Braising versus pressure cooking?
Can someone fill me in on the differences.. pros and cons of these methods?
I would imagine that braising would probably get better flavor.. but both would get you fall apart tender.( maybe too tender with a pressure cooker)
can anyone give me the 101 and their expereinces and preferences with the 2 methods?
(are certain applications better for stocks, extracting gelatin, making tough cuts tender etc)
Pressure cooking is basically braising on steroids. Its exceptionally good for stock, since the liquid gets much hotter, but doesn't boil, so the stock stays much clearer. It will reduce the toughest cuts of meat to mush if you're not careful, and also seems to be very good at extracting flavors and keeping them (since there's no evaporation to take away volatile components).
Main drawback is that you more or less have to get the timing right the first time -- you can't poke a fork in your brisket & see if its done enough unless you want to take the rig off the fire & depressurize it. Also, most PCs are on the small side and the ones big enough to do large cuts or sensible quantities of stock are pretty pricey.
NB: I made stock out of the wing tips from 40 lbs of chicken wings and it was so concentrated and gelatinous it could have been used as a basketball.