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Jan 21, 2012 12:36 PM

Salting Frozen Meat Before Defrosting

I've read about the taste benefits of salting roasts a couple of days ahead of cooking them. Would it work to salt a frozen roast and let the dry-brining effect take place as it defrosts?

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  1. Interesting question. I wonder if the salt would actually adhere to the surface of frozen meat. Mine tends to bounce off. Possibly let the roast defrost a degree and give it a try. Can't see why it wouldn't work; you're basically brining the exterior of the meat anyway.

    1. I imagine salting a frozen roast would accomplish two things:

      1. Speed up thaw time. It won't raise the temperature much faster but since salt lowers the freezing point, the roast should "defrost" quicker than a control roast.

      2. Slow down brining time. Because colder temperatures slows the transmission of salt into the roast, it would take longer for the salt to penetrate the meat. This would mean that the outer edges of the roast would have spent more time salted than the inside.

      In real life, the effects of the above would probably not be very noticably different, but depending on how long you left the brine in, and how large the roast is, I imagine it may possibly create a texture differential between the outside and inside of the roast.

      1. It would be a waste of salt, and probably be something that would drive CindyJ to drink.

        1. I'd thaw first. Whenever I've tried to marinade or salt frozen meat the result is always underflavored. The water leaking out of the meat seems to dilute and wash away any surface flavorings.

          1. Thanks for the replies. I was thinking that as the meat starts opening up while defrosting, the salt could move in with the moisture and get the dry brining done faster than if the meat were to sit for a couple of days defrosting, then adding the salt.

            But good points about letting the exterior loosen up a bit, there being perhaps too much residual salt towards the exterior, and the texture difference. I've wondered if the change from frozen to defrosted, accompanied by salt, would change the texture either toward the mushy or dried out.