I would say I'm an OK cook, I'm competent enough. However there are two things I keep messing up.
1. My Yorkshire puds always weld themselves to the bottom of the tin. The rise beautifully and taste fine but I have to tear them off the tin. Why does this happen how can I fix it?
2. I can't achieve tender falling apart meat, despite using the slow cooker. Yesterdays braising steak came out hard and chewy. Brisket is dry and chewy. Pork shoulder is like a rubber ball. I'm using the right cuts so why is it never tender?
For the Yorkshire puds, don't use olive oil as it goes sticky at high temperatures. Ideally do not use a non-stick coated tray for them either as, to get it really hot before putting the batter in, you would put the tray on the hob (and that would make the non-stick coating peel off). Use lard or beef dripping (or possibly rape seed oil or groundnut oil).
Have you tried slow cooked meat in the oven? I found it is the best way to get used to the joint and getting it right. I can now do a good pork shoulder in the actual slow cooker, because I know what I'm looking for- I've found there isn't a set time so much as "it looks/feels done now".
Agree with others re Yorkshire's. I use lard because it's how my grandma did them. Super smoking hot and got to be like lightening when pouring the mixture in so the fat doesn't cool down too much.
Not sure about the meat. I've never had a problem but I rarely put the slow cooker on and go out for a long time so I'm usually around d to check on it every now and again. I usually turn it over after 2 ish hours too.
If I'm doing a slow cook of meat, I try and almost steam it. So I'll rough chop a load of root veg and onions and use those to line the casserole with, along with half a bottle of red and some herbs. Stick the joint on top of them, then put the lid on and cook very slowly. Should make for extremely tender meat - plus if you whizz up the veg and then pass through a sieve you get a fantastic red wine gravy at the end.
The other thing that you HAVE to do is rest your meat. At least 15 minutes but anything up to an hour; just stick it on to a plate or chopping board with some foil over it and a tea towel on top. It'll stay warm, don't worry - but it makes the fibres relax and it's a much juicier, softer texture.
And yes - if the fat doesn't spit at you when you're pouring in your Yorkshire batter, then it's not hot enough!