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Sep 21, 2007 09:25 AM

Braising Short Ribs, help with choice of cookware

So this weekend I am braising short ribs (following the recipe in the Balthazar cookbook) and for some stupid reason it just dawned on me that my dutch oven is way too small for the portions I am making. I have a very large KitchenAid roasting pan, is there a way to (post-browning meat) utilize something else and still get really good results?

Anyone have any improvisational short rib braising tips?

Truth be told, I'm way to cheap today to go buy a le creuset 5.5qt, but it will happen soon. Just definitely not in time for this dinner.


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  1. If it's a good heavy roasting pan with sides at least 4" high, it'll work just fine. I cut a sheet of parchment to fit the pan and then cover that with heavy foil. If you have a baking sheet that's the right size, that works even better.

    1. Is it that time of year already? ;)

      I asked the same question last year ( but I needed something for a small quantity, not a big one.

      What I learned is that a real dutch oven, while lovely, it not really necessary for braising. Anything you've got that is oven safe and will hold the amount you're trying to make (how much is that anyway?) will work. You'll just have to fashion a lid of sorts so it doesn't dry out. (parchment, foil, a cookie sheet...) Be creative, I'm sure you can make it work.

      Edited to add: Le crueset is beatiful and all...but in my book defiantely not worth the price when you can find pretty much the same thing (though in a much smaller color and shape variety) from lodge at a fraction of the price. And from many years of abusing cast iron, I can say that Lodge makes a quality product.

      1. Use your roasting pan, cover it with aluminum foil. The foil (or cover on your dutch oven) helps prevent evaporation and the exposed meat from drying out.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Alan408

          Thanks everyone, I feel far less neurotic about fashioning a braising vessel now. Very helpful. I think my roasting pan will work nicely, judging from your comments.

          1. re: likaluca

            Three tips: (1) use heavy-duty foil; (2) crimp it REALLY TIGHTLY around the edges of the roasting pan; (3) keep the oven temp very low (i.e., 185 degrees) and let the ribs cook all day -- 8 to 12 hours. If the foil is crimped tightly enough you will not smell the ribs as they cook, and that's the idea: you want all the goodness to stay INSIDE the roasting pan. When you take it out of the oven and slit the foil, THEN you'll smell all the deliciousness. MMMmmmmm.

        2. jfood does not own a LC and braises all the time in a large straight sided calphalon and it woprks great.

          But let's go basic, basic, basic if you have nothing.

          Buy a tin foil roasting pan and some reynolds turkey sized roasting bags. Do everything you need on the stove and add all the ingredients to the bag that is placed in the pan. Close with the plastic thing and make some whole in the bag on top so it does not explode. into the oven and presto cheapo braising.

          jfood makes brisket like this all the time. Trick is to

          a) place the pan on a cookie sheet so it does not bend when lifted
          b) place the bag in the pan with the opening up, then place the meat and veggies into the bag, then carefully add the hot braising liquid.
          c) make sure you place a hole or two in the top so it does not explode.

          it's still 78 degrees in CT so braising os still a couple of weeks away.


          2 Replies
            1. re: FrankJBN

              seals in the juices (with a little escaping through the wholes. Acts like an amoeba shaped braising pot.

          1. Understand your financial reluctance. When you buy a Le Creuset, buy the ' dou feu' model with the deep cavity in the top and the biggest one they make. Dou feu means gentle fire; You fill this with ice cubes when starting, and refill if necessary. l have braised many things over 8 hours and never had to refill the top. Mine is 9-10 years old and one of the things l would save if house were on fire;

            3 Replies
            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

              I guess I don't understand the concept. How can you put ice in in a 350 degree oven and have it not melt

              1. re: FrankJBN

                It HAS to melt - that's how it moderates the heat, by melting and then evaporating. You could just start with water, but that would need to be replenished sooner.

                Never used one of these myself; I have two oval enameled-iron pots, NOT Le Creuset, that will comfortably hold about a six-pound pork butt or whatever. I can brown the roast in it on the stove-top, then pour in the liquid and cover it and put in a slow oven. Lovely process, nice result. One pot, a very heavy Chinese-made one, I bought new from Cost Plus for $18; the other, a nice Belgian piece, I got from an antiques mall for $24. Those places are my favorite sources for good cheap cookware.

                1. re: Will Owen

                  Thanks 'Will Owen' for answering the ice cube question. If your Belgian pot says 'descoware' on bottom, this is the precursor for Le Creuset and all my covered cookware with exception of Dou Feu from Le Creuset is from them. Most are from fifties and sixties and last for generations, even more durable than Le Creuset, tougher to get to chip and so easily cleanable, they are wonderful