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Jul 6, 2012 04:47 PM


if i put chicken drums and thighs in a baking dish and pour bbq. sauce over it and cover it at 350 in the oven would this be consider braising? And if made a whole chicken in a covered roaster pan with couple cups of water would this also be braising too?

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  1. No in both cases, unless you first brown the meat on the stovetop, as has been discussed at length in replies to your previous posts about differences between roasting, steaming, baking, and braising. Please search the topic of braises/braising on this board. There are already a plethora of posts going into great detail.

    3 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      if i brown afterwards ....ok too?

      1. re: walnut

        No. Browning first means the Maillard reaction results in a flavorful fond on the bottom of the dry pot. The liquid exuded by the vegetables, and that which is added, is flavored when it dissolves (deglazes) that fond. This will not happen unless the browning is the first step, assuming you are using either the stove then oven, or stovetop only, method.

        1. re: walnut

          I can tell a lot of 'hounds are not up to answering questions, or would rather refer you to some links instead of taking some time to answer you.

          No it's not really braising, but as greygarious started to instruct to you, you should brown them first in your pan that you will use, so as to incorporate the brown bits, or fond, into the dish. So brown a bit first. You could then braise in the sauce in a low oven, covered, no higher than 300 for an hour or two, depending of how many pieces you had & how big they are. The sauce remaining will be a bit watery, but I would just reserve some undiluted BBQ sauce for the end.

        1. re: TorontoJo

          reason i ask......and if u dont want to reply ok. But in my crock pot book it says braising food in here is easy and u dont have to brown the food first it is not nec. but it does add flavor.

          1. re: walnut

            I think your crock pot book is promoting the idea that all you have to do is put everything in a crock pot and in eight hours you have supper. Which is true, sorta. Good cooking is about taking the trouble. In this case, the trouble to have a heavy cast iron or enameled cast iron pot with a lid. The trouble to brown the meat and soften the vegetables in the pot. The trouble to think about what braising liquid you want to use. And maybe the trouble to pick up a copy of "All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking" by Molly Stevens. Or you could brown the meat and soften the aromatics (vegetables) in a heavy skillet, then put them in your crock pot, then deglaze the skillet and put all that flavor into the crock pot, too. Then add your braising liquid and let it go for about eight hours.

            I hope this doesn't sound as snarky to you as it does to me. I'm really just trying to help out, here.

            1. re: walnut

              Braising (as a general term in culinary arts)


              To fry lightly fry food and then cook it slowly (simmer) in a closed container

              To cook meat and/or vegetables in fat to brown them lightly (maillard effect) in fat or oil, them simmer them in a small amount of liquid in a covered container.

              However, to be specific, the broader application of the term includes both "brown braising" and "white braising", the latter being more commonly applied to root vegetables and/or offal and involves blanching (not par boiling) the meat and/or vegetables and finishing in a stock created from blanching then simmering chicken or veal bones (some use beef bones but I don't believe they're appropriate for a white braise) with a mirepoix.

          2. The New Larousse gastronomique (1960)
            Method which can be applied to most food substances, cooked in an airtight pan, adding very little liquid.

            The Cook's Book,p294 (DK, ed Jill Norman)
            "The differences between braising and stewing are subtle. In a braise, the meat is usually in large pieces and is cooked in enough liquid barely to cover, whereas in a stew the pieces of meat are smaller and there is generally more liquid. There are two methods of starting the cooking. The meat can be seared ..., or the meat, vegetalbes and liuqid can be put into the pan raw at the beginning ..."

            Browning the meat before adding the liquid is a method of adding flavor to the dish, but not essential to the definition of the method.

            The whole chicken dish fits my notion of braising. The drums and thighs might be called that, though I'm inclined to just call them 'baked in bbq sauce'.

            26 Replies
            1. re: paulj

              paulj...if you dont mind what is your reason u would call the drums and thighs just baked in bbq.sauce...instead of braising? thanks

              1. re: walnut

                putting raw meat into liquid to cook is more like poaching. it sounds just awful for chicken legs.

                1. re: walnut

                  It's more of a gut feeling for how the words are use than careful reasoning.

                  I find it more useful to think about word definitions as prototypes rather than boundaries. In this case there are certain preparations are unquestionably braising. That are others which are similar, but differ to one degree or other. The further you are from the prototype, the less useful the term becomes. Even if the term applies by some rule or definition, it might not be useful.

                  I was going to argue that trying to apply 'braising' to this dish doesn't help, either understanding braising or making this dish better. But on further thought it might be useful, if it raises questions, such as:

                  - would it help to brown the chicken pieces before hand. Some would insist that browning is necessarily, either for flavor or to meet some definition. I don't like browning chicken pieces very much. It's tedious and messy (all the oil spatter).

