Whether it’s #TomahawkTuesday or T Bone Thursday, using a dry brine can be a helpful technique in order to really draw out flavors throughout the meat and render a juicy, perfect steak. Try this with your favorite steak and you’ll never want to prepare steak another way ever again.
When we talk about dry brining a steak, we are basically talking about curing it. Salt and other seasonings are used which penetrate the meat over time. The moisture of the meat breaks down the water-soluble elements in the seasoning creating a glaze which eventually seeps back into the meat. The process also breaks down the muscle proteins in the beef, rendering it more tender.
Dry brining a steak is relatively simple. Season both sides of your steak with kosher salt. Use the same about of salt that you would use if you were about to throw it on the grill. However, you’re going to throw it in your refrigerator, uncovered instead. If you want to add other water-soluble seasonings, like brown sugar, garlic and/or herbs, feel free to do so as well. If you have enough room, use a flat baking pan with grill grates to hold your steak. This will prevent it from soaking in its own juices as they collect during the brining process. You’ll want to leave the steak in refrigerator for at least 24 hours, but no more than 4 days.
Wet brining involves submerging your steak in saltwater. This tenderizes the meat but does not flavor it like dry brining does.
No matter which cut of steak you use, just remember 1 rule: the thicker the better. Dry brining a steak that is too thin might draw out too much moisture. If you have a thin slice of steak, like a skirt steak for instance, it’s better to use a marinade instead.
This simple recipe uses the reverse sear method to enhance the crust of a dry brined ribeye steak:
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