Monday, October 22, 2007

Tips on Searing Meat

I recently made a very tasty, tender Beer Braised Short Rib Stew and my guests asked how I got the meat so juicy. They seem to get stews, briskets and other slow roasted dishes with dried out or tough meat. So I thought I'd share the secret to always juicy, tender meat...

Proper searing! I really want to stress, that taking the time to sear the meat properly is critical for tender, juicy meat in all those lovely slow cooking stews and braised roasts. If you rush the process, it won't work. So here are a few tips:

1. Use a heavy bottomed large Dutch oven or roasting pan that can handle high heat on top of the stove.

2. Don't crowd the pan...or the meat will just stew;

3. Have the temperature set to medium high heat so that a dark "crust" quickly forms on the outside of each side of the meat to seal in the juices; If it takes longer than 4 minutes per side, raise the heat to high. Just remember - you want a dark crust, but you don't want char!

4. Don't use a non-stick want to incorporate the sticky bits into the sauce;

5. Use tongs to turn the meat and DON'T, I repeat DON'T turn anything until it stops sticking to the bottom of the pan. I promise it will release by itself when it's ready;

6. Make sure you sear ALL exposed sides of the meat. Searing acts as a seal for the long slow cooking that breaks down the muscle;

7. You might want to consider having windows open or a vent working on high during the searing. It's a pretty smokey job.

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