Why braise on the barbecue?
Come summer, not many cooks are thinking pot roast or short ribs. Who wants to heat up the kitchen? I don’t. But I don’t want to take a three-month pass on slow-cooked dishes, either. So I solved the problem by taking it outside. I call this new cooking method barbecue-braising.
For the most part, you probably use your grill to quickly cook steaks, burgers, and chicken breasts over high heat. But the grill is great for braising, too. Traditionally, meat is braised by browning it in a Dutch oven, adding a flavorful liquid and aromatics, and cooking it slowly for several hours on the stovetop or in the oven until it’s meltingly tender. (I actually prefer the oven method, since the heat source is more even.)
When barbecue-braising, the grill performs like an oven: You just put your pot on the grill, cover, and let the meat simmer for several hours. But with this method, you have two advantages over the indoor technique. First, before braising, you can brown the meat directly on the grill, which adds extra flavor. And after braising, you can brush the cooked meat with a tasty glaze (a part of each of these recipes) and finish it directly over the fire. The result: delicious, saucy, fall-off-the-bone meat.
Barbecue-braising in four steps:
Apply a dry rub before cooking for an initial layer of flavor.
Grill over the hottest part of the fire to create a flavorful browned crust.
Move the meat to a covered pot on the cooler section of the grill so it cooks slowly and becomes infused with flavors from the braising liquid.
Quickly brown the tender meat over the hottest part of the grill to caramelize the glaze for a final layer of flavor.
A gas grill is best for barbecue-braising, because it’s easy to control the grill’s heat level for the two grilling techniques this method requires—direct and indirect. If you consider yourself a fire master, though, you can make all these recipes on a charcoal grill (click below for instructions on setting up the charcoal grill). It takes a bit more attention and effort to maintain the fire, but cooking over charcoal delivers a nice, smoky flavor.