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Braise on burner or oven?

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I'm making a pork shoulder roast from Batali's Babbo cookbook and the recipe calls for coating the roast with a pancetta/herb mixture and then searing it in a dutch oven. Then adding wine and tomatoes, etc. But then it says to cook it on the stove for 2 hours...why not put it in a 375 degree oven? Wouldn't that make more sense and keep it moist? I would never disagree with Mario but am I missing something?

Thanks.

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  1. I usually braise in the oven because the heat is more even and you avoid scorching. I am sure you could make this in the oven.

    But 375 is way too hot, IMO. Braising is low and slow -- I'd set the oven at 275-300.

    1. Keeping it moist depends more on the seal of the lid than the heat method. If the seal is not good, stove top might actually be better, since you are more likely to check the liquid level and add liquid if needed. Burning on the bottom is more likely on the stove top. In the oven you get more browning of the exposed meat. I find oven braising also leaves more browned meat juices on the pot sides and lid.

      With a thin walled pot, I'd say the oven is better. With a heavy duty iron or enameled iron pot, either will work. With a large piece of meat like a shoulder that is hard to turn, I'd choose the oven. Smaller pieces that can be stirred seem to work just as well on the stove top.

      paulj

      1. If you know the exact temperature to set your oven, for your specific pot to achieve a perfect simmer and no more...the oven is fine. If not..use your stove top!

        Fun!

        4 Replies
        1. re: Uncle Bob

          UBob,

          I don't think it's that complicated, really. No need to achieve perfection with a pork shoulder.

          You just need to set the oven for a certain temp, say 275, and check it after 15 min or so to make sure that's not too hot/hot enough. Then adjust.

          1. re: C. Hamster

            My point is/was why not set the pot on your stove burner at it's lowest setting to achieve a simmering temperature?? (per the recipe instructions) IMO simply raising the lid of a pot that is setting on the stove top to adjust the temperature to achieve a "perfect" simmer is a lot easier than going in and out of an oven, raising the lid, and adjusting the temperature a few degrees up or down...which can be a challenge within itself. I find that an oven does not react to slight temperature adjustments up or down as quickly as a stove top burner... often times creating the need to make several adjustmensts before achieving optimum simmering temperatures. For me personally it makes it more complicated. However either method will work.

            Perfection is a laudable goal....even with the ubiquitous pork butt/shoulder

            Cheers!.

            1. re: Uncle Bob

              Because ovens heat more evenly and don't scorch, especially important when you are using a large pot like a LC french oven which is larger than the burner.

              IMO you get better results with the oven and it seems no more difficult than on the stove. It's not critical that the oven react instantly to temp changes when you are braising something -- as opposed to sauteeing something on the stovetop.

              1. re: C. Hamster

                If the braising liquid on the stove top is 200*F and the braising liquid in the oven is 200*F What makes the oven liquid more evenly heated? Stove top cooking/braising is no more prone to "scorching" meat than an oven, or meat cooked over a campfire. Scorching is the reuslt of excessive heat... regardless of its source.

                I repeat for the OP's benefit...either method will work! Do what makes you happy!

        2. Agree with previous poster. Oven is best for temp. control and 375 is way too hot for braising. Low and slow is the way to go!
          Good luck!

          2 Replies
          1. re: monavano

            I'm still learning so thanks for the tips. A six pound pork shoulder roast at 275...any idea how long that should cook? 3 hours? I have a wonderful Le Creuset so the seal is good.

            1. re: pastoralia

              3 hours sounds about right. You want an internal temp of 180ยบ+ for properly falling-apart meat, so give it time to get there. I've braised both stovetop and oven and they both work (with a heavy enamelled pot and cast-iron flame-tamers over the gas burner), but I prefer oven. More economical, for one thing. I also use a remote thermometer to monitor progress, so I don't have to be repeatedly pulling it out to check on it.

          2. Braising can be done on the stovetop, in the oven, or in a slowcooker or crockpot. I've even done it in a cast iron dutch oven on a gas grill and in coals. The secret to a good braise is even and thorough browning of the meat and long slow cooking with a check on the liquid level every 20 minutes or so. Braising temp is 300 or under. Keep in mind when reading a recipe that procedures can often be done more than 1 way. If you're comfortable doing something other than the way the book says than by all means go for it. That's one way of making a recipe "yours". Also keep in mind that restaurant chefs who write books often will use a procedure that is fast because speed counts in the restaurant. Doing a braise on the stovetop is faster but riskyer(sp?) because of the chance of the dish burning on the bottom.

            1. Jfood made the John Besh short ribs this past weekend and he also call for stove top. Sorry John, but jfood placed in a 275-300 degree oven for 4 hours. It was unbelievable. Jfood would never braise on the stove top.

              1. What I've heard is that most Italians didn't have ovens in their homes until somewhat recently (bread would have been cooked in a communal oven), so most traditional Italian recipes are made on a stovetop.

                Personally, I find it easier to do some things like braising in the oven, because I've got a sucky ceramic cooktop that I can never get to simmer correctly. I say go ahead and put it in the oven.