Posted 08 July 2012 - 08:27 PM
jrshaul: I'm confused. In Post #8, you accepted my idea of using a temp of about 185ºF. In Post #14, you talk about using 145ºF. Those are very different. I've been assuming we're talking about a mixed meat and veggie sauce, both from the thread title and where you said in Post #8 that you "like the idea of making a meat and vegetarian sauce simultaneously." If so, Shalmanese is right that 145ºF is far too low for the veggies. For that matter, at that temp, four hours would be too little for reducing the collagen in the meat. For that, you'd need at least twelve, preferably eighteen to twenty-four. And the veggies still would be effectively uncooked. So, let's go back to 185ºF, a temp comparable to what you did with a conventional stove-top simmer. Be aware that, if you do this in ziploc (which wasn't my recommendation, but I understand why you want to go that way), you need to vent the bag (e.g., with a stent). Otherwise, steam will build up and vent it anyway. Better a planned venting than an accidental one.
Shalmanese: Frankly, I don't understand why you object to using a PID to control a crock-pot. Once one has selected the parameters (I use P = 40 and I & D = 0, which I find reliably settles at one degree below the set point), it takes less than a minute to set up the cooker. Nothing like 53 chinoises. Not so important if the OP were making an all-veggie sauce, but I'm pretty certain he's doing a mixed meat-and-veggie one. For that, I assume you agree not boiling the meat is a valid objective. And, in my experience, a crock-pot, even on low, eventually boils the meat unless interdicted by a PID.
slkinsey: I agree that a traditional ragu (mostly meat with little tomato) doesn't have a significant evaporation issue. The OP, though, seems to be doing something different.