Slow Cooker Hacks?

Hello! I've been following this site for a couple years and have finally joined on with an account. I made two awesome slow cooker meals based on things I've seen in the Food Lab (tonight's was based on Kenji's No Waste Carnitas). The theory I distilled was when braising keep liquid at a minimum. So I packed the crock full of cut up meat and aromatics, added just enough liquid to submerge and covered with a parchment lid that I weighed down with a heavily mug.

My question is that my slow cooker will sit at a full boil even on the low setting if I cover it fully with the plastic lid. I seem to be able to keep an only slightly too high simmer if I bring it up to temperature with the lid closed and then prop the lid open with a chop stick and the setting on high. The parchment keeps in most of the liquid.

I have a very old machine (it's a "Rival Crockpot") and I was wondering if anyone else had good ideas for making these things useful in the modern kitchen?

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