Why You Should Be Slow Roasting Your Meat

It's even easier and yields the same melt-in-your-mouth result.
01/23/2017 03:26 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2017

For Bon Appetit, by Emma Wartzman.

Michael Graydon & Nikole Herriott

You already know you should be braising in the winter, but there’s a new technique in town: slow roasting. Well, it’s not really new, but it’s about time it gets some of the love. It’s even easier and yields the same melt-in-your-mouth result. The difference is that it doesn’t hang out in a ton of liquid like a braise. Instead, you cook it in your oven at an even lower temperature (around 275° to 325°), for a longer period of time. “Set it and forget it,” as our food director Carla Lalli Music says. (She’s even been known to go to sleep with some duck breasts in the oven and wake up to them fall-apart tender the next morning.) Though it’s a super forgiving process, there are still some rules that make it work.

  1. The fattier the cut of meat, the better. You’re breaking down the collagen, which is really tough at the beginning. As the steam from the heat in your oven makes it dissolve, it creates that sumptuous, shred-y texture. You should be choosing cuts like pork shoulder, short ribs, and salmon.
  1. Because there’s no liquid, you generally want to see a nice brown color on your meat. If you don’t get that from the low temp, hit it with the broiler at the end — a trick our editor in chief uses often for this Faux-tisserie Chicken.
  1. Re-think of what’s on the side. You don’t get that automatic rich sauce from the liquid in a braise, so go in the opposite direction. It’s all about crunchy vegetables, punchy dressings, and fresh herbs. This recipe for Short Ribs with Gremolata is one of her favorites.

For more on slow roasting, plus a look at the Epicurious challenge, #Cook90, listen to this week’s podcast episode.

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