Salting those pieces of meat ?

I’m trying to figure the debate for grilling or pan sauté . I have a nice veal chop . Michael Ruhlman , chef and author says salt the meat well and let it stand for at least 45 min before cooking . I always pull it out of the fridge and let it sit covered on the counter from 2-3 hours depending upon the thickness . I like to bring it into the death zone .:smirk: Dario Cecchini the famous butcher in Panzano, says salt after cooking ? I kind of lean to the side of Dario, Michael is right also . So which method do you prefer ? As for poultry I salt liberally before and let it sit for a hour out of the fridge . Seafood I will sprinkle a small amount after cooking . Do you use different methods for salting those meats ?

I’m replying in order to see replies Is there another way?

Do you salt your steak before or after cooking ?

The argument of those who salt just before cooking makes sense to me. The longer the meat sits salted, the wetter the surface becomes. This inhibits formation of a tasty crust. Patting the meat dry with paper towels helps somewhat. Since I use almost no added salt, I have little direct experience.

…the wetter it becomes . . .

and then it gets drier.


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Generally speaking, I don’t use salt at all when I’m cooking. Folk can add it when it’s on the plate if they wish.

I season steaks right before they go in the pan/on the grill. they never steam or boil.

this reminds me of gordon ramsey and not salting scrambled eggs until they’re cooked. I’ve been doing it wrong all this time? my idol jacques pepin salts them when he beats them.

really, there’s not much difference, which is what I suspect with steak as well.

When I’m cooking a steak I’ll pretty aggressively salt and pepper right before cooking - generally in a CI skillet. Gives a bit of a crust.

couldn’t put my finger on these earlier . . .

the effect of salting before/after/during/never also depends on what you’re salting.

serious eats comes to a similar as above conclusion of salt&stand well ahead:

but for ground meats, not so much:

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At casa lingua, steaks are always liberally sprinkled with coarse kosher salt an hour or two before grilling. No wetness, perfect char & flavor: no post-cooking salting required – just a few grinds of pepper.

Same with whole chickens that are to be roasted. I find chicken can take a lot more salt than one thinks.

Ground meats are salted/seasoned just before cooking, same with fish.


I salt them pretty heavily also . Especially the skin .

Two significantly thick, Pork Loin chops on the counter now. Been out of the fridge for about 45 minutes. Going to dredge them in an egg wash seasoned liberally with salt, pepper and smoked Paprika; then into a coating of Drake’s Crispy Fry Mix. Broiling in the oven for six minutes a side.

I think that will result in a “no touch” main for dinner tonight.

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I take the meat out of the fridge an hour or two before cooking. Seasoning depends on the type of meat, but that and s&p is always applied just before grilling or roasting. Right or wrong, mom always taught me to salt everything–water for veggies or pasta, meats and fishes–before cooking.

Reminds me of the old chestnut. Before cooking a roast, mom always cut off the ends. When I grew up I asked why is that? Her answer? The roasting pan was too small for such a big roast. :confused: Sometimes we just do what we grew up doing because mom grew up doing what her mom did.

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I pre-salt everything – eggs just before, meat well before. Poultry I like to salt and then refrigerate overnight, steaks and chops one to four hours before cooking, and kept in a room-temp oven just because I have cats! The meat does sweat a bit, but a good press from a multi-folded paper towel and it’s ready to go. Same goes for most fish. Even if I’m going to wipe on a liquid seasoning of some kind (oil and mustard or harissa paste, for instance) I’ll still salt it. My principal reason is that I find it’s like salting bean or pasta water: it takes less salt to achieve the same desired taste than salting at the table does. I will put salt on the table for company, but I hardly ever add any myself.


“Meat loves salt and salt loves meat.” - His Holiness Adrian Richardson

Before DURING AND after!

Very old arguments on both sides.

I use sea salt, either just before grilling or well in advance. No middle ground.

Salt will draw moisture to the surface but given enough time most of the moisture will be re-absorbed back into the meat bringing the salt flavor with it. If adequate planning exists, I salt a good 8 hrs prior to grilling and set steaks on a cookie cooling rack over a sheet pan to help dry the surface on both sides.

Method of cooking also matters in terms of surface char. My experience is that the extreme heat produced from knuckle scorching Lump Charcoal will sear a steak in about 1 min 30 seconds per side. Actually very easy to over sear with lump.

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Anyone have a tip to dry the meat without wasting paper towels or having to wash meat-stained kitchen towels?

Noooo. I’d never use cloth towels for the reason you mention. Why don’t you want to use paper towels. It only takes a very few.

Just trying to waste less these days. I was thinking maybe re-dry it in the refrigerator and then bring back to room temp, but that seems sort of wasteful, too.

I’ve found that when it sits in the fridge it ‘exudes’ liquid which need to be wiped up. Hey, I’m in NorCal :slight_smile: I’m big time into conservation but three paper towels will generally go the job :slight_smile: