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When to salt beef?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I have always been taught (and taught others) that you should only salt beef immediately before cooking. Recently I have even heard several opinions that it should only be salted after it is cooked. HOWEVER..... In The French Laundry Cookbook, Mr Thomas Keller discusses salting steaks 24 hours prior :eek: to cooking to allow the seasoning to fully penetrate the meat. Considering the source I am more than willing to believe this is the way to go but I was wondering everyone’s opinions or experiences with the subject. I currently have some well aged, well marbled steaks salted and sitting in my fridge as a test, I will let you know my thoughts on the results tomorrow. :) What are yours? :confused:
Chef Bob


"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch?" ~ Orsen Wells (1915-1985)
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Chef Bob


"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch?" ~ Orsen Wells (1915-1985)
http://www.frappr.com/cheftalkcafe
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post #2 of 22

In my humble opinion...

I have always salted just before because I don't believe it should penetrate the meat. Call me a purist, but my salt and pepper steaks have always turned out beautifully. It depends on what chemistry you are looking for, really....
Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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post #3 of 22
I was always taught that meat salted just before cooking will taste better than unseasoned meat salted after cooking.

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #4 of 22
I had learned that one should salt only after cooking, supposedly because the salt would leach out the juices whilst cooking. I cooked that way for many years. But lately I've been trying to salt my steaks just before cooking, with a little bit of olive oil and other dry rubs. It would appear that the salt then permeates the meat during cooking and to my taste buds is much more palatable.

doc
post #5 of 22
There's absolutely not enough time for the salt to extract any appreciable fluid if you season the meat shortly before cooking.

That's a quasi-myth. Yes, if you load the meat with salt and give it enough time, osmosis will do it's thing. But this is not a concern during ordinary seasoning procedures.

By the way, I believe Cooks Illustrated did one of their obsessive-compulsive tast tests and sampled meat that was pre-seasoned vs. meat that was not, and the pre-seasoned did taste better.

Does anybody remember that test?

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #6 of 22
Very well said
Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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post #7 of 22
Has anyone read what the new "On Foods and Cooking" has to say? I dislike the texture of a "24hr" salted product, French Laundry or not. I know I'm a little sensitive about it, but doesn't that sound like something that comes in a bag from Wal-Mart, HA).
What were your results?
post #8 of 22
Prior to chef school, I use to salt meat in prep and cook like minutes to a couple hours later. I now salt just before cooking, something the school taught us that has stuck with me like a bad habit. It would make an interesting experiment to do up 2 steaks the same way but salt 1 ahead of time and 1 just before grilling or however the method then compare.
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 

update

Thank you all for your input! The results of my test were very interesting. I took NY Strips from the same loin and salted some and left others plain. The majority of people (6 tried the product, only one said he did not like the salted version) did prefer the pre salted, however it was a little too salty. If I were to look at doing it again I would use way less salt than I normally would if salting just prior to cooking. As the salt dissolves and is fully absorbed into the beef the potency seems to go way up. I would definitely agree with Rose about a difference in the texture. I cannot say that I did not like it, but I did notice it. I think much more that 24 hours and it would be to a point that I would not enjoy it. What was also noticeable was a slight rainbow effect on the cut surface of the meat similar to fully cured meats like ham and corned beef. Would I do it again? I think I would. I enjoyed the consistency of flavour and I think that for most consumers the improved flavour would negate the slight change in consistency. I am roasting a whole tenderloin on the BBQ this week end for a dinner party. I am definitely going to add salt to my dry rub and will post the results.
Chef Bob


"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch?" ~ Orsen Wells (1915-1985)
http://www.frappr.com/cheftalkcafe
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Chef Bob


"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch?" ~ Orsen Wells (1915-1985)
http://www.frappr.com/cheftalkcafe
Reply
post #10 of 22
Thomas Keller proposes salting a day before hand for larger cuts of beef, served rare to medium rare. I think this is most effective with roasts and braises - your typical 10 - 14 oz. NY strip probably doesn't really fit into the category, particularly as most restaurants cook to the desired temperature of the customer. I always salt meats I use for roasting a day beforehand... I don't use much, however. For typical grill&go cuts I just season before tossing on heat.
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Your 100% right Logghi, I did a whole tenderloin on the week end and there was no noticable change to the texture and it certainally helped pull not only the salt but the flavour of the dry rub right into the meat.
Chef Bob


