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I had always heard that there are some different ways to help improve the flavor and texture of steaks. The idea of this always fascinated me because well, I love steak. I am not a fan of marinating steaks as I really enjoy the flavors of the beef and don’t want to cover up those delicious beefy tastes. So how can we improve upon a piece of meat that is already pretty darn enjoyable? Dry Brining is the way that we decided to test.
What Is Dry Brining?
Dry brining is a method of introducing salt to the outside of a steak and allowing that salt to penetrate the meat for a predetermined amount of time. It is called dry brining because there is no water or other liquids involved in this process. Although, brining generally indicates an addition of liquids to meats, that is not the case here. By coating the steak in salt and letting it rest like that, it allows the water to be drawn up out of the steak, combine with the salt and pull that seasoning back down into the center of the steak. This will do two things. It will tenderize and flavor the meat and will also help to dry the exterior of the steak and help create a much darker color steak as well as help form a superior crust when searing. Due to the dry exterior, the meat will take a sear much better than if it has any moisture on it.
Does Dry Brining Really Help?
The simple answer to the question, “does dry brining really make a difference?” is YES! By dry brining, you are basically forcing more flavor down into the center of your steak. I mean, we all love the tasty crust on the steak but sometimes the center can be a bit bland, especially on thicker steaks. Well, by dry brining, the flavor is now from edge to edge and through out the entire piece of meat. Sounds better already, doesn’t it?
The second part of this equation is regarding the crust. We know that we can get a great crust on a steak over charcoal but does dry brining help with that as well? Again, simply stated, YES! Allow me to explain why. When searing any piece of meat, the natural enemy to a good crust or char is moisture. Nothing will prevent a great sear more than the addition of moisture. You can pat your steak dry all that you want to, but the natural juices are going to form on the exterior of your steak. By dry brining, the salt actually creates a barrier that doesn’t allow more moisture in or out. In turn, when you put it on the grill after the dry brine, you will absolutely form a better crust than a steak that has been prepared in the more traditional way.
Do I Have To Rinse The Steak Off Before Cooking?
By the time that the steak has completed the process, all of that salt that you applied as a crust, has now been sucked into the center of the meat. You will not be able to visually pick out any salt on the outside of the steak. Because of this, there is no reason to have to rinse the steak off before cooking. There is really nothing to wash off.
This was a very interesting experiment for us. I do believe that we will repeat this again. Our schedules got a bit mixed up and we let our test steak dry brine for way too long. When you watch the video, you will see the results. As good as it was, I do feel that it could have been better if we had just stuck to the original plans. Hey, what can I say? Life throws some curve balls at you sometimes that we just have to accept, adapt, and overcome. We hope that you enjoy the video and that you will try dry brining for yourself. When you do, drop us a note and let us know what you come up with. I am curious to know. Until the next time, remember to get out and grill and we will see you the next time on The FOGO Life. Captain Ron out.
- Remove your steak from the packaging and blot it dry with a paper towel. Remove as much moisture as possible from the surface of the steak, then place it on the rack inside of the pan.
- Coat the steak generously with Kosher Salt on both sides. Use about the same amount of salt that you would if you were preparing to cook a steak. A good coating but not fully encased. Place a paper towel over the top of the steak and place it in the coldest part of the refrigerator that you can. Also, make sure there no strong aromatics open in the fridge as this can affect the flavor of the steak. Leave the steak in the fridge, uncovered for 24-72 hours. We went quite a bit longer, but I would not recommend it. We could be moving into food safety problems with longer amounts of time.
- When the time comes, fire up that grill! Fill your grill with FOGO Premium Charcoal. Use some FOGO Firestarters and the grill torch to light the charcoal. Set the grill up for indirect grilling at 250° for reverse searing the steak.
- Place the Meater+ Thermometer in the steak so that the tip is located in the center of the steak. Place the steak on the grate and close the dome. Cook the steak until it reaches 115-120° internal temperature and remove from the grill.
- Remove any deflector and switch the grill to direct style cooking. Allow the steak to rest while you heat the grill for searing. Open the vents and get that FOGO ripping hot. Once the grill is heated, sear the steak for about one minute per side. Slice, serve, enjoy!