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I'm looking at this guide for cooking cuts of beef:

http://www.newworldfrontiersman.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/1288720744352.jpg

and some are supposed to be braised, while others are supposed to be pot roasted. As far as I can tell, both are seared and then partially covered in simmering water. What is the difference between these cooking methods?

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Interesting question. I've always understood "pot roasting" to be a type of braising. I find it odd that that table calls them out separately. –  Sobachatina Apr 4 '12 at 16:32
    
They definitively used be considered differently. But know they are pretty much considered the same. If I remember correctly it had to do with the liquid being added. The differences obviously didn't seem to be that big a deal to me to remember how exactly it was classified. But basically they are both a combination dry and wet cooking process. –  jeffwllms Apr 4 '12 at 20:21
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come to think of it I think I remember what I was told the difference is. It doesn't have to do with the liquid at all. It is the cut. Full roast are pot roasted, steaks and similar cuts (short ribs) are braised, cubes and dices are stewed. Anyway, I am pretty sure that was one of the differences but again, not a big deal for me to use two terms. –  jeffwllms Apr 4 '12 at 21:40

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Pot Roasting = Braising

This more recent document from the same association, Cattlemen's Beef Board and National Cattlemen's Beef, supports this by using them interchangeably: 3 Simple Steps For Braising/Pot Roasting Beef

I was trying to figure out what the document from your question may have been implying by the cuts the different cooking techniques were recommended for. And I'd guess, because Pot Roasting is applied to more connective heavy cuts, that braising would be a shorter cooking time. That's my best guess.

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that alone doesn't mean that they are in fact the same thing. Some people do still consider them as different. An example is that rouxbe.com considers them different in their courses. –  jeffwllms Apr 4 '12 at 21:33

My Fanny Farmer recipe for pot roast does not submerge the roast in the liquid. So I would interpret the two words like this:

  • braised: cut into pieces (perhaps bite-sized, perhaps serving sized) and submerged in simmering liquid for a long time, probably with lid to prevent liquid loss
  • pot roasted: left whole and put into a lidded pot with an inch or so of liquid, held out of the liquid by a trivet or saucer or just a lot of vegetables at the bottom of the pot, simmered on the stove or in the oven

Both ways are moist heat, but there are differences.

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