Braising is one of my favorite cooking methods because it turns tough pieces of meat into soft “fall-off-the-bone” type dishes that make you want to lick your finger tips after eating. Dishes that you can make using braising are things like:
- Baby back ribs
- Pulled Pork
- Braised short ribs
- Pot Roast
- Ox Tail
- and much more…
Braising is a two part cooking method. It first starts off in a skillet where you would sear the meat at a very high temperature. Searing the meat does not “lock in the juices” as many people think it does. The reason you sear your meat is to add more flavor, not keep in juices. When meat sears it basically caramelizes which is why it turns dark brown and adds more flavor. When searing your meat, make sure to season it well (Kosher Salt and fresh cracked pepper).
While the meat sears prepare your cooking vessel. Usually for braising you want to use a heavy pot that has a lid like a dutch oven (image above) but you can also braise in something as simple as a wrapped up heavy piece of foil. The second part of braising involves cooking at a low temp (usually between 225 – 250 degrees) for long periods of time (usually 2 – 10 hrs). The trick is you want to use flavorful liquid that will infuse more flavor into your meat. If you were to use something like water, it would pull out flavor from your meat. You can use anything from broth to wine, but typically you want to stick with a flavorful liquid that is not too salty and not too acidic. A good rule of thumb is if the flavorful liquid tastes good if you were to just drink it like a soup, then it is a good braising liquid. Another huge favor in braising is you only want to add enough liquid to keep the meat wet while cooking, but not too much so the meat is fully covered. I isually only have 1 – 2 inches of liquid so my meat is still sticking out of the liquid while cooking. You can also add aromatic vegetables like onions, carrots, celery, leeks, etc… you can also even add wedges of potato if you want to eat that with your meat (like a stew) but just realize the potato does nothing for adding flavor.