Where's the beef?

… and the next instruction is, “Stab with a fork to get rid of frustrations.” I wasn’t sure if that was a joke, but I stabbed the meat with a fork just in case. No exploding beefs on my watch!

In theory you then put the veggies in AROUND the beef, but obviously I was out of room. So they went on top.

The recipe called for 3 to 7 potatoes. I bought 4, and only 2 fit in the pot. So… yeah. I guess I’ll be making something else with potatoes in the near future.

Once again, filled to capacity.

The recipe said to cook on LOW for 6 hours or more. I started the pot at 8pm, thinking that I would wake up to a wonderful aroma. By the time I went to sleep at around midnight… honestly, not much had happened. Not even a discernible smell. I mean, setting a SLOW cooker on LOW, one should expect this sort of progress.

I slept rather fitfully, and at around 3:50am I awoke to a really… humid feeling. The smell was… not delicious. It was just more like a heavy feeling in the air. So I went to the kitchen and turned the pot to WARM, so I could just deal with mucking out and cleaning up in the morning.

I went back to my room. I had my door closed, and plenty of windows open, but I couldn’t shake the smell. I turned on my fan, to help with that humid feeling. The thing is– I am a rather quirky sleeper, and all summer I’ve been sleeping ON TOP of my covers, under one thin blanket. Well, the unnecessary addition of cold air gave me a SNEEZE ATTACK. If you know me, you know that I can sneeze on an ENDLESS LOOP.

Much like a character in an action movie, I had to fight my way toward the fan while sneezing violently. After I turned it off, I couldn’t get warm again. So I got under my REAL covers, but after a summer of light blanketing, I felt constricted. I was definitely zonked when my alarm went off at 6:30am-ish.

Good morning, my new nemesis.

All that is just my way of saying– I do not recommend that you run your crock pot overnight. Use it while you are off at work or… wherever you go during the day. The roller skating rink. The hair salon.

And then I fished out all the beef. And fished. And fished. SO MUCH MEAT. What was I thinking, seriously?

What have I done?!

It’s hard to tell from the perspective in the picture, but the amount in the small container is about 1/20th of what’s in the big container. That’s 20 lunches. About 17 more than I could ever want.

And Sam is still working on his stew, so I can’t even turn to him to relieve me of this unholy amount of meat.

I had that small container for lunch, and it was very delicious and tender, but I am seriously in over my head. I need some people to come over to my place with big Tupperwares and relieve me of this bounty. Please. Pretty please.

Because I feel bad about wasting food… but not bad enough to eat this on my own.

Heeelp…

xoxo…

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2 thoughts on “Do It Yourself: The Dangers of Night-Crocking (“Always Yummy Beef”)

  1. Wow, that is seriously the scariest night croc story I have every read, and as I mentioned before I’ve been to Miami three times

  2. so,here’s what you do 1) have a huge party and invite everyone you know, or (recommended) 2) bring it to the nearest soup kitchen…during the day, please, unless you can find one in Beverly Hills.

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