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Home Cooking

Calling on advocates of "oven browning"...

antihawk | Nov 14, 201603:31 PM    

Hi, all.

The title refers to the method of browning meat in the oven, at whatever temperature, over the more traditional skillet browning.

I have seen some avid oven-browning advocates on chowhound. My query is: which meats (and which cuts of those meats) are best suited for this? The only cut I've oven-browned so far is Oxtail. These were full Oxtails, and had a relatively large surface area, so I could brown them without too much moisture loss.

I've considered several other specific cuts: ground beef (or any other ground red meat), short ribs, chuck and brisket.

When it comes to ground meat, I don't think the risk of "overcooking" is particularly large, since I typically use it in slow-cooked recipes. I used both browning methods for this and the skillet worked better. The oven method browned the meat before I could break it up properly. With skillet browning, it is easy to break up the ground meat into a smoother consistency. I actually prefer a chunkier texture with specific recipes, like bolognese, but a smoother consistency is much more preferable for recipes like lasanga. Plus it entails personal preference on this matter.

On chowhound I have seen specific threads about browning short ribs. The consensus seems to be pro-oven browning. The main temperature quoted to do this is 450F. My oven goes higher. I don't see why I wouldn't go as high as possible with my oven and reduce the browning time. This assumes that the meat will get cooked in a liquid for a decent amount of the time, so undercooking becomes an irrelevant concept. Anyway, anyone please give me a reason why I shouldn't rely on the highest temperature for oven browning, given these assumptions.

I also have a specific query about chicken. To me it seems like the ordinary pan-searing method is optimal for chicken. Chicken has a far lower ideal cooking time before it releases all its moisture into the surrounding liquid and becomes tough.

Given all this, surely oven-browning only applies to cuts with large surface areas initially? Also another problem with oven-browning ground meat, I've found, is breaking it down afterwards. You end up with a small-meatball texture. I actually prefer that for a lot of ground meat recipes! Lasagna would be the exception.

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