Salt Rub

How to salt your steak right

The white gold changes your steak in many different ways! Explore what it can effect!

Salt the steak
1. The best timing for salting?
2. What is „Dry Brining“?
3. How much salt?
4. Which salt?

The best timing for salting?
There are three basic approaches to salting steaks.

The first, and immediately the simplest, is to salt the meat with a "finishing salt" only after grilling. This preserves the natural flavor of the meat. This method is particularly suitable for good quality meat, where you should first try the meat without salt, so as not to spoil the taste.

The second approach is to salt the meat just before grilling. Most of the salt stays on the surface and does not penetrate very far into the meat. As a result, a nice crust forms during grilling.

The third approach is the so-called "dry brining". Here, the meat is salted at least 40 minutes before grilling. This allows the salt to penetrate far into the meat.

What is „Dry Brining“?
„Dry brining" is currently on everyone's lips. In this process, the food to be cooked, for example a steak, is generously salted and stored in the refrigerator for several hours or even days. The meat can be stored uncovered for up to approx. 12 hours; if it is in the refrigerator for longer, it should be wrapped in cling film.

Dry brining makes use of the processes of osmosis and diffusion. Osmosis describes the process of a solution passing through a membrane towards a more concentrated solution to equalize the concentration gradient. Diffusion means that particles (e.g. salt) are distributed in a liquid until the same concentration is reached everywhere. At the same time, denaturation or splitting of proteins takes place, which facilitates the penetration of salt and makes the meat somewhat more tender in this step.

This means to us:
If we salt a steak less than 10 minutes before grilling, nothing much happens. If we salt a steak 15 minutes before grilling, the salt extracts liquid from the meat. However, the salt barely penetrates the meat and proteins are not yet denatured. If we were to grill the steak now, it would become dry and tough. From 40 minutes, the salt soaks into the meat. The onset of protein denaturation makes it easier for the salt to penetrate further into the meat and spread. Now the steak becomes juicier and more tender.

Thus, after first removing the liquid from the steak, the salt soaks into the steak after about 40 minutes and distributes itself evenly.

The classic "brining", i.e. pickling in a brine, which is also used to get flavor and especially salt into the interior of the steak, has a decisive disadvantage compared to "dry brining": With classic "brining", the diffusion works in both directions, which means that not only the salt is absorbed into the interior of the steak, but also the flavor from the steak into the liquid. As a result, the original flavor of the product suffers.

How much salt?
Everyone perceives salt somewhat differently. This is also the reason why salt is on the table in upscale gastronomy, but pepper is not. Pepper is a spice. The dish seasoned by the chef should taste exactly as he has seasoned it. Since salt is a mineral, people perceive the right amount of salt very differently and are asked to add salt themselves if necessary.

In general, however, a salt quantity of 10 - 15 g per kilogram is recommended for meat.

Which kind of salt?
There are different types of salt, which differ mainly in the way they are obtained and their mineral content. Mainly, our table salt consists of sodium chloride (NaCl).

Sea salt and rock salt are the two most common sources for salt extraction.

We distinguish salting between "Seasoning Salt", salt for seasoning before cooking, and "Finishing Salt", salt for seasoning after cooking. "Seasoning Salt" is usually coarse-grained and highly purified, it is usually dissolved in a liquid and should taste quite clear. "Finishing Salt", on the other hand, is characterized by its crystalline structure and high mineral content.

Table salt, cooking salt (Seasoning Salt)
Refers to rock salts that have been very strongly purified and finely ground. These contain few minerals because they are washed out in the process. Due to the very fine grinding, there is a risk of clumping. Therefore, release agents are often added. Furthermore, iodine is added to many table salts in German-speaking countries, which goes back to malnutrition about 50 years ago. At that time, salts were started to be enriched with iodine, because the extracted and purified salt contained very little iodine.

Kosher salt (Seasoning Salt)
Is more coarse-grained than table salt and usually contains no separating agents or added minerals. It dissolves quickly and is therefore very suitable for any cooking and grilling process.

Sea salt (Seasoning – Finishing Salt)
Is obtained from evaporated seawater. In so-called salt marshes, salt water (mostly seawater, but sometimes also salt water from salt lakes, i.e. salty inland waters) is evaporated by the sun and wind to produce salt. It is less refined, coarser than table salt and contains many of the minerals from the sea from which it comes (e.g. zinc, potassium and iron). This gives it a much more complex flavor than the previously mentioned salts.

A special subspecies of the sea salt is the "Fleur De Sel", which is removed from the surface of the salt marshes on windless days. It is unprocessed and therefore has an even higher mineral content and a soft, crystalline structure, making it perfect as a "finishing salt".

Pink Himalaya salt (Finishing Salt)
Hand harvested in northern Pakistan and is rich in natural minerals. The colors range from very light pink to deep pink, depending on the minerals contained in the salt..

Alps salt (Finishing Salt)
Is extracted in Austria and, similar to Himalayan salt, is rich in natural minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron.

Hawaii salt (Finishing Salt)
These naturally colored salts (black by activated carbon, red by volcanic earth or green by bamboo) have a higher mineral content and a unique taste due to the process of coloring. In addition, they are visually a real eye-catcher on any dish.

When and with which salt we salt our food has a very great influence on the result.

It's worth testing the different approaches and deciding for yourself which method works best for you and, of course, which flavor appeals most to you personally.

Dry brining, with the right understanding, gives us a technique that makes the food juicier, tastier and more tender, so it's definitely worth a try!