What do we mean when we say “sear,” “sauté,” or “reduce”? Here are the definitions of common cooking terms.
To cook large, tough cuts of meat like beef brisket and pork shoulder using the indirect, low, and gentle heat from an outdoor flame. Barbecued foods derive their “barbecued” flavor from wood chips or chunks. The wood generates a deep, intense, woodsy smoke that permeates every inch of the food.
To boil means to heat liquid until large bubbles energetically break the surface at a rapid and constant pace.
To cook by sautéing and then simmering gently in flavored liquid in a covered pot.
Cook en Cocotte
To pot-roast without adding any additional liquid. The moist-heat cooking environment is created by the natural juices within the meat or poultry, or in any vegetables that are added.
Cook en Papillote
This traditional French method means to cook food by enclosing it in a parchment paper packet. The food steams in its own juices so that the flavors are pure and clean. Aluminum foil can be used instead of parchment.
To cook in hot oil deep enough to fully surround the food.
After sautéing or searing, a skillet may contain fond (browned bits) that can serve as the flavorful base for a sauce. Deglazing is the process of releasing the fond by adding liquid—usually wine, stock, or broth—to the hot skillet and scraping with a wooden spoon.
To cook relatively small, individually sized, and quick-cooking foods such as steaks, chops, and skewers, directly over coals or flame. Grilled foods derive their “grilled” flavor from the dripping juices and fat that hit the heat source and create smoke that subtly seasons the exterior of the food.
To cook large, tender cuts of meat such as butterflied whole chicken, prime rib roast, and beef tenderloin roast, using indirect and moderate heat from an outdoor flame.
To cook food in hot water or other liquid that is held below the simmering point.
A form of braising that involves cooking a sizable cut of meat. The meat used is a tough, fatty cut, and it's simmered partially submerged in liquid in a covered pot until the connective tissue in the meat breaks down and the toughness gives way to a meltingly tender texture.