A Few Questions on Braising

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by vonshu, Oct 5, 2012.

  1. vonshu


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    At home cook
    1. What is the difference between braising on the stove top and braising in the oven? What are the pros and cons?

    2. I don't have a dutch oven. Can I use my 10 qt stainless steel stockpot to braise in the oven?

    3. Specifically, I am going to be braising beef chuck roast stew and lamb shanks (not together) in the near future. Would it be better to do these on the stove top or in the oven? Will the stock pot do or should I get a dutch over or something similar?

  2. teamfat


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    I Just Like Food
    I tend to braise in the oven. On the stovetop all the heat comes in from the bottom of the pot. In the oven the pot is surrounded by heat, which I feel promotes more even cooking and reduces the chance of scorching the bottom.Go ahead and use your pot, it should be just fine.mjb.
  3. scubadoo97


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    At home cook
    Both work but I like the oven better
  4. meezenplaz


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    Sous Chef, Event Manager
    Ive braised both ways, have usually settled on bringing to temp on the stove (its faster)

    then plopping in the oven to enjoy its overall even cooking.

    When done, iots back on the stove to reduce the braising liquid to a sauce.

    If braising on the stove, use a good pot, thick bottom, preferably NSF.

    Thin-bottomed K-mart stock pots tend to be a massive scorching headache.

    But either way, braising is just cooking in liquid, so both methods will do the job.
  5. boar_d_laze


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    Cook At Home
    You have better control of the heat (and therefore time as well) in the oven than on the stove top which makes the the oven a bit more forgiving.  Braising on the stove top requires occasionally checking and stirring to make sure nothing's sticking to the bottom of the pot, but braising in the oven does not. 

    While your cheap, stainless pot will work, do yourself a favor and invest in a decent braising or dutch-oven style pot when you can.  It's true you don't really need one, that you can braise in just about anything that doesn't actually leak, and also true that restaurants often cook their braised meats in inexpensive pans covered with aluminum foil. 

    True, but...  A heavy, enamel over cast-iron pot works better for the initial braise, is more forgiving (there's that word again), and will make your life easier and more pleasant. 

    The idea with almost any braising any meat is cooking low and slow to make the meat very tender, but not cooking so long the meat breaks up into stringy fibers.  With few exceptions, e.g., ropa vieja, stringiness is to be avoided.

    Good luck,

    Last edited: Oct 6, 2012
  6. koukouvagia


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    Home Cook
    I would a avoid the stock pot for sure.  I don't know where you live but if you're in the US run to your local TJMaxx, they have tons of good cookware.  I do prefer an enamel cast iron because it holds the heat better and most importantly it's not prone to scorching.  For braising you'll want a wide but short oven proof cooking vessel with a tight fitting lid.

    I usually do all my searing, sweating and prepping on the stove top and then do the majority of the braise in the oven.  The benefit of braising on the stove top is that the inside sides of the pot won't burn like they do in the oven.  It is more than possible to braise on the stovetop but I only suggest doing so with a enamel cast iron.  That way you can keep the temperature low and it won't scorch on the bottom.