If I'm not serving braised short ribs until tomorrow, should I leave them in the cooking liquid or pull them out so they don't continue cooking, and add them back tomorrow?
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After allowing 20 or 30 minutes for the meat to rest (when it will absorb some flavorful liquid and fat), I cool the braising liquid separately so that everything comes down out of the danger zone more quickly, I can defat the sauce more easily (after it's cool), and in the case of brisket for example, I can much more easily slice the meat. Don't worry about overcooking. The meat will actually firm up overnight as the gelatin sets.
About the defatting. One of the major difference I see in Western and Eastern cooking is the defatting process. Here (Japan) the ribs would be brought to a boil, throw water away, add new water, boil, let cool. defat, then flavor. Many times when I read a braised short rib recipe, I feel that defatting after spices and flavoring have been added, the flavorings are getting throw out with the fat, or maybe I won't defat as much as I would if it was just boiled water. Is this not a good process?
I think the fat removal element to chefono's answer- is the key reason to follow that path..
Still I read and reread Chef Ono's thoughtful reply. He has flavored his meat, separates from braising liquid, then defats. I wonder that if first defatted, then make braising liquid, you aren't retaining more flavor?
I do what Chef Ono says, but then I recombine the meat and the defatted liquid for storage, freezing, etc. (sliced, in the case of brisket).
Here's my take: I'm not afraid of fat like many people. I love fat. Fat = Flavor But there is a limit. Ribs have too much fat; some of it has got to go -- if for no other reason than I detest greasy sauces.
Keep in mind there are fat-soluble flavors, water-soluble flavors and alcohol-soluble flavors. Discarding excess fat post-braise may waste some flavor dissolved in it, but double-boiling then discarding the water will waste a lot of water-soluble flavor. Seasoning I can add, meat flavor I can't. The next time you render the fat by boiling, taste the water and you'll see what you're tossing away.
I'd also worry about how much gelatin would be lost with the process you describe. That's precious stuff.
Chef Ono, thank you for carefully explaining what each process details. I will taste the water next time, but I think I might be changing my ways....There usually is plenty of gelatin left but I see what you mean about meat being water-soluble flavor. This is why food52 is so valuable.... Again, thank you.
pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.
I absolutely agree on gelatin loss. It is indeed precious stuff, and an essential component to a good meat stock.
ChefOno has put it perfectly. Braising is absolutely my favorite cooking method. It extracts an enormous amount of flavor. removing the solidified fat will not noticeably alter the end product, except having a less greasy sauce.
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