Braised beef is tender, juicy, and flavourful. It is made brown in olive oil and covered in sauteed onion, garlic, and spices. You should ideally use red wine in braising beef. It is a great combination for creamy mashed potatoes, and also works well as the best main dish to be served on New Years’ and Christmas. You can serve mashed potatoes with braised beef stew, short ribs, and rib roast.
Despite being so rich and hearty, many people are not able to make it super tender, even after multiple attempts. If you are also one of them, then here you will come to know how to make it the right way.
Know About Braising and Braised Beef
Braising is a process in which you slowly cook the tougher parts of the beef in liquids, after which the meat gets flavors and becomes tender and moistened. Also termed as the cooking technique of pot-roasting, it is an effective way to break down tough fibers of the meat.
In beef, cuts like chuck roast have thick marbles and connective tissues that are too tough to melt. Methods of dry heat cooking, like roasting in the oven, do not heat the internal parts to an extent to break these tissues down. As a result, the outer parts become dry, hard, and over-cooked, while the interiors are left uncooked. In braising, the meat’s internal temperature gets high enough to melt down the fat and connective tissues. At the same time, liquids in the pan do not allow the outer parts to dry out.
Beef cuts like chuck, plate, flank, and round are best cooked with braising, while tender cuts like rib and loin should be kept aside for other methods of dry-heat cooking. The process of braising melts the marbling on the meat while basting it with moisture.
Preparing a Simple Pot Roast for Braised Beef
Here are the step-by-step instructions to prepare a simple pot roast for braised beef:
- Heat a pot or pan and pour a little amount of oil into it. Make sure that the pot is slightly bigger than the beef cut so that you have enough space to pour in the liquids.
- Pour in the meat and sear on all sides.
- When the meat gets a nice brown color, remove it from the pan and pour off the fat.
- Add vegetables like onions, celery, garlic, and carrots to the pan, and saute for a couple of minutes.
- Add the meat back to the pan and add a liquid of your choice to cover it about halfway. If you cover the meat completely with liquid, it will become stewing instead of braising. The most common liquids used for the process include red wine, beer, juice, stock, or water.
- Add the seasonings to the pan.
- If you are braising beef on a stove, let the liquid come to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. But if you are braising it in an oven, you have to cook it in a covered pan at 325°F – 350°F temperature.
- Remove from pan and cover to keep warm once the beef is cooked and tender.
- Strain the remaining liquid from the pan and reduce to make a sauce. Straining is not necessary, but make sure that you skim maximum fat from the liquid. You may also add flour or corn starch to thicken the liquid quicker.
- Add more seasoning to complete the sauce, which serves as a great accompaniment to braised beef.
Mistakes to Avoid While Braising Beef
Braising is quite easy and you don’t need to watch your pot extra vigilantly. But here are certain mistakes that you must avoid to make that perfect braised beef.
Using the Wrong Cut
The best cuts for braising would be the ones that we often avoid for grilling, such as pork shoulder, lamb shank, and oxtail. Ribeye and filet mignon may become too tough with braising.
The method of braising is a combination of dry searing in a pan, followed by adding liquid for moistening. Searing is an important step that gives your meat a nice flavor.
Using Less Liquid
Whichever liquid you use, use enough to submerge the meat in it to let it cook properly.
If you directly put your pot and meat in the oven without simmering first, then it will take longer to cook and the result may not be that good. It is important to let the liquid simmer before you cover the pan or put it in the oven.
Best Way to Make Juicy Braised Beef
Now that you know the best recipe to make a super tender juicy braised beef and what mistakes to avoid during the process, follow the tips given above to make braised beef that will attract compliments from all.