Many people, when receiving the question, “Why is it better to add salt to a steak after it has been cooked?” most of the time, their reaction is “No way.” Then, is it truly better if we add salt after cooking the steak? What are the disadvantages of adding salt before cooking? Let’s scroll down to find out.
Why Is It Better To Add Salt To A Steak After It Has Been Cooked?
There are a lot of ways to season your steak. The two most common methods might be adding seasonings before cooking steak and while cooking.
However, according to nutritionists, salting the steak after cooking is good for three reasons: to avoid drying out the steak, to avoid over-salting the steak, and to avoid losing nutritions. Now, let’s see how it works.
#1. Avoid Drying Out The Steak.
The first reason for salting after completing cooking is to avoid losing its moisture. In a hundred grams of beef – 3.5 ounces, roughly 60% of it is water.
A common mistake that most home chefs make is to season the steak before cooking. Even some famous chefs do this sometimes. But from the lens of food science, seasoning steak with salt before cooking makes the cuts of meat run out of natural moisture. Why does this happen?
Let’s talk about the property of salt first. If you still remember what you learned in Chemistry, salt is a compound substance that primarily consists of sodium chloride – a hygroscopic compound. As a result, when seasoning steak beforehand, the sodium chloride in salt will absorb the water from the cut of meat inside out.
And as we have mentioned above, beef has a certain amount of moisture inside it, so when adding salt to season the cut of meat. So the water will be drawn out of the cut, making the steak slices hard to chew.
In addition, the heat also makes the moisture inside the beef vaporize while cooking, drying out the amount of water left inside the steak. Consequently, when you take the steak out of the pan and cut it.
And the first thing you feel is probably the hardship when slicing the steak. When you taste the food, you might experience the lack of natural sweetness and moisture that a steak should have.
If you have a habit of seasoning before cooking beef, it is time for you to change. Though this might be unusual since this way of cooking has been around for quite some generations. Nevertheless, trying something new is not so bad.
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#2. Avoid Over-salting The Steak.
This saying seems wrong somewhere for many people, right? Seasoning beforehand can somehow decrease the chances of overseasoning the food while cooking. However, in the case of salting the steak, this method might lead to a salted steak.
When seasoning the beef before cooking, you eliminate the natural sweetness. So that it will increase the chances of making an over-salted steak.
A common perception about salting the food is that the more salt you put in the food, the saltier it gets, which is pretty obvious. Even so, the amount of time spent seasoning the steak plays an important role in this game. In detail, the more time the salt gets to approach the steak, the more chances there are to cook an over-salty steak.
As mentioned in the previous part, the salt draws the moisture out of the beef together with its natural sweetness. Here is how it works. While salt leeches the water out of the meat, the salt molecules find their way to sneak into the beef until they replace most water molecules. That explains for a longer time seasoning equaling more over-salting food.
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#3. Avoid Losing Nutritions
Beef and other kinds of meat consist of many nutrients that may disappear during the cooking process. Hence, it is imperative to learn how to keep these nutrients from vanishing.
First of all, let’s have a quick check on the nutrient content in 100 grams of beef. Beef is the main source of animal protein that we take in almost every day. Besides protein, there are tons of other helpful nutrients and compounds lingering in a cut of beef, including fat, vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, Zinc, Iron, Selenium, Phosphorus, Niacin, etc.
Adding salt after the cooking process can help the food avoid losing these important nutrients. Because when cooking steak without salting it, the steak can keep its moisture. The moisture inside the steak is where the vitamins and minerals reside. As a result, you can enjoy the steak with its full nutrients.
Then, what is the real connection between adding salt before cooking and the loss of nutrients? When you add salt beforehand, the water will go out of the cut of meat together with vitamins and minerals. And when these nutrients come into contact with an extremely heating pan surface, they will vaporize along with the water.
To best preserve the nutrients, we need to solve the main root of the problem: avoid adding salt to steak before cooking.
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The Final Verdict
This article has run through three main reasons for answering the question “Why is it better to add salt to a steak after it has been cooked?“. The main idea of this method is to secure the nutrients and moisture of our steak and prevent an overcooked dish. We hope that our post provides you with interesting information for your everyday cooking.