What is Braising?

Alma L. Figueroa

Braising is a moist cooking method and process that slowly cooks food in its own juices, added liquids and moisture. This cooking method uses heat, time and moisture to cook, tenderize and add flavor to food. Braising involves initially searing meat, so that it is brown on the outside, and then slowing cooking the meat, along with vegetables or other ingredients, if desired, in a covered braiser pan until the food is tender and moist. Braising is a great technique for cooking and tenderizing tougher cuts of meat. The tightly fitting braiser pan lid helps cook the covered food in its own liquids to add flavor and to moisten and tenderize meat. This is a good cooking method for breaking down otherwise tough fibers in meat.

Braising and stewing are similar moist heat methods of cooking. Both cooking methods use the same initial process of searing to enhance the food’s color and flavor and both methods slowly cook food in liquid to produce tender, moist meat. The main difference between braising and stewing is that the former uses less liquid. Stewing typically involves submerging food in liquid. In contrast, braised food is only primarily surrounded by the juices, liquids and moisture created by the cooking action.

Meat that is braised generally involves smaller cuts like ribs, steaks, chops, and sausage. It is best to braise more marbled or less lean cuts of meat in a braiser pan as the meat’s fat will add flavor and moisture during the cooking process. Leaner cuts of meat can become too dry during this process

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