A braising - kettle has a deep cover, which holds coals; consequently, the cooking is done from above as well as below. It is almost air-tight, thus preventing evaporation, and the article to be cooked imbibes whatever flavor one may wish to give it.
The article is generally cooked in stock or broth (water may be used also), with slices of bacon, onion, carrot, etc., placed around the meat. It is a favorite mode of cooking pigeons. An ordinary cut of beef may be made very savory cooked in this manner, and the juice left makes a good gravy when freed from fat.
If a braising-pan is not at hand, a common, tight - covered saucepan answers very well without the upper coals. Except for coloring larding on the top of the article to be braised, I do not appreciate the value of the upper coals, anyway; and the coloring may be accomplished with the salamander or hot shovel as well.