Want to learn the secret to perfect pulled pork, short ribs and pot roast? We asked Susie Reading, Executive Chef at the Calphalon Culinary Center, to share some advice.
“Braising is one of my favorite ways to cook tougher cuts of meat,” she said. “This technique maximizes flavor, enhances color and seals in juice. Plus, you can often cook the whole meal in a single pot, which makes cleanup quicker too.”
Braising is considered a combination cooking technique: food is first seared on the stovetop using dry heat, then covered and moved into the oven to finish with moist heat. Longer oven times are recommended for tougher meat cuts to gently tenderize for mouth-watering results. Already-tender foods, such as fish and vegetables, can also be braised at lower temperatures and for a shorter duration.
Dutch ovens and sauciers are ideal for braising and slow cooking because they are deep enough to contain large cuts of meats along with the liquid needed for cooking. Hard-anodized aluminum, stainless steel or enamel cast iron pans all offer the excellent heat conductivity that’s essential to the cooking process.
Ready to learn more? We’ll show you how to braise, step by step.
Step 1: Choose your pan. The Calphalon Unison 5 Qt. Dutch oven with Slide Nonstick and the Calphalon AccuCore 5 Qt. Dutch Oven are both great choices.
Step 2: Preheat oven to 350°F. Season a 4-5 lb. pork shoulder to taste.
Step 3: Place your 5 Qt. Dutch oven on the stovetop, add a small amount of oil, and preheat over medium-high heat. When fully preheated, the rim of the pan should be hot to the touch and the oil should appear to shimmer.
Step 4: Place the prepared pork shoulder in the hot Dutch oven. Sear on all sides, approximately 3-4 minutes per side, until nicely browned.
Step 5: After searing is complete, add braising liquid to Dutch oven. Liquid should come halfway up the side of the pork shoulder. You can also add flavor builders such as onion, garlic, celery, bay leaves or herb stems.
Step 6: Cover and place in preheated oven. Cook 2 ½ -3 hours, or until meat is falling off the bone.
Step 7: Remove finished pork from Dutch oven. Place on a carving board and use forks or tongs to pull gently pull meat from bone and shred into pieces. If desired, you can make a sauce from the collected juices – just skim fat from remaining braising liquid in the Dutch oven, add juices released from finished pork, and stir on stovetop over low heat until sauce is reduced.
Step 8: Arrange on a platter for serving, or on buns to make individual pulled pork sandwiches.