                  - how much sauce do you use? enough to coat, or to drown the pieces?

                  - do you take into account the meat juices that will be added to the sauce?

                  - how tightly do you cover, and why? Should you remove the cover at some point to allow some browning and evaporation?

                  - what's the value of browning the meat before hand, if it is going to brown while baking/braising? If totally covered with liquid there won't be much browning during cooking, but the meat is exposed (above the cooking liquid) it might brown, it might even burn.

                  - what flavors and color does itself provide? I like to 'red cook' chicken, using a soy sauce rich broth. The's no frying before hand, it's swimming in the broth, but the sauce gives plenty of color

                  - skin or no skin? Without skin the meat might absorb more flavor from the cooking liquid. For that Chinese 'red cook' skinless is the norm. Same for most Indian recipes.

                  - do you want crisp skin, or flabby?

                  - I just saw an Indonesian preparation (on Barron Amb.) where the cooked chicken pieces are deep fried. Presumably this allows the meat to get all the flavor from the cooking and marinating liquid, but still have a crispness that comes from frying.

                  1. re: paulj

                    ok...i thought it had to do wiyh the liquid using. most braising i read use the cooking liquid for something like gravy.

                      1. re: walnut

                        when my grandma taught me to make a pot roast for Sundays we did the browning etc... all the the things u do to put it in the oven. i dont ever remember her telling me this was braising...she just showed me and i rem. how to do it. should i be trying to label every thing i cook by the cooking terms?

                        1. re: walnut

                          Stop fretting about terminology - it sounds like you know how to braise. My mother didn't know the term, either, but she made great pot roast and goulash.
                          There can be very counterproductive overlaps and confusions around cooking terms. Different cooks have different understandings of what simmer means.
                          Look at the current thread on preferences for saute pans vs. frying pans. There's no universal agreement on those definitions.

                          1. re: greygarious

                            i put in search that thread and cant find it.....saute pan vs frying pan

                            1. re: greygarious

                              +5,893,765 on this answer. And walnut, as you get experience, you won't need recipes, either. You'll find cooking to be a wonderful adventure.

                            2. re: walnut

                              No, you shouldn't be trying to label every thing u cook by the cooking terms.

                              1. re: escondido123

                                i found the rec. for the chicken and bbq thing it was for my crock pot which is broke. In the rec. it said braising chicken peices and it said to pour the bbq sauce on. cook on low my question is can i do this like i said earlier in the 13x9 baking dish in the oven say at 350.....would anything be different cooking this way vs the crock pot? Sorry but have to ask ..seeing it said if used crock pot its braising wouldnt it be braising in baking dish and not considered baked?

                                1. re: walnut

                                  Crock pot cooking is a world of its own, drawing inspiration from low and slow methods of the past (including braising), but skewed by the modern 8 hr work day. Where as a cook in the past would have cooked a leg of lamb for hours because that produces the most tender product, the crock pot cook wants to dump everything in the pot in the morning, and come home to a hot fully cooked meal at night. Chicken pieces like thighs and legs don't need 8 hrs of cooking, 1-2 hrs is fine.

                                  Search for 'baked bbq chicken' and you'll find plenty of recipes that do something like what you want - put the pieces in a baking dish (e.g glass 13x9), cover or glaze with sauce, and bake. They may also use the term 'oven braised'. 'braised bbq chicken' might include stove top cooking in a dutch oven.

                                  1. re: paulj

                                    am i right in thinking that just bec. it says baked in the title it could also be braising?

                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                        Yes, it can be baked in the oven in a covered vessel that contains liquid and that would be braising. Though it might well be called oven-braised. Can you please explain why you are so hung up on the name for cooking methods?

                                      2. re: walnut

                                        Prototypical baking is bread and cakes - the item is cooked in an oven, heated by the hot oven air.

                                        If you put meat in a 'baking dish' and cook that in the oven, it is almost like baking, though there's a tendency to use 'roasting' when the piece of meat is large.

                                        Adding some sauce to the meat, and covering it with foil moves it a bit further away from baking, and a bit closer to braising (cooked covered with a small amount of liquid).

                                        How about this distinction:
                                        - cook it in a 'baking dish' with foil cover = baking
                                        - cook it in a dutch oven with the DO cover = braising
                                        same cooking method, different vessels = different names

                                        baking focuses on the use of the oven
                                        braising focuses on the amount of liquid used

                                        yes baking involves dry heat, but that hot dry air does not actually have to come in contact with the food. Even with bread, part of the bread is in contact with the baking pan, and not exposed to the air. And bakers like to control the humidity in the oven.

