The Ideal Cookware For Perfectly Braised Steak

Ask 20 steak connoisseurs the best way to get the most flavorful steaks, and you'll probably hear 20 unique answers. Some chefs swear by flame-kissed barbecues, others prefer pan-seared or pan-fried, while still more would rather smoke steaks slowly and delicately to preserve the juiciness of the meat. The one thing that most steak fans can agree on is that finding a way to keep the juices that come from good steak prep and cooking makes it all totally worth it, no matter the method you use.

Have you thought about braising steak in a Dutch oven? These cast-iron pots date back to the 1600s, according to Bush Cooking. Dutch ovens have had a resurgence in popularity in recent years, and modern varieties eschew the traditional black iron appearance and thick construction in favor of an enameled steel pan for induction stovetops when frying and cooking meats. If you're looking for some tasty braised steaks, consider using a modern Dutch oven on top of your stove for some truly fantastic results.

How to braise steak in a Dutch oven

Braising meat involves two basic processes. First, sear the meat on high heat to brown the outside of the meat. Then, you slowly simmer the meat in liquid, sometimes a flavorful broth, for several hours. The searing seals in the juices because the inside of the meat isn't cooked yet. Then the slow simmering leaves the meat tender and juicy. If you start to braise meat in the mid-afternoon, you can have a tasty dinner.

Steak tips are an ideal choice for braising in a Dutch oven, says ButcherBox. Find your favorite extra-virgin olive oil to handle the high heat of searing. The trick to searing is making sure the oil is hot enough, notes Taste of Home. If the oil has a light sheen or sparkle to it, it's ready for the meat. Searing only takes a few moments to make the outer layer brown. Then, add your liquid, such as water, broth, beer, or wine, to the bottom of the pan to remove any last sticky remnants of the oil. You want to add enough liquid to leave 50 percent of the steak tips above the waterline. Simmer for two to three hours, either on the stovetop or in your oven.

Cuts of beef or steak to cook in Dutch ovens

Taste of Home says braising chuck roast turns out a tender, hearty meal whenever you add things like carrots, onions, potatoes, celery, fresh herbs, and spices to the broth. Rump roast, beef stew chunks, shoulder roasts, and larger cuts of meat are perfect for braising. BBC relates that any larger hunks of beef will work for a Dutch oven because the heavy, tight-fitting lid keeps the steam inside the pan.

It's this steam that helps cook the meat completely and on all sides during Dutch oven cooking. Steaming with a liquid base traps moisture, turning out juicy meats every time. Using flavorful liquids infuses the meat with those flavors, which makes braising a favorite cooking method for home chefs who want easy, tasty, crowd-pleasing meals for their families. 

Another advantage of Dutch oven cooking is you can add ingredients without having to use more than one cooking pan when making dishes where you sear the meat first, like pot roasts, stews, or soups. You'll have fewer dishes to clean afterward, notes Taste of Home.