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I've been doing some reading/studying, I know that's scary, and wondered about something that I've read about.An article that I've read states that there are two ways of getting rub to penetrate the meat. One is rubbing overnight, another is letting the meat to come to room temp for a couple hours with some extra salt on it.

It seems that this article believed that the warming of the meat,to room temp with salt added, started the transfer of flavor and the meat to start breaking done the proteins at a faster rate. Any thoughts on this? Thanks!

I guess I otta leave the part out about heating the ribs in warm tap water and rubbing a short time before cooking them? any thoughts on this either?
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Is there a problem with what you're doing now that you need to adjust.

My thoughts

NEVER let the meat sit on a counter "warming" for more than a few minutes, certainly not hours. If they propose that, it's wrong. You only have a little time once the food goes above 40 and is inside the danger zone.

I would never "add" salt to make something happen. Seems to be changing the taste of the rub. If it has salt in it, it will work. Someone is thinking "dry" brine to use the salt to carry the flavor but that's not the best way. You're adding salt and I think ruining most rubs (many already have too much salt)

I've never seen a scientific answer as to how far the flavors really penetrate.

Marinades will only go very liittle in depth
Rubs too

Brines will penetrate.

Key is layers of flavor
Cal - What you're referring to seems to me to be something that I would call quick, or mini dry-brining. Over the past few years I've pretty much converted from using wet brines to dry brines, and I use a similar process for smaller cuts of meat such as steaks, pork tenderloins, etc. Simply put, using kosher or sea salt, liberally sprinkle the meat and let it rest for a period of around 1 hour per inch of thickness. For small items, doing this while it's unrefrigerated and coming to room temperature would probably be OK. Larger items should refrigerated initially. Once the brine is complete, thoroughly rinse the salt off of the meat, and dry very well with paper towels. If you want to use a rub, now's the time to apply it. Obviously, a rub with a low or no salt content would be best.

Most of what I've learned about using a dry brine is based upon a method favored by chef Judy Rogers from the Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. In her cookbook, she even devotes she even devotes a chapter to the subject of pre-salting. For some of the science behind the subject, the following is an excerpt from that chapter:

“Salt helps to dissolve some of the proteins within and around muscle fibers that would otherwise resist chewing. Initially, salt does draw moisture from the cells, hence the widely accepted belief that it dries food out. This is only temporary, however. With time, the cells reabsorb moisture in a process known as reverse osmosis. When they do, the moisture is seasoned with salt (and other aromatics that you might have used). What is more, the intruder salt changes the proteins in that they “open up” enabling them to trap more moisture than before. When you heat these transformed proteins, they don’t coagulate and squeeze out moisture quite the same way unaltered proteins do. All of this results in a seasoned, moisture-laden cells less tenaciously attached to one another than their unseasoned counterparts. “

For a different take on this process, click here..
Last edited by dls
This would go with the thoughts that I was reading by a gentleman called Dan Gill, which I will quote him,"Dry rubs containing salt work just the same as brines except that there is no additional liquid to dilute meat juices. Herbs and spices applied to the surface stay there and contribute to flavor development during the cooking process. When applied to the moist surfaces of raw meat, salt attracts free moisture from the tissues and dissolves or dissociates into charged atoms of sodium (positive) and chlorine (negative), which can then penetrate tissues taking along water soluble flavorings. This process accelerates as meat warms, therefore meat can either be dry rubbed and refrigerated overnight or left out at room temperature for a few hours."

His article also seemed to think that this salt would not allow the growth of bacteria, if it was allowed to spend just a little time in the danger zone.
The problem with dry brining is no one is really quoting percentages and process.

The protein change is called "denaturing". I can tell in a wet brine rough percentages, but one thing you do is you take liquid inside with the salt, it's not just flavor.

It does have it's place, dry brining is basically how meat was cured in the old days.

We'll learn more in the coming years, but me, I'd put it in the fridge, I wouldn't leave it on the counter. And I can't begin to explain how much salt. Remember, you will NOT know how much salt in your rub if it's commercial, so you don't know how much to add.

That being said, I've been experimenting with a "salt cure" for my Prime Ribs. I do an overnight salt seasoning of them, wash off the salt then apply my normal cure. I like that for BEEF because I like salt on my beef.

Guess we'll figure it out together and I'll add some details about it in Brining 101 eventually.

Good topic.
I agree with Smokin that there are no health issues at all. The amount of salt used is not huge, the cure time is relatively short, and the product is thoroughly rinsed prior to cooking.

Coming up with percentages is essentially impossible. Percentages, or ratios, express the relationship between 2 or more items. With a wet brine it's the relationship between water and salt. In this case, I use a 5% ratio, e.g., 1 ounce of salt for every 20 ounces of water.

With a dry brine, you're dealing with only one item, salt, so no relationship as a percentage or ratio can be expressed. The term dry-brining may be technically incorrect. Pre-salting might be more appropriate.

The amount of salt called for depends on the weight and size of the item with time then factored in. Trial and error comes into play, as well as a lot of Googling.

For something such as a turkey, I use a ratio of 1 tablespoon of salt for every 5 pounds of bird. A 3 day cure seems to work best for birds in the 12-15 pound range.

On something such as a thick cut rib eye, I don't measure, but sprinkle on enough salt so that it's well coated, but not buried in salt. If I had to guess, I would say I apply around 3 teaspoons to each side of the steak. I then let it rest for 1 hour for each inch of thickness.
Last edited by dls
Seems to me I read an article a while back something on the purpose of salt in rubs. I learned a few important things to know about how salt works and what it does for the meat.

Here’s a quick Reader’s Digest version. Salt doesn’t need to be room temperature to work. Salt initially begins to dry out the surface of meat and draw moisture out of it. The moisture combines with the salt and begins to breakdown the surface cell structure. This process takes roughly an hour to start if you stop here your meat will be dry. As the cellular structure breaks down the dissolved salt is drawn into the meat along with anything it has been mixed with.

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