The How-Tos of Browning Meat

Recipes often begin by ordering you to brown meat or poultry, before any braising or roasting or suchlike. Browning meat improves its flavor, and the bits left in the pan when you brown meat, called the fond, add flavor to sauces.

There are a few rules for successfully browning meat without having it stick to the pan. First, pat your meat dry with paper towels before you season and cook it. Heat your empty pan, and when it’s hot, add oil; with a good pan, it should get plenty hot over medium heat on a gas stove. When the oil is hot, add the meat. The next step is the most important: Leave the meat alone. All meat will stick initially when it hits the pan, but it will release when it has formed a crust. If you try to turn it too soon, it will stick. Wait a few minutes, then slide a spatula under your meat and see if it releases easily. If not, be patient and allow it to go a little longer. When it has browned, it will release; turn it over with a spatula or tongs and brown the other side the same way.

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