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Video:How to Braise Meat

with Danilo Alfaro

If you've got a tough piece of meat and a whole afternoon, there's no better way to cook than braising. Find out how to braise a succulent, tender pot roast that will be well worth the time.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Braise Meat

Hi! My name is Danilo Alfaro and I'm the About.com Guide to culinary arts and today I'm going to show you how to braise.

What is Braising?

Braising is a great technique for cooking really tough cuts of meat like chuck, or shank, or brisket. What braising is all about is cooking a piece of meat really slowly under moist heat, which helps to break down the tough connective tissues in the meat, at the end of which we have something that is really deliciously tender.

Sear the Meat Before Braising

The first step to braising is to sear or brown the meat in a small amount of oil or fat. So I'm just going to add a little bit of oil here - we want to get this kind of hot so that we get a nice brown crust on the outside of the meat. Brisket is a great piece of meat - it takes a very long time to cook at very low, slow temperatures. Can they smell this? I'm not sure if they can smell this at home, but it really smells nice, too, and that's also part of the whole deal.

Brown the Vegetables

I'll just take that out of the pot, and just set it here for a minute. We're going to lightly saute some aromatic vegetables here, some carrots, celery, and onion - actually we're using shallot here right now - and just kind of brown these off a little bit.

Braise the Meat

And then, I'm going to take the meat, put it back in, cover it with some beef stock, and then I'm going to put the lid on and out the whole thing into a 300 degree oven. Basically, the idea with the amount of moisture you want to use is, you want to be able to cover the item that you're cooking.

I just want to bring that back up to a little boil here - I just want to see it simmer a little bit, very gently around the edges. Now that is one nice little simmer there. We're bubbling. And so I'm just going to cover that back up, and transfer the whole thing to the oven, a 300 degree oven, where it's going to sit for the next four, four and a half hours.

Check the Braised Meat

I'm just going to pull this out and here's a tip: use something other than your bare hands to lift that out because it's hot. I'm going to check out what's been happening inside - careful of the steam. I like to open it away from me so that the steam doesn't hit me in the face. And you can just see, the stock in there has just thickened - the fat and other moisture from the meat has kind of cooked out of it and has mixed in with the stock there. Just look how tender that is - it's going to flake right apart. It's just been braising away for five hours - look at that. That is some succulent, braised pot roast right there. Wow.

You can't not go make this right now. It's tender, succulent, it's like heaven. If you have five hours, and you have a piece of brisket, this is the thing to do with it.

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