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What Does Braised Mean? A Comprehensive Guide With Recipe

Braising is a cooking technique used to create tender and flavourful dishes.
The process involves slowly simmering meat or vegetables in liquid over low heat for an extended period of time.
This guide will teach all about the braising process, including my recipe for old fashioned braised steak and onions and getting perfect juicy tender results.
Braised meaning and how to braise

Braised Meaning

Braising is a cooking technique that involves browning meat or vegetables in a skillet before simmering them in a flavourful liquid for an extended period of time.

This method works well for tougher cuts of meat and creates tender and aromatic dishes.

The ingredients are typically cooked over low heat and covered, allowing the slow-cooking process to break down the fibres in the food and produce incredibly rich flavours.

This is done in a covered pan at a braising temperature in the lower heat range on top of a stove or in an oven.
Braised dishes are often cooked for hours, breaking down tough cuts of meat and yielding extremely delicious results.

How Does Braising Work?

As it’s heated, the braising liquid releases steam.
The steam hits the underside of the pot lid, condenses and falls back onto the main ingredient, being your meat or poultry.

This creates a constant cycle that causes the flavours of the liquid and the meat to meld as it slow cooks, giving you an especially tender result by the end of cooking.

Why Braise Meat

Braising breaks down connective tissues in tough cuts of meat, leaving them tender, succulent and can be carved or pulled as you want.

The results of braising are comforting, healthy dishes that retain the nutrients of the ingredients and require no fat.

What are the Different Types of Braises?

Braising can be divided into two categories: brown and white.

  1. Brown braising:
    This is the most common method used these days.
    The meat is seared on the outside until it is browned to give it colour and to help develop flavour.
    It is then slow cooked in a dark liquid such as beef stock, red wine, tomato juice, etc.
  2. White braising:
    In white braising the meat is blanched so that it doesn’t brown.
    It is then cooked in a clear or light coloured liquid such as chicken or vegetable stock, white wine, orange juice or beer.

Both types require a low and slow cooking process to allow for the breaking down of tough fibres and create flavourful dishes.

What Can You Braise

Braising works beautifully on most cuts of meat like Beef, Pork and Lamb, plus even lighter ones like chicken and seafood.

But in saying that, the best cuts of meat for braising are the heavily exercised cuts.
These would include those from the shoulder, leg or rump of the animal, as well as ones that contain a lot of connective tissue, braise the likes of chuck, shank, brisket ,​and oxtail.

Advantages of Braising

  1. Enhanced Flavour;
    One of the main benefits of braising is that, since the food is cooked slowly in a liquid-based marinade, it develops a fuller flavour.

    This intense flavour can be altered with various spices and herbs, providing you with tasty braised dishes that are unlike anything else you have cooked before.
    The flavours will be elevated and savoured long after each bite.

  2. Increased Nutritional Value;
    When using braising methods to cook food, certain vitamins and minerals become naturally enhanced in what you are consuming.

    The increased water content and slow cooking of the recipe allows for ingredients to maintain more nutrients than when steaming or microwaving them, all while adding luxury to your meal.

  3. Versatile Cooking Approach;
    Braising is a very versatile approach for cooking, as it works particularly well for tough cuts of meat; but also works marvels when applied to any vegetable such as mushrooms or broccoli.

    You can use different mixtures of herbs and sauces to achieve many types of results.
    Whether this is an Italian style pasta dish or a traditional Irish stew – braising caters for all tastes!

  4. All Round Nutrition Of Ingredients;
    Additionally, this type of method also brings out multiple nutrients from each component in your ingredient list.

    Every part of your meal will be nutrient filled which adds to its taste but most importantly it adds increased nutrition onto your plate delivering essential amino acids, proteins and essential minerals.
    All this is essential for the upkeep of our health along with other significant vitamins that sustain bodily functions.

  5. Time Saving Method;
    Braises may require quite a bit of preparation – such as chopping and slicing vegetables and seasoning the base before placing it onto heat.

    However once set up they take just minutes per day once started, leaving enough free time for yourself afterwards!
    Ideal if you’re keen on preparing ahead ready meals for later consumption!

  6. Budget Friendly Balanced Meals;
    Finally, one great benefit when talking about convenience foods is budget effectivity throughout household budgets.
    With several low cost ingredients within each recipe you can create complete balanced meals packed full of vitamins and minerals.

    This makes sure health requirements are met without going above those much desired monthly budgets!!

How to Use Braising in Cooking.

Braising is a great way to cook more budget-friendly cuts of meat.
The moist heat helps break down tough fibres, making them tender and flavourful.

To make braises, start by choosing your protein – this could be something like chicken thighs or pork shoulder.
Then, sear the meat in some hot oil and add liquid until it just covers the meat.
Simmer over low heat for an extended period of time (the longer the better) until the meat is cooked through.

You can add vegetables, herbs, spices and other flavourings to enhance the dish as it cooks.
Serve with your favourite accompaniment for a delicious meal!

Common Ingredients Used in Braised Dishes.

When braising, there are a few common ingredients that you’ll need to have on hand.

Vegetables are often added to a braise to add flavour and texture;
these could include carrots, garlic, onions, celery, mushrooms or any other vegetable of your choice.

Additionally, herbs and spices can be used for flavouring – bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, pepper and oregano are popular choices.

Finally, choose a cooking liquid; this could be anything from white wine or beer to stock or even just water.
You will need to add enough of the cooking liquid so that the ingredients are almost covered.

Braising in the Right Cookware for Optimal Flavour and Texture

When braising, you need cookware that is oven-safe, has a tight-fitting lid, can distribute heat evenly and hold in liquid.

