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Prime Steak Guinea Pig reporting for duty.

a
adamshoe Jul 6, 2009 01:02 PM

I've accepted KTinNYC's challenge to do a side by side comparison of salted in advance vs. salted just before cooking. I don't have time to do them for more than 8 hours. So, my beautiful NY prime steaks are uncovered on a rack in the fridge, one salted with about 3/4 tsp kosher salt, the other buck nekkid. Will be cooking them to med-rare and let you know the results. adam

  1. a
    adamshoe Jul 7, 2009 12:02 PM

    The results: (drumroll, please....) The pre-salted (for 8 hrs.) was the winner, but it was close. There were only 2 of us eating them. It was slightly juicier and just had a better overall taste and texture than the one I seasoned just before cooking. Both steaks were of the same thickness and weight, but don't know if they came from the same cow! I rested the steaks for 2 hrs. @ room temp, then into a 275 oven till they hit 95 degrees. Then a quick sear in a hot skillet on all sides. Tented and rested for 10 min. I used roughly the same amount of salt on each steak; a generous 1/2 tsp. of Kosher. They were textbook med-rare and beautifully marbled. (Yay, Costco- $10.99 a pound!!) To sum up, if you have the time and foresight, definitely pre-salt your steaks. I imagine this works really well on lesser grades than Prime. A fun (and tasty..) experiment. adam

    18 Replies
    1. re: adamshoe
      k
      KTinNYC Jul 7, 2009 12:14 PM

      Thank you for reporting back, adam. Awesome posts.

      1. re: KTinNYC
        j
        jeremyn Jul 7, 2009 12:36 PM

        I'll bite. In the past, I have done what you suggest and cooked two adjacent prime NY strips cut by me to 1.5" from a whole strip loin. Both were salted with the same amount of kosher salt, one 4 hours in advance and one just before grilling. Grilled after a brief 10-15 minutes on the counter from the fridge. Before grilling, they were blotted completely dry. I preferred the recently salted steak. It was saltier. I suspect that an awful lot of the salt on the pre-salted steak came off with the blotting. No difference in texture or flavor (except salt).

        1. re: jeremyn
          k
          KTinNYC Jul 7, 2009 12:41 PM

          I don't think 4 hours is enough time for the salt to denature the protein in the steak and have the water reabsorb back into the meat.

      2. re: adamshoe
        c
        cimui Jul 7, 2009 12:31 PM

        Well done, adam!

        That was a far more controlled experiment than mine, since you cooked the two at the same time. (Mine were seasoned at the same time and cooked on consecutive days.) I'll have to invite enough friends over to help me eat two steaks and we'll try it your way.

        Thanks for sharing results.

        1. re: adamshoe
          tommy Jul 7, 2009 12:50 PM

          the pre-salting process generally calls for much more salt than you'd use to simply season a steak, and then a good rinsing/drying before cooking. is this the process you followed?

          1. re: tommy
            k
            KTinNYC Jul 7, 2009 12:55 PM

            I would never rinse a steak after salting. The method as per Judy Rodgers is to use 3/4 tsp of fine sea salt to 1 lb of meat.

            1. re: KTinNYC
              tommy Jul 7, 2009 01:37 PM

              others do rinse. if you're only using as much salt as you'd use to season the steak then there's no point in rinsing. if you're using a lot more to get the full effect of what salt can actually do, then you'd rinse it.

              1. re: tommy
                a
                adamshoe Jul 7, 2009 03:50 PM

                Now, now tommy and KT, you're both going to have to take a timeout!! There are 2 camps (or more, probably) on presalting. One is Judy Rogers, which i followed, roughly. The other method involves an insane (not a generous or a liberal, but a buttload ) amount of salt. You only put the salt on for 15 min. to 1 hr. Then rinse and pat dry. I don't see how this has enough time for the salt to do it's thang, but the steamycook swears by it. (or is it steamychef or steamykitchen???) Maybe I'll try that preparation in a future culinary lab....
                Even after 3-4 cocktails, I managed to keep track of which steaks were which. I did cut the NY's in half, vertically, per the directions in the ATK recipe. adam

          2. re: adamshoe
            ipsedixit Jul 7, 2009 02:32 PM

            Thanks for reporting back, Adam.

            One wrinkle in your experiment is that the steaks may not have been from the same cow, which would make a significant difference in how the beef tastes -- presalt, or otherwise.

            1. re: ipsedixit
              tommy Jul 7, 2009 03:30 PM

              while i appreciate scientific methods, i'm not sure that you'd really need steaks from the same cow to be able to determine if there is a qualifiable subjective difference between pre-salting and not. in fact the only way this would be a variable is if one could actually determine if 2 steaks were cut from adjacently from the same loin vs. from another cow altogether, and i'm not sure anyone can really do that. of course if you say that you can i'll just have to believe you.

              1. re: tommy
                ipsedixit Jul 7, 2009 03:52 PM

                Agree.

