Understanding What is Braising Method of Cooking Really Means: Cook Smarter Not Harder

what is braising method of cooking

According to Chef Giovanni, braising is “a method using wet and dry heat. Food is first seared then submerged in liquid in a covered pan.”

For over 25 years, I’ve enjoyed experimenting with braising to create flavors. Braising transforms tough cuts into tender proteins full of savory juices through patience. 

My favorite braising tips and techniques will unlock excellence in your kitchen! Braising requires low effort but results are outstanding. 

Through sharing techniques, I hope to inspire your creativity in new braising dishes. Keep reading to discover braising secrets.

Key Takeaways

Braising is a combination cooking method that uses both moist and dry heat. Meat is first seared then cooked submerged in liquid in a covered pot, infusing it with flavor over a long period of time.

What is braising?

Braising is a combination cooking method that uses both wet and dry heat, where meat or vegetables are first seared or browned and then cooked submerged in a small amount of liquid such as stock, wine, or beer in a covered pot or pan (1). Overview:

  • Braising is ideal for tougher cuts of meat that benefit from long, slow cooking such as short ribs, chuck roast, pork shoulder or shanks to become tender.
  • Food is cooked for an extended period of time, such as 30 minutes to several hours, at low heat to allow flavors to blend.
  • The low-moisture braising liquid both steams and poaches ingredients while also imparting flavors.

Benefits of Braising

Braising provides several advantages over other cooking methods for certain cuts of meat. Some of the main benefits include:

Produces fall-off-the-bone tender results

Meats like short ribs and other tougher cuts of meat become extra soft and succulent thanks to the long cooking time in the moist braising liquid. This allows collagen and connective tissues to break down completely.

Keeps meat moist and flavorful

Unlike dry heat methods, braising gives less opportunity for meats like braised short ribs to dry out or toughen up due to the shielding properties of the braising liquid. This helps braise meat with juicy tenderness.

Maximize flavor potential

Cooking braising meat submerged in aromatic liquids infuses them with flavor from ingredients simmered in the sauce (2). Braising extracts savory meat juices into the braising liquid as well.

Ideal for cheaper cuts of meat

More affordable cuts of meat like pork shoulder and chuck roast are well-suited for braising’s low-and-slow cooking methods. This transforms them into rich, melt-in-your-mouth main dishes.

Builds flavor through browning

Searing meat first in hot fat using dry heat develops fond (browned bits) in the pan. This fond is later deglazed to create a flavorful braising liquid.

Ideal method for comfort foods

Braising lends itself to making cozy, satisfying dishes like pot roasts, stews, and dishes where a long cooking time develops complex flavors.

The Braising Process

Braising involves several key steps to transform tough cuts into fall-off-the-bone tender meals.

Browning with high heat

To start, meat is seared at a high temperature in an oven-safe skillet on the stovetop to attain deep flavors from Maillard reactions.

Aromatic vegetables and cooking liquid

Aromatic vegetables like carrots, celery and cooking liquid like wine or stock are added to the hot pan and scraped to dissolve browned fond.

transfer to tightly-covered oven or pot

The whole mixture is transferred to a dutch oven or slow cooker with the meat submerged in liquid.

Low and slow moist cooking

The pot or insert is covered tightly before cooking at a low temperature for hours, absorbing flavor through gradual moist heat.

Tender results

After several hours, the meat is fork tender and pulling apart. The vegetables are meltingly soft and the cooking liquid intensely flavored.

Dutch oven on stovetop300°F4-6 hours
Dutch oven in oven325°F3-5 hours
Slow cookerLOW6-10 hours

Braising is primarily a set-it-and-forget-it cooking technique that uses gentle, moist braising cooking to turn tough cuts into melt-in-your-mouth indulgences like pot roast. Its simplicity belies phenomenal flavor-building results.

Tips for Successful Braising

Follow these expert-approved tips to ensure braised dishes turn out perfectly tender and flavorful:

what is braising method of cooking

Choose the right equipment

Heavier pots like enameled cast iron distribute heat evenly for efficient braising (3). Cast iron is also ideal for getting a good sear.

Select suitable cuts

Look for tough cuts of meat that benefit from long cooking, like chuck roast or larger cuts like brisket. Pot roasting is ideal for these.

Prep the cut properly

Trim excess fat but leave enough to keep the meat moist during cooking. Pat dry and season all over.

