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Apr 15, 2008 06:35 AM

Braising Issues

I braised short ribs in brown ale, beef stock and some assorted veggies. I used a crock pot. I browned meat and veggies first. I pureed the veggies and reduced the sauce when the meat was done. Everything tasted good, tasted better the next day. Here's the problem: The meat itself really fell apart. This was fine for me to eat, and I know the point of braising is to soften meat to fall off the bone...but I can't imagine serving loose meat chunks to guests. I had to fish through the pot to find chunks of meat. Am I braising it too long? Should I just find a more creative way to serve it?

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  1. I think the issue is the crockpot. I've never had success with anything other than spaghetti sauce and heating up meatballs for a party with one as I find that meat (other than ground meat) loses all of it's texture and much of it's flavor.

    1. I agree with Janet. I KNOW that my crockpot runs too hot for the "Low" setting. The problem may be that the temp. is too high, and they are cooked for too long. Now, even if you cook at a proper braising temp (around 275-300) meat will fall apart with time. The trick is to remove it when it's tender, but not falling apart.
      Otherwise, your reicpe sounds delicious.

      1. I love it when the meat is falling apart like that, but if you don't care for it, then try braising it a shorter time. There's nothing wrong with the method or tools you're using. If you shoot for less time I think you'll get what you're looking for. :)

        1. I, too, like it so that it is falling apart, but here's a remedy for serving it that I stole from a nearby restaurant. Once everything is done, separate out some of the meat from the sauce. Place a cleaned tuna can that has the top and bottom removed on the plate, where you'd like the meat, and pack the meat in. Remove the can and you'll have a lovely cylinder of incredibly tender meat. Serve the sauce under, over, on the side - whatever you prefer. That way, you can cook it like crazy and make delicious meat, but still serve it in a polished way.

          1. As others have said, it's probably overcooked. My new crockpot has a timer that turns off and keeps the food warm after so it doesn't overcook. Having gotten used to it, I wouldn't buy a crockpot without it. But, with the loose chunks of meat, that sounds great over mashed potatoes or polenta.