We discovered the best methods to use the main seasoning of food: the art of salting meat.
What is the perfect time to salt the meat? Before cooking or after? How is the flavor enhanced? Does it depend on the type of meat we consume?
At Carne y Salud we will answer these frequently asked questions, hoping that it will serve as a reference guide.
Let’s start by revealing that salt is a mineral that, although popularly thought to intensify the flavor of food, the reality is that it alters it. It changes it by regulating the acidity or reducing the bitterness of a dish. Therefore, it is more beneficial for the health, and the palate, to choose a good meat and to use less salt when cooking it.
When we add salt to meat, we have two objectives: the first is to add a salty flavor, and the second and lesser known, to tenderize the meat. The use of salt breaks the fibers of the meat into which it penetrates.
The great debate: before, during or after
The truth is that each piece of meat serves different elaborations. When we talk about large pieces, experts suggest salt in water before cooking. This technique consists of diluting 8 grams of salt for each liter of water and then immersing our meat in the mixture for ten minutes to an hour (depending on the size). In this way it will be salted everywhere the same. This procedure is very useful for large pieces of beef, pork, lamb, chickens, turkeys, and whole rabbits. It can also be used in pieces that are later to be ground and cooked as minced meat.
For smaller parts there are different opinions, but all specialists agree that salting the meat during or after making it is more practical and intelligent for the simple reason that we control how much salt we are using. If we season the meat before taking it to the fire, the salt will fall apart without knowing how much remains attached to the piece and how much is discarded.
Another option widely used in medium-sized meats is to cover the entire surface with a generous layer of salt and, when putting it on the fire, then remove the crust that forms. In this way, the piece is salty but not excessively salty, since then all the excess is removed.
An important fact to keep in mind, regardless of the type of meat we cook, is that salting it ahead of time can be very harmful because the piece loses water and makes it dry.
Little tricks, great pleasures
We find a luxury within everyone’s reach to finish a good meat seasoning it with flake salt. Being freshly made, most of the salt will fall apart but there will be some bits that will surprise the palate. In addition, aesthetically a professional result is achieved.
A secret revealed by the French chef Gaignaire is to mix the salt with a few drops of olive oil and use this mixture on the meat when it is cooking. In this way the oil will create a film so that the grains of salt do not fall apart and leave a crisp point on the dish.