June 20, 2018

Want Perfect Steak? You’ve Got to Try Dry-Brining!

Although a minimum of 14 days is necessary to see results from dry ageing, this 3-day method for ‘dry-brining’ (or ‘deep seasoning’, as Jess Pryles calls it) is a tasty shortcut.
If you want to eat the best steak you’ve ever made at home, you’ve got to try this technique.

The Dry-Brining Method

Dry-brining is really simple.
Start with a steak that is at least 2.5 cms thick. Generously season the steak with kosher salt (don’t over-season it – use as much as you usually would before throwing the steak on the grill) on both sides, then lay it on a rack above a foil-lined tray (uncovered) and place in the fridge.
Make sure that your fridge doesn’t have anything overly pungent in it, as the odour might work its way into the meat. You could also consider putting an open box of baking soda somewhere in the fridge, as this absorbs odours really well.
Now all you have to do is leave the steak like this in the fridge for up to 1-3 days (3 days achieves the best results).

Why It Works

Deep seasoning

This method causes the salt to penetrate the meat more deeply than it would with regular seasoning. How so? Well, the salt crystals draw out moisture (some from the fridge, mostly from the meat), which creates a slick watery surface on the steak. This liquid eventually dissolves the salt, and then the process of diffusion draws this salty brine back into the meat.

Tenderising

Salt works to break down proteins. In ultra-basic terms, salt loosens the fibres of protein that are tightly bundled together. This creates a more tender bite.

Surface drying – Improved Sear

This method dries out the surface of the meat (as the salt is absorbed), and this makes for really delicious caramelisation when you sear the steak. A dry surface forms an exterior crust faster, which lowers your risk of overcooking the inside of the steak.

Best Way to Cook Dry-Brined Steak

The best way to cook a dry-brined steak is to reverse sear it. You can follow Jess Pryles’ easy instructions here. If you don’t want to use your oven and a pan, you can easily create a reverse sear in a charcoal BBQ that is set up for two-zone grilling.

The information in this post is adapted from Jess Pryles, where you can find awesome meat-related recipes, features, products and more.

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