The best types of cookware to use when braising are Dutch ovens, lidded roasting pans and casseroles.
Large saucepans are ideal for braising, ideally one that can go from stove top to oven.
The versatile Dutch oven is very popular and can be used on top of the stove or in the oven.

Can You Overcook A Braise

In a nutshell, yes you can overcook a braise and dry your meat out.
Just because it’s cooked using liquids and steam, doesn’t mean you can’t dry it out.

As to when the dish is done, tenderness is really what you should be looking for more than anything.
It is done when fork tender and pullable.
If the meat is on the bone, the meat should be starting to fall off.

Braising Temperature

Most braising recipes indicate the ideal braising temperature to be between 140°C (284°F) and 170°C (338°F).

I find that starting a braise at 110°C (230°F) and then raising the temperature to 130°C (266°F) after two hours is ideal.
These are also the temperatures I cook our slow cooked pullable roasts at in our smoker.

Tips for Mastering the Art of Braising.

Mastering the art of braising doesn’t have to be intimidating!
Here are a few tips to ensure your recipes come out perfect every time.

When choosing your ingredients, pick high-quality vegetables that are in season.
Use flavourful stocks and other liquids to deepen the flavour of the final dish.

This will help tenderise tougher cuts of meat and will also help enhance all the flavours coming together to make a delicious, fully-developed dish.

Braised dishes are often times better when prepared the day before, this waiting period allows the flavours to meld.
In addition, when these dishes are refrigerated, any fat forms on the surface allowing easier removal when reheating.

A successful braise intermingles the flavours of the foods being cooked and the cooking liquid.
Also, the dissolved collagens and gelatins from the meat enrich and add body to the liquid.

Finally, remember that low and slow is the key phrase – cook your dishes over low heat and for a longer period of time.

There are a few ways to infuse flavour into the dish, let’s take a look.

  • Dry Brining Your Meat
    Season the meat by Dry Curing before pan-searing.
    For even more flavour, apply a simple dry rub.
    For best results this should be done a few hours or up to a day in advance.
    Place it uncovered in the fridge to really soak up the seasoning.
  • Add Aromatics and Vegetables
    Adding traditional aromatics and vegetables such as mushrooms. onions, potato, carrots, celery, and garlic will add sweetness and texture to the dish.
    There is no reason why the likes of red or green capsicum, fennel, or chili peppers can’t be added.
  • Herbs and Spices
    Adding spices and herbs such as black peppercorns, red chilli flakes, and bay leaves can also add heat and earthiness.
    Try also adding dried herbs, like bay leaves or oregano, or fresh herbs, like parsley or basil, to simmer in the braising liquid.
  • Braising Liquid
    There are many options for braising liquid such as white wine, red wine, meat or vegetable stocks, crushed tomatoes, orange juice, pomegranate juice, apple cider.
    You could even use cola or lemonade as a braising liquid.
    Remember that a braising liquid with higher sugar content will continue to reduce and caramelise.

    You can also combine different options, such as a combination of red wine and beef broth.

  • Braising is economical, as it allows the use of tough and inexpensive cuts
  • Braising is also efficient, as it often employs a single pot to cook an entire meal.

Once you learn the basics of how to braise meat, you’ll be able to make braised beef brisket, short ribs, spare ribs — pretty much any braised meat recipe.

Recipe For Old Fashioned Braised Steak and Onions

Braised Steak and Onion

Yield: 4 Serves
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Beef, pork, chicken and lamb can all be braised this way.
In this recipe for old fashioned braised steak and onions, we're doing a brown braise.

The meat is seared and the onions are browned before the liquid is added.
The onions are a traditional aromatic that will also add flavour.

This guide will teach you how to cook braised steak and onions and getting perfect juicy tender results.


  • 1kg blade or chuck steak
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 small brown onions
  • 400 ml beef stock
  • 200 ml red wine


  1. Getting Started;
    Cut the beef into large chunks and set aside.
    Thinly slice onions and set aside.
  2. Season the Meat;
    Now season your meat on all sides and get your pot nice and hot.
    Use a heavy-bottomed, deep pot, like a Dutch oven.
    Add some oil.
  3. Sear the Meat;
    Add the meat and brown or sear in small batches. You want it to be deep dark brown on all sides.
    Then remove and set aside.
  4. Brown the Onions;
    Next, add the onions to the Dutch oven.
    You want to Saute and brown them up.
  5. Deglazing;
    When the onions are nice and soft, deglaze the pan with wine.
    The acidity of the wine will balance the richness of the meat.

    Be sure to scrape up all the flavourful brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
  6. Start Braising;
    Add the meat back to the pot with the onions.
  7. Add More Liquid;
    Add stock or water halfway up the meat you're braising and bring to a boil, then immediately lower to a simmer.
    Once it's simmering, you can add in any other aromatics if you like.

    Cover and keep it at a low simmer on the stovetop or in the oven at 170°C (338°F).
  8. Cooking the Meat;
    Cooking low and slow breaks down the tough meat so it's tender and delicious.

    Check on it occasionally. The liquid level needs to remain the same, so add more if necessary.

    It will take about 1½ to 3 hours to become fork-tender.
    As soon as it's fork-tender, it's done.

    Cooking any longer will dry out the meat.
  9. Ready to Eat;
    Go for it, serve over a bed of mashed potatoes and enjoy.
Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per ServingCalories 822Total Fat 52gSaturated Fat 19gTrans Fat 3gUnsaturated Fat 30gCholesterol 240mgSodium 367mgCarbohydrates 7gFibre 1gSugar 3gProtein 73g

"These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."

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