                                        It's more a matter of language use than a matter of cooking method or science.

                                        1. re: paulj

                                          reason would like to know cooking names is so when i tell someone how i did it i use the correct name it is suppose to be called. Just like the bbq chicken ,some say its the same way u would do it in the crock pot and thats braising,so in the oven in the baking dish covered would be braising ......but everyone else seems to think its baked. And i dont understand what u should call it. I know it doesnt matter the name, but i would like to understand. How to know the difference between baking and braising,YES braising with liquid,(half way up sides of meat) but when it comes to the bbq. dish its called bake?. You asked why and now i told you.


                                          1. re: walnut

                                            If you are trying to describe or name the dish to someone else, what matters is the language that they use. In what context(s) do they use 'braise' and 'bake'.

                                            My guess is that if you were to take this dish to a church potluck, 'baked bbq chicken' would make more sense to most people than 'braised bbq chicken'. Most American speakers, and home cooks, don't have a fine tuned sense of what's difference between braise and stew, or baked with a cover and without. Pot roast is 'pot roast', not 'braised beef'. 'braise' is something of a foreign term, a chefy French cooking method.

                                            And some people will quibble with our use of 'bbq'. Cooking in bottled bbq sauce is not bbqing. bbq, to the purist, means a slow cooking in a low temperature smoky 'oven', a bbq pit. Most of the flavor and smokiness comes from the smoke and dry rub, not the sickly sweet sauce that is poured on afterwards. Don't take this as a criticism of your recipe, but just as a warning that even the word 'bbq' can raise meaning issues, depending on your audience.

                                            1. re: walnut

                                              "reason would like to know cooking names is so when i tell someone how i did it i use the correct name it is suppose to be called"
                                              Call it whatever makes it sound most appetizing. No, I'm not joking.

                                              "Braising,' 'baking,' and all kinds of other cooking techniques are not entirely separate and wholly distinct. There are gray areas, times when either word is acceptable.

                                              Imagine cooking a hunk of pork partially submerged in a sweet and savory liquid (say a soy sauce and orange/orange juice mixture with some ginger) in an open pan in the oven until tender, adding a bit of water as needed, reducing the liquid on the stove top and then coating the pork in it as it thickens. With a little embellishment, the kind of thing you might see at a decent restaurant. Well, one chef might call that dish 'braised pork,' while another might call the same dish 'glazed' pork, while a third chef might call it 'orange roasted pork.' And they'd all be right. Or, more precisely, right enough.

                                              Though some people do claim that the definitions for these kinds of basic cooking processes are very specific, the truth is they're not. The terms are widely used by both good and bad cooks alike with some wiggle room for techniques that don't cleanly fall into one category or another.

                                              The line-in-the-sand distinction you're looking for doesn't exist.

                                                1. re: walnut

                                                  would like to ask one more question there anything wrong in cooking meat ,browned or not in bbq sauce untill its done. like the above bbq chicken or western i need to cook them first in say water or stock drain then add sauce at the end,or is it alright from the beg. to cook it in.

                                                  1. re: walnut

                                                    Yes you can cook it in the sauce without precooking. If you work from a recipe, it will supply that information.

                                                    1. re: walnut

                                                      I would say there's nothing "wrong" with cooking the meat in that manner, other than, in my opinion, there are much better ways of preparing meats such as BBQ chicken or ribs. If you are happy with the end result, the method was fine!


                                                      1. re: Burghfeeder

                                                        What is wrong with what i said bec. people do say like yourself there are better ways to prepare the meat? what are some of the issues with my way? thanks , not that expr. in cooking to know.

                                                        1. re: walnut

                                                          Cooking is a learned, so it's good to ask questions. The problem, as I see it with cooking chicken in this manner is that when it's done, the chicken will be swimming is a mixture of bbq sauce and fat. The chicken will be mushy and just not very appealing. If you want to use this method removing the skin and trimming fat would probably improve it quite a bit. That said, it's pretty easy to grill. Just don't overcook use medium/low heat, and apply sauce during the last 15 minutes of cooking to prevent burning. Let it carmalize (not burn), and the end result will be good.

                                                          The natural fat content in ribs will yield similar "swimming in fat" results also. Ribs need to be slow cooked/smoked, but it's a skill to do it right. If you want an easier rib recipe with great results take a look at this:


                                                          Good luck and have fun learning!

                        2. The original comment has been removed
                          1. Just call it "good chicken."