Preheat and sear with high heat

Get the pot hot before adding meat to attain savory browned bits using high heat without overcooking.

Layer ingredients strategically

Arrange seasoned cut of meat on top of peeled braising vegetables like onions, garlic and carrots.

Add aromatic flavorings

Scatter herbs like rosemary and thyme over the meat before adding braising liquid.

Monitor liquid level carefully

Liquid should come halfway up the ingredients. Add more if needed to braise fully at low heat.

Use a flavorful braising liquid

Wine, beer or stock plus tomato paste add complexity. Consider adding whole cloves of garlic too.

Adjust seasonings over time

Taste and adjust the seasoning mix as flavors develop during hours of slow cooking.

Rest before serving

Let braised meat stand for tenderness before slicing or pulling apart the succulent braised meat (4).

Master these tips for fall-off-the-bone pot roast and other braised wonders every time. Patience yields perfection!

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Credit : Tesco


What is the maillard reaction and how does it relate to braising?

The maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that gives cooked food its distinctive browned or caramelized flavor. 

When meat is browned before braising, the maillard reaction enhances the flavor of the braising liquid as well as the meat. The browned bits left in the pot, known as fond, add deep flavor to dishes like braised pork or osso buco.

What kinds of meat are best for braising?

Larger cuts of meat that contain connective tissue and muscle fibers, like pork belly, lamb shanks, osso buco (braised beef shanks), or braised beef short ribs, are especially well-suited for braising. 

The long, slow cooking process allows the connective tissues to melt away, resulting in meat that can be fall off the bone tender. Other common cuts used for braising include pork chops, chicken pieces, beef chuck or brisket.

What is the basic process for braising meat?

In general, the first step is to season the pieces of meat with salt and pepper and brown them in olive oil or a combination of oil and butter over medium-high heat on the stove top or in the oven. 

This step develops flavor through the maillard reaction. Next, aromatics like chopped onions are sautéed in the fat left from browning the meat. Then a full- flavored liquid like red or white wine, beef or chicken broth/stock, or a combination of liquid and soy sauce is added along with herbs and other flavorings. 

The braising vessel, often a dutch oven with a tight fitting lid, goes into the oven or is placed over low heat on the stove top. The meat braises at a low simmer, covered, until very tender, usually 1.5-3 hours depending on the cut.

What liquid is typically used for braising?

A flavorful liquid like red or white wine, broth/stock, water or a combination is commonly used. The liquid bakes into the meat during the long, slow cooking process, making the final braised dish full of deeper, richer flavors. 

Wine adds acidity that tenderizes the meat as well as its own flavor notes. Broth/stock adds savory quality. The braising liquid is often reduced after cooking to intensify its flavor before being used as a sauce or gravy for the cooked meat and starches like mashed potatoes.

What kinds of dishes are examples of braised meats?

Some classic braised dishes include coq au vin (chicken braised with red wine, lardons and mushrooms), osso buco (braised veal/beef shanks), braised lamb shanks or pork belly. 

Other examples include braised chicken, beef or pork stew, pot roast, and ragouts made by slowly cooking meat, usually with vegetables and wine or stock. Dishes like these develop luxurious flavor from the long moist heat cooking process.


In conclusion, braising is truly a cook’s best friend. With just a little low-and-slow cooking magic using this simple technique, even the toughest cuts of meat can be transformed into the most melt-in-your-mouth comforting dishes. 

Whether it’s pot roast on a cold winter’s night or osso buco for date night, braised meats are not only inexpensive options considering inexpensive cuts, but the big win is the outsized flavor you get from all those savory juices bubbling up from the meat and into your braising liquid over hours. 

With handy tips like properly searing, using the right cut, monitoring liquid levels and allowing ample time for collagen to break down, even novice home cooks can start producing restaurant-worthy braises with zero hassle. 

So why not unlock the power of braising this week and see for yourself – I promise you’ll becoming a braising believer for life when you taste the fall-off-the-bone goodness!

Have you tried your hand at braising yet? Share your favorite braised recipe or braising tip in the comments below!


  1. https://www.jessicagavin.com/braising/
  2. https://www.mashed.com/1465071/braising-liquid-brisket-sauce/
  3. https://www.thespruceeats.com/best-braising-pans-5080036
  4. https://theonlinegrill.com/resting-brisket/

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