Most times when you taste something you have cooked and it doesn’t seem quite right, the first thing we all do is reach for the salt shaker. It seems that whatever the dish lacks it just might be solved by that simple addition. Often it works because salt more than any other ingredient, has a transforming property with food. Nothing else is as essential in creating a successful meal as salt. Its ability to enhance, bring forth new dimensions, decrease bitterness, increase depth of flavor, and even fortify aroma brings pleasure to our tables that would simply be impossible without its presence. Ferran Adria once said of salt, “It is the only product that changes cuisine”. And we aren’t even discussing its preservative or curing properties or its role in food history.
It is true that artisanal salts are recently getting their culinary due. Once exotic varieties, like Fleur de Sel or Himalayan Pink, are now regularly spotted at the neighborhood market. Even our dessert trays and candy aisles have fallen for its multidimensional charms. Salted caramel cupcake any one? I can’t possibly begin to cover all the uses and applications in this single blog. I will be diving more deeply in coming posts. But I think simple is the best place to begin, so here is a video of how to PERFECTLY sear a steak on the grill. Although the amount of salt required is no secret to professional chefs, it does often shock the home cook. Chef Mark Stark (who was a 2013 James Beard Finalist for Outstanding Restaurateur of the year) drew gasps from the audience when he salted the steaks on the EVO grill at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival demo. But one bite of the juicy meat encased in a perfect crust, and they were all lip smacking, smiling converts. So here it is, a recipe inspired by ” Mark’s Sexy BBQ Rub” and video that breaks down all the secrets to perfection at home in under 8 minutes of your time. Watch it. Your dinner guests will thank you and praise you for years to come.
Sexy Steak BBQ Rub
¼ C Aleppo Ground Pepper ( find online or specialty food store)
¼ C Finely Ground Coffee
¼ C Brown Sugar
2 T Chili Powder
2 T Ginger Powder
1 T Mustard Powder
2 T Sweet Smoked Paprika
2 T Ground Black Pepper
Notice there is no salt in this rub. You will coat the meat in rub first then season each item with salt separately for best control. My best advice on amount of salt to use is to “snow lightly” over both sides of your steak. Use good salt. It should be quite visible and slightly more than you think. Watch the video to best understand quantity. I’m giving no quantities as they will completely vary according to size of protein you are working with.