The more I do it, the more I become an advocate of salting my meats before cooking. There’s a quadruple benefit to doing it.
First, salt enhances the flavor and acts as a tenderizer. Every chef knows that. I can assure you that any meat that you eat out will have been salted in advance if the kitchen knows anything about food chemistry.
More importantly, salt converts what would otherwise be un-chewable ligaments and tendons into digestible liquid protein. More bang for your buck there. And in the process, makes your meats juicier.
Let’s summarize. Salt:
- Enhances flavor
- Makes digestible the protein in ligaments and tendons and
- Adds moisture
So how much salt should be applied and for how long before cooking? If you’re talking about a big piece of meat like a roast or a chicken, I cover it thoroughly with coarse kosher or sea salt for at least an hour. But 24 hours is not too long.
If you’re talking about a thinly-sliced cutlet, I use a finer grind salt on one side only and let it work for thirty minutes. Here’s the good news if you worry about the taste of salt. Any salt that is not absorbed by the meat can be rinsed off. It is the salt that is absorbed by the meat that is giving you the 4-prong advantage.