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Tips for browning meat on an electric oven

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Okay so every recipe I find that says to brown meat (stew for example) says to put the burner on medium high heat.

If I put it that high, I'm going to have a smoky black mess. I have a regular electric oven, and usually use a le creuset dutch oven for things like that.

I probably brown meat on 4-5, not nearly medium high..

So what's the deal with that?

Also if you need to brown meat in batches, do you clean out the pot each round?

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  1. I brown my meat at 6 or 7 out of 9 in my dutch oven. You don't need to cook it through, just get some colour on it. I don't clean out the pot, but use it to brown the onions and garlic for the stew and then I add the stock for the stew and add back the beef and veggies as the brown bits on the bottom help flavour the stew's "gravy".

    1. I have the same situation as you. My electric burner stove is a nightmare in terms of adjusting heat. You just have to find the right temperature for your stove and what you're cooking. I usually use 4 for most "high heat" cooking. That includes browning meat for stew or soup or whatever. If I'm doing batches, whether or not I clean out the pot depends on how messy it gets. I usually don't have to, and hopefully what does stick will add to the flavor of the dish when you deglaze. If it's a black, charcoal mess, then you're cooking too hot.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Kagey

        Like Kagey, I find 4 on my basic electric coil element just about right for browning small batches of cubed meat in a cast iron skillet. 5 puts the surface temperature over 500F which scorches the meat and leaves a bitter fond.

        1. re: Kagey

          Ok great, that's what I was wondering.. Maybe it's a combination of electric stove and the big heavy pot, ie: perhaps in a regular thin pot I'd need higher heat.. Not sure if that makes it all the way through the sense factory there, but maybe? :)

          When I get it to 5 it seems the sound is more correct to my ears, but I end up with the black mess.. So I guess 4 it is!

          1. re: SocksManly

            I use a Le Creuset enameled pot for lots of things too, and in general I use pretty thick-bottomed pots. Intuitively (and based on no scientific understanding), I'd say that a thin pot would call for lower heat on an electric stove because the thinner material would conduct the heat and burn anything in the pot faster. Because the heat is hard to adjust (i.e., reduce) on an electric stove, and because thinner metal will conduct heat so rapidly, I'd think thinner pot + higher heat would = disaster.