"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch?" ~ Orsen Wells (1915-1985)
http://www.frappr.com/cheftalkcafe
Reply
Chef Bob


"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch?" ~ Orsen Wells (1915-1985)
http://www.frappr.com/cheftalkcafe
Reply
post #12 of 22
I would like to caution evryone on not falling into the sodium trap. There are so many studies on tolerance of sodium in our bodies and how over time we are desensitized to lower levels. Salt covers true flavor, so if you have a great cut of meat you shouldn't hinder it. But if you're starting with a less prime cut/grade, why not change your dish instead to something that suits the cut?
If you are interested in the salting of meats, you should research how dry cures are used with game meats. This avenue uses salt to change, generaly it's believed to "improve" the dry/stringy texture of game meats, by breaking down the muscle fibers themselves chemically.
post #13 of 22
I think salt needs salt.
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #14 of 22
ROTFLMAO!!!!! I wholeheartedly agree Mark!!!
post #15 of 22

salt

What kind of salt? Use iodized salt, you will over salt everything. It's very hard to oversalt with kosher, Diamond crystal only, thamkyou.Any comments?
post #16 of 22
After using primarily kosher salt in restaurants for many years now i feel i can't use iodized salt. I was at a friends house doing some cooking and he only had iodized. It felt like i was putting my right shoe on my left foot. As for pre-salting or salty rubs, it should only be done on large cuts of meat otherwise right before you cook. I do make a concious effort to not add salt or even soy sauce to marinades as they differ from brines.
post #17 of 22
LOL AC,
I do use a 24 hour Kosher salt on larger roasts in my café, esp a seven rib roast and a dry herb and garlic rub then wrap it tightly in plastic film. I get away with a 3 hour cook to rare and they are some of the best I have ever had, I get the same comments from many of my guests too.
Eat to Live Live to Cook Cook to Eat
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Eat to Live Live to Cook Cook to Eat
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post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
Windsor Coarse Kosher is the brand I have setled on after trying as many as I can get my hands on.
Chef Bob


"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch?" ~ Orsen Wells (1915-1985)
http://www.frappr.com/cheftalkcafe
Reply
Chef Bob


"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch?" ~ Orsen Wells (1915-1985)
http://www.frappr.com/cheftalkcafe
Reply
post #19 of 22

Imhpo

I used to season my roasts up to 2 days before use. This depended on what the intended flavor was to be. Steaks, chops, burgers and other cuts would be salted just prior to being cooked. Tried to add Lawrys seasoning and chopped shallots to make a burger mix once and it turned the meat gray as if it was cooking the meat. It acted like a preservative or cure. This usually happened with-in 15 minutes of mixing. Stopped after the first service since it mabe a rubbery burger.

Anytime you add someting like sat to the exterior of meat for extended periods of time, especially if the surface area is small or greatly exposed like ground meat, it has the potential to have ill or undesireable effects.

You can't go wrong (most of the time) with using salt but only sparingly.

As far as type of salt I use now.... changed from kosher to coarse and fine natural un-bleached sea salt a couple years ago.
post #20 of 22
this brings up an interesting ? to those that toss/form their own burgers. I find i get a better burger if cooking a day later-i.e. well defined r/m/w ranges.
only thing i can come up with is letting the protiens relax and "glue"-no additives ground choice or prime chuck. A formed burger cooked within a couple of hours will retain a "grey" or wd interior even though i can tell by juices and feel it ain't. The next day they cook up fine. Any ideas?
post #21 of 22
Dano,
I'll send ya an e-mail so to not alter the direction of this thread.:D
post #22 of 22
I had to get in on this one. Depending on what salt your using, in this case Most salts will Soak up the Juices of your Stake if you Season to far in advance! Hence Dry meat.... Kinda like if your curing Salmon same kinda thing. Drys out the salmon, essentially cooking it.

Although Just before Cooking the meat Season! Cause if you ssear off that meat then add the salt it wont stick... hence crappy seasoning hence gay tasting meat.

Listen me
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