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Braising Steak: Transforming Tough Cuts into Culinary Delights

Braising steak: the unsung hero of the kitchen. It might not have the glamour of a ribeye or the tenderness of a fillet, but what it lacks in initial appeal, it more than makes up for in flavour and affordability. This cut of meat is a budget-friendly option that transforms into a melt-in-the-mouth masterpiece through the magic of braising.

What is Braising Steak?

Braising steak isn’t a specific cut, but rather a category of beef cuts ideal for the braising technique. These cuts typically come from the well-exercised muscles of the forequarter or shoulder of the cow. Think chuck steak, shin beef, or brisket. These muscles contain a significant amount of connective tissue, which can be tough if cooked quickly. However, the beauty of braising lies in its slow and gentle approach.

Is Stewing Steak the Same as Braising Steak?

In essence, yes. Stewing steak and braising steak are often interchangeable terms used for these tougher cuts suitable for slow cooking. Both benefit from the long braising process that breaks down the connective tissue, resulting in gloriously tender and flavourful meat.

How to Cook Braising Steak: A Recipe for Success

The beauty of braising steak lies in its versatility. While the basic method remains consistent, the flavour possibilities are endless. Here’s a roadmap to braising perfection:

  1. Prep the Meat: Pat your braising steak dry with paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper. A light dusting of flour can also aid in browning.

  2. Sear for Flavour: Heat a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or ovenproof casserole dish over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of oil (vegetable, canola, or grapeseed oil will work well) and sear the steak on all sides until nicely browned. This step is crucial for developing rich flavour.

  3. Building the Braise: Once seared, remove the steak from the pan. Add chopped vegetables like onions, carrots, celery, or mushrooms to the pan and sauté until softened. You can also deglaze the pan with red wine or beef broth for extra flavour.

  4. Liquid Love: Here’s where the braising magic happens. Pour in your chosen braising liquid. This could be beef broth, red wine, beer, or even a combination. Submerge the seared steak in the liquid, ensuring at least half the meat is covered.

  5. The Long and Slow Simmer: Bring the liquid to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, cover the pot tightly, and transfer it to a preheated oven (around 150°C/300°F). The long, slow cooking time is essential for transforming the tough connective tissue into melt-in-your-mouth tenderness. Generally, braising times can range from 2-3 hours for smaller cuts up to 4-5 hours for larger ones.

  6. The Tenderness Test: After the braising time, check the tenderness of the meat with a fork. It should shred easily. If not, simply return the pot to the oven and continue braising for another 30 minutes, checking periodically.

  7. Thicken the Gravy (Optional): Once the meat is tender, remove it from the braising liquid and set it aside. Strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan, discarding any large solids. You can thicken the gravy by whisking in a cornstarch slurry (cornstarch mixed with a little cold water) and simmering until it reaches your desired consistency.

  8. Serve and Savour: Slice the braised steak against the grain and return it to the thickened gravy. Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, or crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce.

Braising Tips:

  • Don’t overcrowd the pan during searing. This can prevent proper browning.
  • Use a good quality braising liquid. It forms the base of your flavourful sauce.
  • Be patient! Resist the urge to peek or open the pot too often. Let the low and slow cooking work its magic.


Can Braising Steak Be Fried?

While technically possible, frying isn’t the most suitable cooking method for braising steak. The high heat of frying can further toughen the meat, negating the benefits of the cut. Braising allows the connective tissue to break down slowly, resulting in a far more enjoyable eating experience.

Butcher’s Fridge recognises the potential of braising steak. We offer a wide selection of high-quality braising cuts at competitive prices. Visit our website at to discover the perfect cut for your next braised steak masterpiece.

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