I was browning seasoned chunks of lamb in a cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat and found that by the end there was a large mass of oily black spice mixture in the bottom of the pan.

2 Answers 2


You've got a few options:

  • slightly cooler can make a big difference (basically buying you time to keep things moving).
  • or hotter can brown the meat faster if it's going to be cooked through in a sauce.
  • (more) oil should stop the spices sticking to the pan; that's when they burn
  • if they're big chunks of meat you can turn them individually rather than stirring. Less will fall off.
  • when you can't stop the spices burning the meat is probably browned enough, even if you'd like a little more colour. Have your liquid ready to add
  • if you're browning before a long cook in liquid, do you really need to season the meat before it goes in the pan, or can you add the spices when the meat is nearly browned?

Many spices want to be browned to release or improve the flavour, so it's probably a small adjustment that you need to make.


A common technique in India, where a lot of meat is cooked with spices, is to simply add a little water to the pan.

  • Doesn't that lower the temperature and thus keep the meat from browning at all?
    – MaxD
    Jun 8, 2017 at 11:29
  • Only if you add too much water :) Jun 8, 2017 at 12:46

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