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Sauteed beef: why so much liquid emanating from it?? Couldn't get it to brown...

I was trying to brown some strips of beef that I cut up last night for a dish I was making..however, despite the fact that the heat was on high, the beef just kept giving off all this liquid and hence would not brown. Why so much liquid? Was it the way I cut the beef? or the quality of it? The heat was on the highest setting but I might as well boiled the water in hot water because I got no color on it. Any ideas???

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  1. Did you dry the meat carefully? That's usually the problem. Also, was the fat hot - almost smoking - when you added the meat?

    1. My guess is that you were crowding the pan. When you want to put some color on chunks or bits of meat, the secret is in not crowding. When you have so much meat in the pan that the pieces touch each other and basically cover the bottom of the pan, they sweat, hence the liquid. For all of my recipes that call for pan seared beef (such as Stroganoff), I brown the meat in several portions. Good luck next time! And it's an easy mistake if you haven't done much browning.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Caroline1

        Good point about the crowding - I've finally realized what a difference it makes, and also have learned just to be very patient when browning.

        1. re: MMRuth

          I think we all have to learn that patience lesson, don't we? Sometimes I want to scream because it's taking SO long. I've had to do three and four batches of meat at times. But, ah, the results are SO worth it.

      2. Perhaps browning too much meat at once? Try dividing it into smaller batches.

        1. Consider also the source of the meat. Many providers "brine" or add liquid to the meat. That way it may be juicier, but also heavier. They are frequently selling flavored water at the cost of meat.

          1. Crowding the pan would be my first thought. Of course, drying the meat be blotting with a paper towel will help a great deal also. Having the heat on "high" isn't enough all by itself. The pan must be preheated to a very hot temperature and any oil must also be heated sufficiently before introducing the meat to the pan.