                But I was just trying to make the point that you have try to control for all variables (e.g. grilling time, cut of beef, size of steaks, etc.) in order to determine whether presalting is the one variable that is making one steak different (or better) than the other.

                If someone belongs to a CSA of some sort, or buysa 1/4 steer, I'm sure this would be doable.

                Just more food for thought, that's all.

                1. re: ipsedixit
                  a
                  adamshoe Jul 7, 2009 04:00 PM

                  Maybe I'm naive, but Costco does have actual butchers on site to break down the primal cuts. Wouldn't it be likely that the 2 NY strips would be cut from the same hunk O'Cow and then styro-d & shrinkwrapped? I'm just sayin'... I do see real meatcutting going on behind the glass wall, but who knows how they determine which steaks make it into which packages.? Food for thought indeed. adam

                  1. re: adamshoe
                    tommy Jul 7, 2009 04:16 PM

                    many places break down primals. ask them to cut two in a row. no big deal, unless it's a mediocre supermarket. no need for a side of beef.

                    1. re: adamshoe
                      Fritter Jul 7, 2009 04:41 PM

                      I don't know if I'd call the meat whacking done at Costco "real" meat cutting but the chances are very high that the steaks in a package are from the same loin. Costco meat cutters do not deal with primal cuts only sub-primal. Costco carries Prime rib and NY strip sub-primal's as do many other stores. Just about any one can buy a loin and cut two side by side steaks if they are so inclined. This is generally the only way I buy steak. I let the loins wet age 5-7 weeks in the cryo before I cut them.
                      If you really want to appease every one you will have to cut (or have your butcher cut) two steaks that were side by side on a loin and even then you would likely need to try it several times to draw any appreciable conclusion. Even two steaks from the same loin can vary by a considerable margin if they were not SxS cuts. In the case of a rib loin there is a world of difference between a steak cut from the Chuck end Vs the Sirloin end.

                      1. re: adamshoe
                        Scott M Jul 14, 2009 05:09 PM

                        Next time please run a DNA test on the steaks to determine if they are from the same cow.

                      2. re: ipsedixit
                        tommy Jul 7, 2009 04:15 PM

                        you only have to control the variables that are truly variable. if you can't discern a meaningful difference of a steak from one cow and one from another, then it doesn't affect the outcome of the experiment. if you can they you're exceptional.

                        1. re: tommy
                          j
                          jeremyn Jul 8, 2009 08:28 AM

                          I buy whole loin sub-primals from costco like you mentioned. I agree that 4 hours is on the low side for a pre-salt, and I can certainly try more salt and more time with the pre-salting method. How long? 8 hours? 24?

                          I would definitely rinse and dry if I'm covering steaks in salt. There's an awful lot of moisture in those steaks so they can grab onto a whole lot of salt.

                          On the topic of controlling variables, I agree that getting steaks from the same cow isn't a huge deal if the marbling, age, etc, look similar. However, I do think it is important to use steaks from the same general region of the loin. Two NY strips from two opposite ends of the loin will be vastly different. Using adjacent steaks from the same animal is a good way to be sure.

                          1. re: jeremyn
                            p
                            phantomdoc Jul 8, 2009 08:46 AM

                            Reminds me of selecting book matched maple for the top of a high dollar guitar. That would be the way to try this.
                            I wound up with a 48 hour pre salt because of heavy rain preventing firing up the grill.

                2. ipsedixit Jul 6, 2009 11:22 PM

                  Here's a previous post that you might find helpful in your experiment.

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/595107

                  1. p
                    phantomdoc Jul 6, 2009 07:56 PM

                    Adamshoe
                    To properly isolate the variable in question, pre salting vs non. The steaks should be adjacent cuts from the same loin as well as the same weight and thickness, initial temp, cooking temp, pre cooking blotting and other prep, such as rubbed with evoo. Then have someone give you a few slices of each to compare. Take pics too if possible.
                    A. Peter Luger Porterhouse
                    B. and C. Home grilled ribsteak.

                     
                     
                     
                    13 Replies
                    1. re: phantomdoc
                      a
                      adamshoe Jul 6, 2009 08:05 PM

                      Aaarghh, TOO MUCH PRESSURE!!! Now I have to take fotos, too!!! ;) adam.

                      1. re: adamshoe
                        k
                        KTinNYC Jul 6, 2009 08:09 PM

                        If you are going to do photos please show them before they go in the pan/grill and after. Science is a bear but you will go down in chowhound history.

                        1. re: adamshoe
                          c
                          cimui Jul 6, 2009 09:15 PM

                          While you're at it, why don't you also prepare graphs showing elasticity and moisture loss as a function of time after salting? A pie chart of some sort would be nice, too. ;)

                          1. re: adamshoe
                            Fritter Jul 7, 2009 03:56 AM

                            Your experiment can not show any appreciable results from salting if one steak is an inch thick and the other is 1 3/4" thick. The steaks are far too different. It's easy to over look the primary variables when you only focus on one aspect of the science. In this case two very different steaks . You also have to consider cook method as well. Not trying to be unpleasant here but if you look at the photo of those steaks being burned over a flare up in the photos up thread and then view the last photo with parts of the steak black and raw fat on the edge no amount of pre-salting or warm Vs cold will save those or make one "better" than the other.

