Salt, sear and smash: 3 meaty tips from Jess Pryles’ ‘Hardcore Carnivore’

I always learn something new about meat when I see Jess Pryles, author of a new cookbook called “Hardcore Carnivore.”

Jess Pryles says the key to a smashburger is not to handle the meat too much and don’t salt until the patty is already on the hot griddle.

Jess and I have known each other for a long time now, and meat is always involved somehow. As I wrote in today’s column, we’ve been hunting together and dressed up at her Carnivore’s Ball together.

Today, we made hamburgers together and put the video on Facebook. I learned a lot in these 15 minutes, but in her new book, you’ll find even more tips. These were three of my favorites, which appear with that story in today’s paper.

The reverse sear: Have you tried a reverse-seared steak? Pryles explains that this is the method of slowly heating the steak until it is at the temperature of your liking (125 to 130 degrees for rare, 130 to 135 for medium rare, 135 to 145 for medium, 145 to 155 degrees for medium well) and then searing over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes on each side to finish.

On salting steaks: Salt your steak immediately before cooking, or 40 to 45 minutes before cooking, but not in between. By salting and waiting, you allow the steak to both release moisture and then soak it back in. By salting right before cooking, you’ll sear the steak before the salt has had a chance to draw out that moisture. If you wait 10 to 30 minutes, the salt will draw out water without giving it time to reabsorb, leaving the steak drier. For the best results, however, salt the steak and let it rest on a rack over a plate in the fridge for up to 72 hours. That way the salt can season and tenderize the meat while drying on the surface to create an optimal sear in the pan or on a grill.

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How to make wine salt: Consider mixing salt with dried powders already in your spice cabinet to rub on your steaks, loins or roasts, but you can also make flavored salts with liquids. Pryles suggests cabernet salt, which is made by reducing 2 cups of wine to 2 to 3 tablespoons of a syrup. You can mix the syrup with 1 to 1 1/2 cups kosher or fleur de sel salt. It will look like damp sand, but if you spread it out to dry on a parchment-lined sheet pan, you’ll end up with a salt that’s perfect for lamb, beef or even desserts.

 

 


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