Craving Life ~ Trick Browning Meat

I love stews. I really do. However, many times in the past I would not make a stew because I disliked the initial stages of the stew process; dusting the cubes with flour and then browning them in batches in hot oil in a fry pan. Invariably more oil or butter would be needed to brown the next batch, the stove would become a mess from all the splattering, the fire alarm would go off, and Stormy our cat would dash up the stairs to hide under the bed. If I was lucky, my husband was not sleeping on the couch with Stormy in his lap. Otherwise he too would be yelping and dashing around because of the cat; Stormy has claws. 🙁 I would be rushing around opening the doors of the house and frantically waving a dish towel over my head under the fire alarm to try to get it to stop wailing.

I kid you not! (Sounds like a cartoon story… almost.) That has happened a number of times until I put stop to it. No, not a stop to making stews, a stop to following stew recipe instructions on how to brown the meat.

Now I end up with a cleaner kitchen, no chaos, and nicely browned meat in uniform cubes. What I have given up is deglazing the pan of all the browned residue, yet I gain lots of flavor from the roasted grill marks on the meat. I also end up using 1/2 to 2/3 less fat than the original recipe calls for. 😀

Did that part about uniform cubes get your attention? I thought so.  I don’t buy stewing beef. I buy roasts or thick-cut steaks on sale. (Quite often I can get the same or better quality of meat at a comparable price to the stew meat.)

For example, we do a yearly winter party and the star of the event is our Chipotle Beef & Pork Chili. Here are the steps I go through to get (in my eyes) perfect beef and pork cubes ready for a stew.


Browning Meat for Stews
This method works well for both beef and pork.

See the Notes section at the bottom of the recipe for the pork instructions.

I have described the more efficient manner that I use in the Instructions section below. If you prefer the cubes to be browned on 4 sides (instead of 2), the total cooking time remains relatively the same with the following modification).
• For the beef, rotate the beef 90 Degrees every 2 minutes; this totals 8 minutes for the 4 sides.
• For the pork, rotate the pork 90 Degrees every 3 minutes; this totals 12 minutes for the 4 sides.
  • good quality beef roast(s)
  1. Take out the beef in advance and allow it to come to room temperature. (Preferable, but not a show stopper if you forget to do this step.)
  2. Turn on the barbeque and set it to come to High temperature (same temperature as you cook a steak at). This will take 10-20 minutes depending on your barbecue.
  3. With a very sharp kitchen knife cut the roast into 1 inch (2.54 cm) steaks.
  4. Next cut the steaks into 1 inch (2.54 cm) strips.
  5. When the barbeque is at the correct temperature, lay the strips flat in a diagonal manner to get good contact with the grills to end up with nice grill marks.
  6. Close the lid of the barbecue.
  7. Let the beef brown for 4 minutes.
  8. Lift the lid of the barbecue, flip beef strips over onto the opposite side, close the lid, and brown for an additional 4 minutes.
  9. Lift the lid of the barbecue,remove the beef strips from the barbecue, place into a large heat resistant bowl or plate, and let rest for 2-3 minutes. The beef at this point will be medium to medium-rare.
  10. Cut the strips into 1 inch (2.54 cm) cubes and make sure to keep all the juice from the beef strips and cubes.
  11. Put beef cubes and any juices into stew as directed.
For Pork:
• I normally use pork tenderloins (removing the tough silvery membrane), however, pork roasts work just as well.
• Leave the pork in the refrigerator until ready to cut.
• Cook at Medium-High temperature.
• Increase cooking time for pork to 5-6 minutes on each side.
• For pork you are looking to have it just cooked for the stew. Pink in the inside is fine. Raw is not acceptable. If you get overcooked desert pork, well, 😉 I can't help you.






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