Is it possible to sear meat too much when braising so that the meat does not end up tender? Or is it possible i am not searing the meat enough?

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16 Comments

Cav October 13, 2014
What kind of tomatoes did you use? This might be grasping at a straw here, but if you used tomatoes treated with Calcium Chloride, then it's possible that that's what contributed to the meat not being tender. Calcium Chloride is used to keep vegetables firm, and this is not scientific in the slightest just some casual extemporising, so might those qualities perhaps effect the beef?
 
Sam1148 October 13, 2014
Braising can be rather magical. Don't be slavishly devoted a timeline of a recipe. A recipe can not tell the particular piece of meat you have.
It's rather amazing...in the brasing 'slow cooking' process. At one magical point the meat turns from tough to tender...and it doesn't seem to a gradual thing for some cuts of meat...just in a few mins. WOW...tought to tender. The only way to tell is test it. IMHO...for a roast or most cuts of beef...I budget at least 3 hours...for low and slow.

But searing isn't the problem...it's pushing the roast/meat to get done on your timetable, instead of it's timetable.
 
plainhomecook October 12, 2014
This is one of the very best dishes I've ever made; success came from chilling it overnight and scooping off the solidified fat the next afternoon. The meat fell off the bones and if you really like a hearty winter stew, this will fit the bill. https://food52.com/recipes/8578-short-rib-ragu
 
Susan W. October 12, 2014
Wow this looks great. Just added it to my short rib collection and I'll be making it next.
 
Declan October 7, 2014
Beef requires searing. But, in this case, minimal!!
You simply need to ensure that the piece is seared correctly, and let the braising happen. Now ... Braising? That's a little complicated!
 
Leith D. October 6, 2014
I love braising in the oven too! Basic braising: Start on the stove by browning the protein on all sides. Fattyish (and cheaper) cuts or chicken with bones are best. Remove, then brown onions, garlic and whatever other veggies you are using. Add the spices you are using for flavor. Add stock/wine or whatever liquid you are using to braise, and bring it to a simmer while you get all the good brown stuff (the fond) off of the bottom of the pan. Add the protein back, and put into a slow oven for approx. 3 hrs. The braising liquid should come up about 1/2 way up to the top of the meat/chicken. Don't cover the meat or you'll be boiling it. If you want to thicken the sauce, remove the meat and add either a cornstarch slurry (mixed with water) or 1TB flour mixed together with 1 TB butter (no flour lumps this way). Boil the sauce to remove any flour taste. Good luck!
 
DARLENE October 6, 2014
Omigosh you are awesome! I will definitely try the tacos. Thanks so much for all your help! I will keep trying to accomplish the technique on top of the stove, but in the meantime, the oven is my new best friend!!!
 
DARLENE October 6, 2014
Wow, you are a tenacious foody! Honestly, though, I have tried braising for several dishes in the past (stews, goulash) and have never gotten the technique right, so I am afraid it is probably operator error on my part! Lucky I can make a roux or I'd have given up cooking a long time ago!
 
Susan W. October 6, 2014
Yes, it's hard/impossible for me to give up on food problems. I love solving problems.

I looked at the short rib recipes from here that I have made successfully. Both were made in the oven. One at 225 and one at 275. I tend to braise more with my oven. I can't link the recipes from my phone, but you can go to my profile and look in my Beef and Porkified category. Or pull them up using the search function in recipes. One is called Dan Barber's Short Ribs. The other is Short Rib Tacos. Dan doesn't use tomatoes, but you can use a big can of tomatoes in place of the chicken stock. Either recipe can be served over pasta. I think with a low oven temp, you should cover the pot completely with the lid. Don't give up..braising is a great technique and it's braising season. :0)
 
DARLENE October 6, 2014
Gee, I'm sorry. I went right to the website, scrolled down and there it was. Try honestcooking.com/beef-short-rib-bucatini/ if you have time. But if you don't have time it's ok. I really appreciate you talking with me !
 
Susan W. October 6, 2014
Found it!! It looks like a good recipe. Did you add the liquid from the canned tomatoes? A sign of not enough liquid would be scorching at the pot bottom. I am about to blame it on the ribs. I just don't see any reason for the tough meat.

I am going to go look at a tried and true recipe I have here and compare the liquid. I am determined to solve this. :)
 
DARLENE October 6, 2014
website www.honestcooking.com . It's the recipe for Beef Short Rib Bucatini adapted from Food and Wine. Other than the meat, he sauce came out fantastic LOL
 
Susan W. October 6, 2014
Well, I saw a ton of great looking food, but I couldn't pull up your recipe.
 
Susan W. October 6, 2014
Searing adds to the flavor, not to the tenderness. What cut of meat are you using? You need one high in fat and high in connective tissue. You need to cook it low and slow at a slow simmer until tender, so possibly you are not letting it go long enough. You also need an adequate amount of liquid so it doesn't dry out. Last but not least, braise it covered. You probably know that, but just in case...
 
DARLENE October 6, 2014
Thanks for answering! I used beef short ribs in a meat sauce recipe. I cooked it at a really low simmer for 5 hours. The recipe said 4, but I did it longer because the meat was still tough. There was plenty of tomato sauce to cover, but the recipe said to "cover loosely" which I thought was odd. I used a enameled cast iron pot as instructed. So I should have covered it completely?
 
Susan W. October 6, 2014
It sounds like that should have worked. I don't think I have ever had to cook short ribs longer than 2-3 hours. I say covered, but I leave the lid a little ajar so the braising liquid can reduce. I wonder if the sauce was too thick so there wasn't enough steamy liquid? Do you have a link to the recipe?
 
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