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What IS braising steak anyway?

I bought a whacking great slab of braising steak at the supermarket the other day, but once I got home I realised I had no fracking clue what to do with it.

This gigantic hunk of beef left loads of change in my purse so it was patently obvious that braising steak is a mega cheap cut – but all I know about cheap meat is that you have to be careful how you cook it, or you end up with a meal that’s tough as old boots. So how to cook it? The other day, alas, not even Wikipedia could help me work out this Kitchen Bitch, what with its blackout whatnot.

So I had a bit of a burble around the rest of the internet and discovered that most recipes which call for braising steak require slow cooking. Now I’m a slow cook at the best of times – I love to linger in the kitchen over a glass of red and maybe a cheeky episode of EastEnders on BBC iPlayer while I cook, but it doesn’t take a genius to work out that slow cooking aint about that. No, it seems to mean being sufficiently organised so as to allow about three days for your dinner to cook.


But just as I was beginning to conclude that cheap cuts of meat = false economy, I decided to throw caution to the wind and pull together my very own variation on beef bourguignon. Without the bourguignon. So basically just a slow-cooked stew of sorts.

I diced a red onion, chopped a few cloves of garlic, and threw them in my beloved Le Creuset casserole dish with a good old glug of olive oil. Next, I cut my bruiser of a piece of braising steak into hefty chunks and coated it in a few tablespoons of well seasoned flour. In a separate pan I gently browned the steak in a little more oil, and then added it to the Le Creuset.

This was an inopportune moment to discover that I didn’t have any stock cubes in the cupboard: I had planned to add a litre or so of stock to the beef but, determined not to be outwitted by a bit of steak, I improvised with half a sachet of fajita seasoning mix. As you do. Then I threw in a glass of wine leftover from last night – reluctantly, I might add, as I was looking forward to a little tipple later once I’d got the kids to bed, but needs must. Finally, I put the stew in the oven and forgot about it for a couple of hours, until the amazing smells wafting from my kitchen alerted me to the fact that dinner was ready. And all before midday! Serve with nothing but a smug glow…

Anyway, the verdict? Delish. And though I still don’t really know what braising steak is, I do know that cooking it for hours is not a bad idea.

Love, Feisty Mama x

9 responses »

  1. Your a cook/chef,With a cooking website,Yet you dont know what braising steak is or how to cook it?I think you should find something else to do,this obviously isnt your forte..

    • Hi! Thanks for your comments. If you read more onsite you will realise that we are NOT cooks or chefs – this site is for amateur cooks that are willing and enthusiastic but don’t always have the necessary skills or knowledge. That’s why it’s called Kitchen Bitching; it’s all about having a bit of a bitch about a botch and having a supportive community around you to lend a helping hand and give some advice! Maybe this isn’t the best platform for you if you are a knowledgable chef, but we all think everyone can learn something! Many thanks for your input! Carrie (Editor-in-Chief and pretty awful cook!)

    • Hey Grim bender, always someone out there ready to critter size.

    • stop being so mean. this site is great and it’s the whole point of the site! it makes people feel more relaxed and less stressed out over cooking thanks to the lovely editor lady.

  2. Oh come on Queenie,I think you should take up fiction story writing…I’m a mere male teaching myself to cook and there are loads of websites explaining what braising steak is called under various names..and how to cook them in various ways…but always for long cooking for calling it a mega cheap cut..well please tell me where you buy your meat?that peace in the photo I reckon would cost £10/12..yes it is cheap compared with fillet many of us can afford that..and one minute your talking about slow cooking means 3 days then miraculously its ready after 2 hrs…I think that’s reasonable for a ‘cheap’ cut of meat.
    Also you did yourself a favour by not having stock cubes in,,,using that Fajita seasoning made a more interesting flavoured meal. I very often leave out or substitute ingredients and it turns out fine.
    Anyway you have an interesting site I will read further.Good luck with it.
    regards Derek M.Somerset.

  3. CantCookWontCook

    Ha! Someone’s just bought me a cut of braising steak after I said I wouldn’t mind eating steak later tonight and I’ve no idea what to do with it (Can I fry like normal?)!

    Came across this post and it managed to capture exactly how I’m feeling and made me laugh! Some people don’t seem to have any sense of humour (read above posters).

    Love it and have added to my bookmarks!

  4. Have you found out what braising steak is yet? I used to work in an abattior and still don’t know. I know about skirt and chin and even discovered medalions in Asda, turns out they’re “braising” steak too but does that mean it’s stew meat and whats the difference between a cassarole and stew or hotpot – who cares. I just love ignoring recipes and going in the kitchen and seeing what I fancy throwing together, just about perfected beans on toast :-)
    I got some braising steak yesterday and chopped it put some salt n pepper on it and a bit of hendersons and then tossed it into a pan with a couple of inches of “coke /Cola” and cooked it for 30 mins or so after the coke had boiled off. Then threw in a chopped onion and water and then some carrots, sweet pototoes and some ordinary spuds (sour potatoes?) left simmering for a couple of hours and it was delicious, meat really tender but my wife tells me it was a STEW and I should have left the meat as either one piece or maybe 2 pieces!!!!!
    Brill site, keep it and keep having fun.

  5. Hi! I realise this is an old post but have done a bit of reading & wanted to share. Braising steak is usually one of the cuts from the shoulder. Cows have no collar bone so this part the animal supports 60% of the cows weight ie. it does A LOT of work. Muscles that do a lot of work tend to be tough so need longer cooking but they do have a lot of flavour so it’s worth taking the time over. You should try cooking a beef cheek, they take about 5 hours slow cooking so they’re not tough as old boot!

    • Thanks for your input – this is actually one of our most popular posts EVER and we’re thrilled that people are still finding it and getting something out of it – or having something to add! Every little helps when it comes to cooking – we certainly need all the help we can get!! Thanks a million :-)


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