Can you smell it in the air? You know what that enticing combo of charcoal, wood, and smoke means: Summer is here, and the grills are out. To get that perfect grilled flavor, salt has long been the key to success. Morton Salt sought out the best salting tips from four acclaimed chefs so that you can be master of the grill this season.
Before that meat even hits the grill, salt is the first step to that perfectly cooked summer dish. Braising your meat with salt, like Morton Sea Salt, will help it develop flavor. Chef Zach Walrath of The Florentine in Chicago gets his seasoning started the night before: “One pro kitchen trick when braising is to lay the meat on a baking sheet and sprinkle liberally with salt. Let it sit in the refrigerator uncovered overnight. This process lets the salt penetrate the meat and will help with the overall flavor.”
If overnight isn’t an option, you can still get the flavor kick started by sprinkling a liberal amount of salt just before firing up the grill. This method can also produce a better sear, according to chef David Fingerman of Chicago’s Atwood. For the best results, “dab dry with a paper towel before searing,” he suggests, “and make sure not to wipe, as you don’t want to lose the salt.”
While salt is a must-have for flavor, combining it with other spices can bring a wow factor to your grilled foods. Chef Doug Psaltis, co-founder of the Windy City Smokeout, develops special blends at his restaurants. “At RPM Steak, we mix sel gris with rosemary, thyme, garlic, onion, oregano, coriander, and long pepper to make our house steak salt, which all our beef is seasoned with before cooking, then sprinkled with after to finish,” he says. “For our house-smoked brisket at Bub City, we make a dry rub using a good amount of kosher salt, butcher pepper, and a bit of cayenne for some heat.” Make your own blend, or try one of the Morton Sea Salt Rubs to add that extra zing.
Seasoned, seared, and ready to serve? Hold on there, grill sergeant. Don’t forget that finishing touch! A sprinkle of salt after cooking will add texture and a little pop. This tip is a live-by rule for pit master Hugh Mangum of the New York City-based Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque. “Almost all meats that are sent to the pass get a final touch of finishing salt,” he says. “The goal is twofold: As a final seasoning to add a little salinity, but almost more important is the textural note it adds – I like to call it ‘salty pop rocks.’” Morton Kosher Salt, with its larger coarse flakes, is perfect for this application.
You’re ready now to crush the cookout competition. Just keep the Morton Salt handy and no one will question your grilling prowess!
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