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Salting Meat

By Cook's Illustrated Published November 2010

Over the years, we have found that salting improves the texture and flavor of nearly every type of meat.

Salting helps proteins retain their own natural juices and is the best choice for meats that are already relatively juicy and/or well-marbled. When salt is applied to raw meat, juices inside the meat are drawn to the surface. The salt then dissolves in the exuded liquid, forming a brine that is eventually reabsorbed by the meat.

Preferred salt: Kosher

Benefits over brining: More convenient (no need to cram a large container of salt water in the fridge); won’t thwart goal of crispy skin on poultry or well-browned crust on steak, chops, or roasts since no moisture is added to their exteriors.

Cons: Takes longer than brining.

CUTSTIMEKOSHER SALT*METHOD
 
Steaks, Lamb Chops, Pork Chops 1 hour 3/4 teaspoon per 8-ounce chop or steak Apply salt evenly over surface and let rest at room temperature, uncovered, on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet.
Beef, Lamb, and Pork Roasts At least 6 hours and up to 24 1 teaspoon per pound Apply salt evenly over surface, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and let rest in refrigerator.
Whole Chicken At least 6 hours and up to 24 1 teaspoon per pound Apply salt evenly inside cavity and under skin of breasts and legs and let rest in refrigerator on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. (Wrap with plastic wrap if salting for longer than 12 hours.)
Bone-In Chicken Pieces; Boneless or Bone-In Turkey Breast At least 6 hours and up to 24 3/4 teaspoon per pound If poultry is skin-on, apply salt evenly between skin and meat, leaving skin attached, and let rest in refrigerator on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. (Wrap with plastic wrap if salting for longer than 12 hours
Whole Turkey 24 to 48 hours 1 teaspoon per pound Apply salt evenly inside cavity and under skin of breasts and legs, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and let rest in refrigerator.

*measurements based on Diamond Crystal