Thanks to reading a fabulous book that I was gifted during Christmas I have picked up a few techniques and must-knows about cooking. If you have not read Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat you absolutely must. The book is easy to read and can also be used as a reference guide. Samin is an amazing teacher that reduced cooking down to some simple basics that you can feel confident in the kitchen knowing.
SALT & MEAT
Salt is a truly must have in the kitchen. I do not believe salt is problematic for the majority of the population, in fact, it is essential for proper hydration in our body. It also is what amplifies food or makes it “pop” as Samin says. Salting meats prior to cooking seasons the meat from the inside out through diffusion. You don’t get a nice salty flavor on the outside leaving the inside lacking. Most meat cuts and a whole chicken can be salted the day before. I will leave notes below for specifics. The only exception is fish, vegetables, and fungi which you do not salt until right before you cook. Something I found invaluable was the notion of salting beans as you soak them. I use Kombu and vinegar usually to soak my beans which adds vitamins, minerals, iodine and allows the phytic acid to be reduced. My beans were nutritious and soft but always needed copious amounts of salt for flavor. When I tried soaking my beans with SALT I noticed that the beans were flavored from the inside and burst with flavor!
** Please use any salt other than iodized table salt. I suggest starting with Celtic sea salt, Kosher, or Hymalian Sea Salt to begin with. **
This is just part of salts importance in cooking and I highly recommend purchasing the book to know what you are missing.
I do not think most of my readers are salting a whole steer, lamb, or goat but if you are you can salt three days in advance. Thanksgiving turkey, goose, rib roast, or leg of lamb you would salt two days in advance. Chicken, steaks, quail, duck, and soaking beans you salt a day in advance. Thank you Samin!
This all being said, most of us are in a hurry or just trying to throw dinner together as best we can when we can. If you can throw some salt on your meat an hour before or even thirty minutes before you will be adding flavor and should taste a difference. It is that important. So try if you can.