If you’ve ever watched a chef season a steak on television or in person, you may have noticed that they do it from a high angle. In fact, chef Nusret Gökçe, also known as Salt Bae, became famous for his flair-filled seasoning technique.
But this isn’t all for show. There’s a real reason you want to season your steak from farther away than you may think, as opposed to doing it from a really close angle.
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First off, let’s start with why salting your steak before cooking is important. When salt is applied to the beef, it draws out moisture. (But don’t worry, it doesn’t make your meat less juicy. Quite the opposite.) Over time that moisture dissolves the salt and creates a brine that works its way into the beef and is reabsorbed by the meat, creating a juicier, fully seasoned cut from the inside out.
However, you also don’t want to oversalt your steak. For steaks, we recommend ¾ teaspoon of kosher salt per 8-ounce steak. Kosher salt is best, as its larger grains distribute evenly and cling well to the meat’s surface.
Here’s where the high-angle seasoning comes in. When you have a specific amount of salt to use, you may be tempted to get really close to the meat so that you don’t lose any salt and you can be really precise. But this can actually lead to uneven seasoning and big clumps of salt all over your meat.
Believe it or not, the higher angle allows the salt to be more evenly distributed across the steak. The more evenly distributed your seasoning is, the better your food will taste.
The next time you salt steak, place the meat on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle the salt from a foot above the counter. If any salt lands on the baking sheet, simply pick up your steak and roll it in the excess salt. You’ll now have a steak that has an even amount of salt across its surface.
So don’t be afraid to add a little extra flair when sprinkling. Not only will you look impressive, but your steaks will also taste better for it.