When you want to make the most of your steak, look no further than a good old-fashioned dry brine. The process involves rubbing raw meat with salt (and pepper) and letting it sit in fridge up to 2 days before cooking. The result is a juicy, delicious steak that is sure to impress.
To Brine or Not to Brine?
That is the question. Dry-brining can seem like a lot of work, but those results are definitely worth it!
The process has three positive effects:
- First, the dry brining process helps to keep your steak juicy. The breakdown of protein molecules by the salt allows them to become more receptive to moisture. This means that you'll have a nice and crispy browned exterior without losing flavor or substance in the middle!
- Second, dry brining enhances your meat’s natural flavor. Salt has been shown to be the most influential ingredient when creating a delicious taste. By penetrating deep into the meat and interacting with moisture attached to the protein molecules, salt will naturally enhance your steak's natural flavor;
- Last, dry brining tenderizes your meat. It is the ultimate form of tenderization for your meat. When salt is added to meat, it begins to draw out the moisture. This process of osmosis causes the cells of the meat to swell and break down, which makes the meat much more tender.
Dry brining can seem like a lot of work, but once you get the hang of it, it will become your new go-to method for seasoning steaks (and meat in general). So if you want amazing steaks that are sure to impress your guests, dry brining is the way to go. Trust me, they'll be asking for your secret!
Kosher salt: the key ingredient
Kosher salt is a type of salt that is used in the dry brining process. It is made from coarsely ground salt crystals and has a larger surface area than table salt. This allows it to better penetrate the meat and interact with the moisture.
Here is a list of the 3 brands of kosher salt I recommend to use for brining:
1. Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
If you're looking for a good kosher salt to dry brine your steak, look no further than Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. This salt is perfect for dry brining because it dissolves quickly and evenly, ensuring that your steak will be juicy and delicious.
2. Morton Kosher Salt.
Another great option for dry brining your steak is Morton Kosher Salt. This salt is also quick to dissolve, making it ideal for dry brining. In addition, Morton Kosher Salt is less likely to leave behind a salty taste, so your steak will be perfectly seasoned.
3. Redmond Real Salt Kosher Salt
Redmond Real Salt Kosher Salt is another excellent choice for dry brining your steak. This salt is unrefined and contains more minerals than other types of salt, which means it will add a unique flavor to your steak. In addition, Redmond Real Salt Kosher Salt is quickly absorbed by meat, so your steak will be juicy and delicious.
I personally prefer Diamond Crystal Kosher salt to brine my steaks because of its fairly mild taste. However, feel free to experiment with different types of kosher salt until you find the one that you like best.
Dry brining vs. wet brining
What is wet brining?
Wet brining is a process that uses a saltwater solution to season meat. The saltwater helps to tenderize the meat and also adds flavor. Wet brining is often used for poultry, but it can also be used for other types of meat, such as pork chops or steak.
Differences between dry brining and wet brining
There are two main differences between dry brining and wet brining:
1. Dry brining uses only salt, while wet brining uses a saltwater solution.
2. Dry brining is typically done overnight, while wet brining only takes a few hours.
Why dry brining is best for steaks?
Both dry brining and wet brining will help to tenderize meat and add flavor. However, I prefer dry brining because it is easier to do and it doesn't require any extra equipment. If you're looking for an easy way to season your steak, dry brining is the way to go.
How to Dry Brine Steak
STEP 1: Thaw - How to thaw steak
Thawing is one of the most important steps when dry brining steaks.
There are a few different ways that you can thaw a steak, but the most important thing is to do it slowly and safely.
Here are the 2 methods I recommend:
- Method 1: place your steak (covered) in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight if it's a thicker cut (recommended).
- Method 2: submerge the steak in water at room temperature, changing the water every 30 minutes or so.
Whichever method you choose, just make sure that the steak is thawed all the way through before cooking.
Once thawed, pat your steak dry with a paper towel. This will help keep any bacteria at bay and prevent cross contamination from occurring during this delicate process, while also helping create more surface area for seasoning.
STEP 2: Season - How to season the steak
Season the steak liberally on both sides with coarse salt and pepper.
As a general rule, about ½ teaspoon of kosher salt per pound (same quantity for pepper) will yield good results when seasoned correctly - I recommend using Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt for best flavor because it has larger crystal sizes than other brands and it contains less sodium by volume compared to table salt.
STEP 3: Refrigerate - How long to dry brine steak?
The key to making great brined steaks is patience.
Once seasoned, you must leave them uncovered on a baking rack for at least one hour, but if you want juicy meat with optimal flavors then I recommend leaving it up two days before cooking!
However make sure not too much time goes by or your steaks will get all dried out - which exactly what we're trying avoid here in this article…
I have found that dry-brining works best when overnighting the process as opposed to just seasoning before cooking. I often prepare my steaks the night before I plan on grilling them and let them sit out uncovered on a baking rack in my fridge.
Dry Brining Wagyu Steak
What if I told you that there was a way to make your favorite cut of beef even more flavorful and tender?
Well, it just so happens we have the perfect solution for those who love grilled meat. Why not try dry brining the best meat in the world today! When dry brining a wagyu steak, the salt interacts with the high fat content, enhancing the natural flavor of the meat and improving the tenderization process. The result? Your best steak yet!!
In conclusion, should I brine my steaks?
Dry brining has been around for generations and it is one of the oldest methods to season and tenderize meat. I'll admit that - at first glance - it seems like an overwhelming process. But next time you plan to grill a nice piece of filet mignon, ribeye, or any other wagyu beef cut, give yourself a few hours to salt the meat and to put it in fridge for at least 1 hour before cooking - you will be surprised how much flavor comes out when done right!
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