I’ve never been very good at browning meats, and I blame it on one of my few cooking vices, which is that I love to touch. Whether it’s grilling, sautéing, or stirring, I constantly have my cooking utensil in hand and am touching the food. With browning, I flip the meat after only a few seconds of it searing in the pan, resulting in soggy, dull brown meat that is less than subpar.
Recently, during a little experiment using a pressure cooker, I had the pleasure of cooking with chef Grayson Schmitz from season nine of Bravo’s Top Chef. Not only did Schmitz comment on my fidgety browning skills, but she gave three key pieces of advice on how to brown meat perfectly. If you’re like me and just can’t seem to get it right, these three rules are words to live by. They'll change your braised short ribs (which we were making that day), stews, and pot roasts for the better, so make sure to write them down.
Canola Oil: A fat like canola oil or vegetable oil is the best to brown meats in because it has the highest burning point, making it easy to brown your meat at high temperatures without giving it a black char.
High, High Heat: I think the expression Schmitz chose to use that day was "whooping hot," and she was right. Don’t put your meat into the oil until it is at least 375 degrees.
Give It Four Minutes: Schmitz gave me a time to go by so that I wouldn’t give into my weakness of touching the meat, and it was four minutes. As soon as four minutes was up, she allowed me to at least poke under the hood and see if the meat was ready to turn.
Anne Dolce is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @anniecdolce