                            1. re: Fritter
                              p
                              phantomdoc Jul 7, 2009 09:16 AM

                              I cut off the deckle at 115 degrees for more even cooking.

                               
                               
                               
                               
                              1. re: phantomdoc
                                Fritter Jul 7, 2009 10:27 AM

                                My point is that there are simply variables that exceed the differences of pre-salting or not. Grill flare ups are one of those variables and un-trimmed rib eye's are perhaps the worst offenders. Once that excessive fat saturates your grates a flare up is inevitable and the burnt grill taste that might come with it can easily under mine any difference between salting or not.

                          2. re: phantomdoc
                            p
                            phantomdoc Jul 7, 2009 08:51 AM

                            Not prime, just choice.

                             
                             
                            1. re: phantomdoc
                              chef chicklet Jul 7, 2009 10:40 AM

                              yum.

                              1. re: phantomdoc
                                c
                                cimui Jul 7, 2009 11:51 AM

                                I sure wouldn't mind having a piece of that.

                                1. re: cimui
                                  p
                                  phantomdoc Jul 7, 2009 07:30 PM

                                  I love this kind of experiment, goes great with a cold beer.
                                  They were real and they were spectacular.

                                  1. re: phantomdoc
                                    Shrinkrap Jul 7, 2009 10:30 PM

                                    Yadda yadda yadda......what about the lobster bisque?

                                    Sorry

                                    1. re: Shrinkrap
                                      p
                                      phantomdoc Jul 8, 2009 08:42 AM

                                      How is the risotto?

                                    2. re: phantomdoc
                                      c
                                      cimui Jul 7, 2009 10:58 PM

                                      Heh! For sure. I wouldn't mind doing multiple iterations of this experiment... all for the sake of science, of course. :)

                              2. k
                                KTinNYC Jul 6, 2009 07:23 PM

                                adamshoe, thanks for putting your steaks on the line for the sake of "science"! I can't wait to hear your results. Please note if there is any moisture on the surface of the salted steaks. TIA.

                                1. c
                                  cimui Jul 6, 2009 02:03 PM

                                  Hmmph. I thought you were posting about guinea pig steaks. How disappointing. ;)

                                  I did a side by side comparison last weekend on two porterhouses, cut thin (1/2"). In my case, the first steak, salted just before grilling, came out more tender and juicy. The second steak, which I salted about 28 hours prior to grilling and left uncovered in the fridge, then warmed up to room temp prior to grilling, turned out to be a bit tougher. I'll repeat the experiment, though, since I grilled the first steak to medium rare and my SO grilled the second to medium. Both of us did a straight sear the entire time, since the steaks were thin.

                                  Looking forward to hearing your results.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: cimui
                                    FoodFuser Jul 6, 2009 07:30 PM

                                    I too got sucked into thinking Rodentia, but I figured since it was "steak", it must be from the short loin of the larger farmed Capybara.

                                    Looking forward to the repeat results on the 1/2 inchers both to medium rare.

                                    adamshoe, how thick are yours?

                                    1. re: FoodFuser
                                      a
                                      adamshoe Jul 6, 2009 08:04 PM

                                      These steaks were about 1&13/4 thick, big puppies!

                                      1. re: FoodFuser
                                        c
                                        cimui Jul 6, 2009 09:11 PM

                                        I guess a 1 1/2 inch steak could've come from one of those giant guinea pigs that invaded South Park during season 12...

                                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guineasa...

                                        1. re: cimui
                                          FoodFuser Jul 6, 2009 09:30 PM

                                          Alas, the link gives no reference to marbling, and adamshoes steaks are graded prime. I'm sticking with those more sedate and thus fattier farm-raised Capybara.

                                        2. re: FoodFuser
                                          Shrinkrap Jul 6, 2009 09:41 PM

                                          I thought guinea pigs too, but I did not think they were of the family (?.) rodentia. They are cavies, no?....

                                          Looked it up; order, rodentia, genus cavy.....carry on

                                          1. re: Shrinkrap
                                            FoodFuser Jul 6, 2009 09:47 PM

                                            True... family Caviidae, but as a "read the menu quick" kinda guy, my mind goes right to "Order", ie Rodentia.

                                            1. re: FoodFuser
                                              Shrinkrap Jul 6, 2009 09:59 PM

                                              Of course! Having lhad several (only one right now, a pet, not a meal), I prefer to focus on the fact that they are cavies!

                                              1. re: Shrinkrap
                                                FoodFuser Jul 6, 2009 10:09 PM

                                                I hope, for your pet's sake, that I have not planted a seed that will fester and grow and result in the sound of the sharpening steel and a hungry glow in your eye.

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