How to Braise Meat Without It Becoming Tough or Dry – 5 Tips

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Braised pork belly, also known as braised pork, is a delectable dish that pairs perfectly with rice. However, when reheated multiple times, the meat can become tough and dark. But fret not, with these methods, your delicious dish will no longer suffer from this issue.

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1Choose the right meat for braising

The best meat for braising is pork belly with a fat-to-meat ratio of 8:2 or 7:3. This means 8 parts meat to 2 parts fat or 7 parts meat to 3 parts fat. Opting for lean meat will result in a dry and potentially tough braised pork.

Braising pork belly yields a slightly tender texture, avoiding dryness and toughness. Some families may prefer using pork butt for braising, as long as the fat and meat ratio remains balanced.

When purchasing, it is important to choose fresh pieces of meat with a natural pink color, good elasticity, and no unpleasant odor upon touching.

Choose the right type of meat for braisingChoose the right type of meat for braising


2Cut the meat into large pieces

Be bold and cut the meat into large pieces, around 3×3 or 4×4 cm. Avoid cutting it into smaller pieces, as the longer the meat is braised, the tenderer it becomes. If you cut it into small pieces, the meat may easily break apart.

If you have time, you can use string to tie the meat and maintain its shape during long braising times.

Cut the meat into large pieces

3Use homemade broth

Most people use ready-made broth (seasoning cubes) for convenience when braising meat. However, using ready-made broth can result in bitter and dark braised meat.

The best way to achieve the desired color for braised meat is to make your own broth. This allows you to control the amount of sugar, cooking oil, and water to create a moderate color without bitterness.


Homemade broth

Making your own broth is actually quite simple: put about 1 tablespoon of sugar in a pan and stir until the sugar dissolves and turns golden brown. Immediately pour about 2/3 cup of water to preserve the color, stir well, and pour into a cup to cool.


4Saute the meat separately before adding the marinade

Another technique to achieve perfect braised meat is to sauté the meat separately before adding the marinade. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Braising meat

5Use coconut water to braise the meat

Using coconut water to braise the meat imparts a natural sweetness to the dish. If the coconut water is particularly sweet, consider reducing the amount of sugar or omitting sugar entirely during marination.

Using coconut water to braise the meat

Here are some additional tips to prolong the shelf life of braised meat:

– Avoid covering the pot while braising the meat to maintain an appealing appearance of the new water.

– After braising, remove the meat from the pot and do not tightly cover it. Loosely cover it or use a strainer.

– When serving, only scoop out the amount needed. If there is any leftover, refrigerate it instead of returning it to the pot.


The above tips and techniques have been tried and tested. I hope you find success in implementing them!

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