Caramelized Meats’ Secret
Not much of a secret if you have patience and top-notch cookware.
In my house I would give up my barbecue and oven before I would hand over my stainless steel Chef’s Pan. Whether it’s a one liter pan or a larger pan with cover, it’s indispensable if you love caramelized food.
The 1-2-3 of caramelization:
- Fresh prime cuts of meat [beef roast, whole chicken breasts, and pork butt] The choice is large enough to almost fill the pan you are using.
- No liquid whatsoever. A dash of olive oil is fine to get meats started.
- Plenty of time. No fussing over the stove; just patience and the occasional check and flip.
Set it up and let it do its magic.
With the front element on medium high heat the oil in your pan, dry the meat with a paper towel then add a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper on both sides. For whole chicken breasts, cut the backs open and flatten before seasoning.
Place the cut of meat bone side down into the pan and put a lid on it. Lower the heat to LO or 1 and walk away. If it’s chicken, flip it onto the breast side after half an hour. If your pork is rounded, rotate it. If it’s beef, don’t touch it. After another half hour return the chicken to its bone side, rotate the pork, and yes, now you can flip the beef…carefully. You don’t want to break it up. Cook for another hour with the lid firmly in place.
If you want to cast a savory spell on your chicken or pork do it a half hour before the end of its 2-hour cooking time. Here’s how:
Add a small peeled onion and 2 gloves of garlic for each breast or loin. I sometimes use more, but you don’t want the onion flavor to overshadow the sweetness of the meats. Never add liquids*.
For beef, it’s always best to leave it alone, though I have sneaked in a handful of baby onions in the last half hour of cooking with excellent results.
*Should you find your succulent meat flooded in a bath of its own juice, remove the liquid using a syringe or baster. You will have to increase the heat slightly and replace the liquid gradually toward the end of the cooking. This happens when the meat was infused with water at the processing factory or if it was previously frozen. Use only fresh prime cuts of meat.