Best Salting and Seasoning Techniques for BBQ
When cooking big meats on the grill or smoker, seasoning is important — not only for taste but for the way that specific seasonings can affect the texture and juiciness of the meat as it cooks. Sea salt plays a vital role in this because it has the ability to not only flavor a variety of meats without masking the taste of the proteins themselves, but it also has a great impact on the texture.
1. Use Kosher Salt
Many BBQ experts prefer to season their big meats with either kosher or coarse grain sea salt. Aside from the simple, clean taste that enhances the meat itself without taking away from its flavor, kosher or coarse sea salt melts into the meat and helps break down sometimes tougher cuts of meat, giving it a tender mouthfeel while still preserving the texture.
2. Salt Early and Often
There are several camps when it comes to the art of when to season. Many professional chefs season meat up to 24 or 48 hours prior to cooking, whether in a brine solution or just sprinkling it on. Others season their big meats for BBQ about 30 minutes prior to putting in the grill or smoker. For some it’s about the technique, for others it’s about different processes for different meats. Like many cooking methods, it’s widely subjective and that’s where the fun and creativity of cooking comes in! True Salt Co encourages home cooks and backyard barbequers to experiment on their own to see which method they prefer.
When it comes to making certain specific meats, prior seasoning or brining is more of a “must” than a matter of preference. For example, brining turns corned beef into a proper pastrami. Many cooks will suggest a 48- to 72-hour brine, and then another full day removed from the brine, rinsed and left uncovered in the refrigerator. From there, the meat is pickling with a variety of spices such as peppercorns, mustard and coriander seeds to ultimately create that spicy, crispy “crust” that makes smoked pastrami so delectable.
3. Finish to Your Taste
Regardless of the process, it’s clear that sea salt plays a vital role in barbequing big meats. Ultimately, home cooks and barbequers alike should follow their taste buds when it comes to which process they prefer. As a salting and seasoning pro-tip, less truly is more at the beginning. Salt and seasoning can always be added to finish a dish, but it can’t be taken away.