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Salting meat before cooking it

I feel there are so many recipes that say to salt a meat or fish before it's cooked. But I've also heard (and it makes sense) that doing that pulls moisture from the meat and salt should come after cooking. Your thoughts? Do you use salt beforehand?

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  1. I always salt before cooking. It does no "pull moisture from the meat." Salting after cooking does not achieve the same well-seasoned flavor.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pikawicca

      I agree that it doesn't "pull" moisture out but, except for dry brines, I prefer to salt after I like the actual feel of individual grains of salt on my tongue.

      1. re: grampart

        Looks like we posted exactly the same link at almost exactly the same time.

      2. I think this is such a good question, because I've heard both things too. It's the focus of this whole Food & Wine article: http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/t...

        It seems like the author's conclusion is: "it depends". Sometimes salting earlier is better, sometimes not.

        1. When you salt before cooking, do you see that moisture? For example are there water beads on the surface?

          Another way to judge when and where moisture is drawn out the meat is to weigh it. I suspect that the change in weight during cooking far outweighs any loss before hand.

          A certain loss before cooking might be a good thing, if it leaves the near surface meat drier. Try salting, wiping dry, and then browning the meat. Does it brown any better?

          Run your own tests.

          1. there was a long thread a couple of years ago with much scientific method: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/595107