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Old 08-21-2009, 09:56 PM   #1
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Hey GB! Dry brine experience.

GB, I tried the dry brine method you described and had a great result. I used a 2" thick sirloin, liberally salted with Kosher salt, and let it sit in a plastic freezer bag for a day and a half. I intended to grill it, but t-storms precluded that option. Instead, I did it in the kitchen, seared in the skillet and finished on low. I did not add any seasonings for the taste test, and it was awesome! SO and I demolished it!

One question--have you found any other herbs, spices, or flavorings that work well with this technique? It stands to reason that, if the salt is drawn into the meat so well, it might carry other things with it. Any thoughts?

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Old 08-22-2009, 07:13 AM   #2
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I am so happy to hear it was a success bullseye.

I have not tried any other herbs or spices. I would think herbs might be a bit challenging as they do not really dissolve in liquid, but some spices might work well. I would think powdered spices like garlic powder, onion powder, smoked Spanish paprika, and things like that could be used in addition to the salt. I prefer my steaks simple. The only flavors I like are salt and sometimes pepper, but if you like other flavors then I bet this would work just as well. Even if it didn't work it would be just as if you had used those flavors on the outside anyway so it would at least flavor the outside even if it didn't penetrate inside. Try it and let us know

One difference in what I did to what you did, and it sounds like it probably did not make a difference anyway, is that I use plastic wrap, not a plastic bag. I wrap the meat as tight as I can so the plastic is holding the salt and liquid against the meat very closely. I have always wondered how necessary that step was. From the sounds of your experience I think that must not be a crucial step.
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Old 08-22-2009, 08:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB View Post
I am so happy to hear it was a success bullseye.

I have not tried any other herbs or spices. I would think herbs might be a bit challenging as they do not really dissolve in liquid, but some spices might work well. I would think powdered spices like garlic powder, onion powder, smoked Spanish paprika, and things like that could be used in addition to the salt. I prefer my steaks simple. The only flavors I like are salt and sometimes pepper, but if you like other flavors then I bet this would work just as well. Even if it didn't work it would be just as if you had used those flavors on the outside anyway so it would at least flavor the outside even if it didn't penetrate inside. Try it and let us know

One difference in what I did to what you did, and it sounds like it probably did not make a difference anyway, is that I use plastic wrap, not a plastic bag. I wrap the meat as tight as I can so the plastic is holding the salt and liquid against the meat very closely. I have always wondered how necessary that step was. From the sounds of your experience I think that must not be a crucial step.
I like my steaks simple, too. I was starting to think beyond steaks. It stands to reason that, if this method works on beef, it would work on other meats like pork chops and, if you get the salt and additions under the skin, chicken. Good point, though, about the herbs being insoluble. I do wonder, though, if their essential oils would dissolve in the moisture and/or fat? I see some kitchen experimentation in my future!

As far as the plastic bag goes, I did get the air out so it was nice and snug on the steak surface. Seemed as if it would accomplish the same thing as a tight plastic wrap.
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Old 08-22-2009, 08:35 AM   #4
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Wow I never thought of applying this technique to other meats. What a great idea bulleye! If you try it before me (or even if you don't) I can't wait to hear your results.

As far as the oils dissolving in the moisture, that would not happen. That does not mean that the moisture would not act as a sort of carrier to bring the flavors in. My guess, and it is just a guess, is that it would not do much, but it sure wouldn't hurt to try and it would be great if I was wrong.
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Old 08-22-2009, 12:25 PM   #5
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OK, the testing has begun! I picked up 2 pork tenderloins and seasoned them with salt as with the steak. One I added a generous bit--but not as much as the salt--of dried thyme. The other was similar, but with dried rosemary that I wizzed in a coffee grinder. I had lots of combination ideas, but I thought to keep it simple for testing. This time, I wrapped in plastic wrap due to the irregular shape of the meat. I'll let you know how it comes out.
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Old 08-22-2009, 12:31 PM   #6
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I like the idea of whizzing the herbs in the grinder. That was a stroke of genius!
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Old 08-22-2009, 12:38 PM   #7
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Thanks! It seemed to me that it would give more surface area for the essence of the herbs to release and, hopefully, be carried into the meat with the salt. We'll see...
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Old 08-22-2009, 01:07 PM   #8
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Very interesting discussion both of you and I'm looking forward to hearing the results We never ever stop learning in the kitchen and that's one of the beauties of cooking!
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Old 08-22-2009, 03:01 PM   #9
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I could see the onion and garlic powder working to a point as their flavors are water soluble.

Ooooo OOOOOOOO HORSERADISH!!!!

All of this would have to be combined with the salt as you need it to draw the liquid out of the steak in the first place.
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Old 08-23-2009, 10:19 PM   #10
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Interesting! Both Rosemary and thyme permeated the meat. I would definitely back off on the amount of rosemary--quite strong. The dried thyme seemed, to me, just right. More experimentation lies ahead--paprika, cumin, cinnamon, the sky's the limit! So, I guess the question is, does the salt only bring out the moisture, or does it interact with the fat? The essential flavors in the herbs I tried are, I think, only oil soluble. Any thoughts?
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