Here’s an Easier Way to Brown Meat

published Sep 9, 2015
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(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

Browning is an essential step in many recipes that involve meat. Since you’re essentially caramelizing the surface of the meat, browning takes pale, flabby meat and gives it real flavor and better texture.

Typically you sear meat on the stovetop to get that signature browning, but what if you could skip the searing and still get that same delicious flavor?

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Traditional Searing: It’s All About the Stove

There’s no doubt that searing meat is important for flavor development, but it’s not always my favorite task. Traditional searing happens on the stove in a shallow pan over fairly high heat, which leads to a lot of grease, smoke, and spattering — especially with fatty cuts of meat.

Searing also happens best when the pan isn’t crowded, which usually means you have to do the searing in batches, taking up more time and energy.

Bright Idea: Sear by Broiling Instead

In her recipe for slow-cooker Korean short ribs, Michelle Tam makes use of a different kitchen appliance for searing: the broiler! She lines a baking sheet with foil, places a big batch of short ribs on it, and just broils each side for a few minutes until browned.

When I made this recipe, I was floored by how quickly a few pounds of short ribs were seared and how little mess there was. Consider me sold on this new method.

Some might argue that you lose out on all those delicious little brown bits that cook onto the bottom of a frying pan; bits that you can deglaze and incorporate into your sauce or braising liquid. If these bits are important to you, just broil the meat in an oven-safe frying pan or roasting pan. After the meat is seared, take it out of the pan and proceed with the deglazing.

Give this no-fuss, no-muss approach to browning meat a try!

Other Ways to Brown Meat