We put forth my son’s accidental discovery of the benefits of salted beef left in the refrigerator to settle for 3 days. We were so impressed by the result in our own experiment that we added the step with our butcher. Specifically, we instructed that he salt the steaks immediately after cutting them and before packaging. I picked up one NY Strip in its hard frozen state on my way back to Houston on Friday to test the result. Arriving in Houston at 3 pm., I set the steak on our counter to partially thaw in order to re-start the process of salt osmosis; that is, when it had only a slightly frozen area in the middle of the steak but still cold thawed areas, I then put it into the refrigerator to thaw completely at a 34 degree temperature.
Sunday noon, the test began. After removing the package and leaving the steak on the counter for 30 minutes to bring it to room temperature, I cooked the steak in a medium high iron skillet, the bottom of which was coated lightly in olive oil and butter. In went the NY Strip for 4 minutes while the down side was developing a nice sear; when that happened, I flipped the steak, poured in just a bit of water, covered the skillet with my dutch oven lid, and removed it from the fire. It sat for another 7 minutes and I ate it. Clearly more tender, clearly even more flavor. Total time from the partial thaw on Friday to the skillet on Sunday: 45.5 hours. Had we had it for dinner instead of lunch, it would have added about 6 hours to the process. My guess is it would only get better with the added time.
So let’s review how this can be. I had heard years ago that allowing salt to sit on a steak started a process whereby the salt penetrated the muscle and turned the tendons within into liquid form. That explains the added tenderness. What about added flavor? my guess is this - we know that the tendons are pure protein so they are going to have a protein flavor. But that is not perceived when they are in their hard, tough form. It is only when they liquefy in reaction to the salt that taste and additional juices are released.
Please let us know if you have the same experience with our meats marked with “Himalayan Salt”. You can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you all from the Boudreauxs and the entire crew at JVF. Our very best regards to and gratitude for you. You make it happen for us.