Skill level


Equipment you will need for this technique

Casserole (preferably cast-iron) or heavy-based saucepan


2 wooden spoons

Browning the surface of meat at a high temperature gives it an attractive colour and deeper flavour. Watch our short video showing you just how to do it.

For meat pieces, trim most of the hard fat from the meat and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat a little oil into a heavy-based saucepan or casserole placed over a high heat. Add the meat pieces, one by one, using tongs. The meat should sizzle as soon as it hits the pan. (It’s important not to overcrowd the pan, as the meat will boil rather than brown, so you may need to do this in batches.)

Cook the meat, without stirring, for 1–2 minutes, until really browned. Use the tongs to tug at the pieces slightly – if they stick firmly, keep cooking. Turn the pieces over once they wiggle freely. Continue to cook until browned all over.

For minced beef, you don’t need to use any oil. Heat a heavy-based saucepan or casserole over a high heat.

Add the minced beef and use two wooden spoons to break up the mince. Stir the mince occasionally until browned all over. You may have a pool of liquid, once the meat has browned. If so, strain it away before continuing with your dish.