The Time-Consuming Meat Dish You Should Always Order Out

If you're eating out, you might think that anything on the menu is sure to be delicious, especially if you're dining at a fancier establishment. But it turns out, there are some dishes that chefs avoid when going to a restaurant. This includes skipping over caprese salad when it's out of season and Anthony Bourdain's advice against ordering any meat well-done because it's more likely you're getting a bad cut of meat. So, what do chefs like to order when they eat out at restaurants?

Since chefs spend their days cooking, it's no surprise that they want to relax on their days off and skip the extra prep time with their own meals. Executive Sous Chef Oliver Keegan told Insider, that length of time it takes to prepare this dish is prohibitive. He said, "A braised item can take you as little as four hours or up to 24 hours in some occasions where you use a sous vide machine to braise your meat." He added, "I feel that is time you can be catching on a long list of chores and other to-dos that you have at home."

How long does it take to braise meat?

While the braising process can vary depending on what kind of meat you're cooking, it's safe to assume that it'll take at least two hours to finish cooking your meal. Food Network's guide to braising estimates that it'll take anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours for the meat to finish cooking. According to Keegan, braising meat takes at least four hours and can even take up to a full day (24 hours) if someone decides to use the sous vide method.

Braising meat is going to lead to more tender bites, and it takes time for the collagen in the meat to break down into gelatin, so don't try to raise the temperature and speed up the cooking time. On the flip side, it is still possible to overcook meat while braising, so leaving your meat in the pot for a few extra minutes won't be the end of the world, but set a timer or keep an eye on the clock. 

With all that being said, if you have a full day off and want to spend your time cooking, braise away! Try this recipe for red wine braised short ribs or prepare this classic braised sirloin tip roast. Just be ready to set aside around three hours to cook these dishes. However, if you want to save time and still enjoy a delicious braised meat dish, do as the chefs do and order out.

What dishes should you look for on a menu?

Scanning a menu for the items that are the most difficult or time-consuming to create at home really makes the treat of going out to eat worth it.

So what are some dishes that you should be looking for? Braised short ribs are always a hit. Often served with something creamy like mashed potatoes as a base to anchor a rich, reduced sauce, short ribs usually take around four hours to prepare! The Milanese dish osso buco is a great option if you go to an Italian establishment. This braised dish uses cross-cut lamb shanks and vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery. The bone marrow creates a luxurious sauce when cooked with wine and broth. A finished osso buco is traditionally topped with a classic gremolata to add brightness and acidity. Any kind of Sunday gravy that an Italian joint would serve opens the door to another delicious braised meat dish. These tomato-based sauces simmer for hours with a combination of pork and beef cuts, like pork shoulder and sausage. 

At a Mexican restaurant, birria is the way to go. Made with goat, beef, or lamb, the meat is braised in a spicy, chili-laden, dark red broth. Birria is usually served in tacos or quesadillas, also called quesabirria tacos, with a bowl of braising liquid — or consommé —  served alongside for dunking.

Braises aren't just about red meat

Chicken might not be the first protein that comes to mind when you think of low and slow cooking, but there are many braised dishes out there that use chicken instead of red meat. Granted, chicken doesn't typically take as long to braise as red meats, but it still takes more time than a home cook or tired chef wants to devote in the kitchen after cooking all week.

Chicken adobo can't be missed if you're at a Filipino restaurant. Dark meat chicken is braised in a tangy and aromatic combination of soy sauce, rice vinegar, black pepper, and bay leaf. The glazed and tender chicken is served over rice. Coq au vin, which translates to "rooster in wine" in English, calls for braising chicken with pearl onions, mushrooms, and of course, lots of full-bodied red wine. Moroccan tagine cooking often employs braising, too. A chicken tagine could be made in any number of ways, but will likely include lots of warm spices like saffron, cinnamon, and turmeric.

Vegetables can be braised, too! Think about succulent braised beans and yummy stewed collard greens. No matter what you're craving, ordering a slow-cooked dish while you're out at a restaurant saves you time and ensures that a chef takes care to carefully develop those flavors before serving.