Before moving onto 'How to Salt Meat', one of our favourite cook books here at Neat Meat is 'SALT FAT ACID HEAT'. You may have seen Samin Nosrat on her Netflix show, passionately bring her cooking to millions of viewers. Her book is a fantastic guide to understanding the fundamentals of cooking, and with the below guide, we have summarised her advice and used some great excerpts from her book regarding salting.
James Beard, the father of modern American cooking, once asked "Where will we be without salt?"
Salt is crucial in any dish as it enhances the flavours of other foods, balances out sweetness, minimizes bitterness and heightens the overall balance and experience of the meal. Many people think due to osmosis that salt will draw water out of any ingredient, resulting in dry and toughened meat. However, with time salt will dissolve protein strands allowing the meat retain water as they cook – this is what makes meat tender and juicy!
We always get the question: “When should I salt my steak?” Any salt is better than none, so if you're salting at the last minute, a pinch of salt relative to the size will have to do. But if you’ve got the time, we recommend - for a thick steak - to salt a day in advanced. Salt is very slow to diffuse through meat, and if you're cooking with a larger steak it will need time to travel to the center – a day will be sufficient. Remember: a small amount of salt applied in advanced will have a much bigger difference than a larger amount applied just before serving.
You might say, “Well then, how much do I use?”. As Elizabeth Davis once said, "I do not even bother with a salt spoon. I am not able to see what is unmannerly or wrong with putting one's fingers into the salt". Essentially, get your hands into the salt! It may take some practice, but this is a great way to understand and feel how much salt you need in your dish.
Our recommendation for salting a steak is, roughly, a touch over a teaspoon (a couple of pinches) of salt to season your meat, but your palate is the ultimate decider, and this is just a suggestion where to start. Like with anything, salting your meat takes time and practice before you get it right, but don’t be afraid to give it a try because before you know it, you won’t know how you lived without it!