Keep it on the down low: Most braising takes place at low over temperatures, around 300°F.
Dry off: Before you sear the meat, dry it thoroughly with paper towels. If it's wet when it hits the pan, it won't brown correctly.
Easy does it: Sear your meat slowly over medium heat to develop good caramelization. If you sear meat too quickly at a high temperature, you could burn the outside.
Brown in batches: If you're searing multiple pieces of meat (lamb shanks, chicken legs) and you crowd the pan, the meat will steam and you won't get that essential golden-brown crust.
Go fish: Braising isn't just for meat. But quick braises of fish and thin cuts of meat should be gently simmered on the stove over low heat; longer, slower braises belong in the oven.
Put a lid on it: Braising works best when the flavorful steam is sealed in a heavy-duty Dutch oven. A 5-quart size is generally the most useful.