Michael recently tried a new technique for preparing steaks: brining. Brining is a good technique to use on meat that isn’t “top shelf.” Since Michael is unemployed right now, he’s picked up the duty of grocery shopping while I’m at work, instead of relying on weekends to do chores like that. One tip I gave him for buying groceries was to check the meat section with the mark-downs. It’s a good spot to find affordable steak cuts for dinner–if you’re going to eat them right away. The discount meats section is not for buying stuff to use three days from now, it’s for “this would be good for dinner tonight.”
To make your meat juicy, tender, and flavorful there is one simple ingredient that can improve all three: Salt. Brining is a good technique to use on steak that is often chewier or tougher (like the rump meat).
“Dry brining: This is simply salting the meat in advance of cooking. The salt pulls moisture from the meat which dissolves the salt (NaCl) into sodium (Na) and chloride (Cl) ions. They then penetrate the meat and work their way towards the center. The problem is it is hard to be consistent in how much salt you sprinkle on the meat from one day to the next.”
Check out this website for an in-depth explanationon how brining works. “Massively salt your steaks 1 hour before cooking for every inch of thickness.” They aren’t kidding when they say “massively.”
The next step is to discard the excess water drawn out of the steak and rinse the steak really well to rid of all the salt. Pat the steak dry with paper towels and then it’s time to cook.
I made us salads to go with our steak dinner. Michael’s salad was a spinach salad with slices of avocado. My salad was green leaf lettuce with cauliflower, sliced strawberries and slices of avocado. I just used olive oil and balsamic as dressing.
So how did it taste? It was damn good! There was a touch of a flavor of salt but it wasn’t too much and it wasn’t overpowering the steak. The meat was chewy and tender and probably one of the most delicious cuts of meat we’ve prepared. The salt worked. It tenderized the cut of steak and turned it into a delectable dinner for two.
It was a good way to prepare the meat. We’ll definitely be trying this method again. The steak and salad were delicious together. We settled in for the evening to have a movie night–Aliens! I think the movie stills holds up. There were some cheesy parts and it was probably scarier twenty years ago, but still a good movie.
With a little dessert:
We also grabbed Maya and forced her to snuggle with us! Fat Kitty sat on my lap (his usual spot) while we watched the movie and Maya was on Michael’s lap (reluctantly). We’re doing our best to socialize her so that she will actually like spending time with humans.
I didn’t get great photos of them together but I tried. She’s so cute! Look how tiny she is.
It was a nice evening and the dinner turned out well. I would brine again because it turned out so delicious. If you’re wary about trying it, don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like a bunch of salt.
QUESTION: Have you ever brined meat before? What technique did you use?