A great steak begins with a well-marbled, beefy cut such as rib eye or strip. And naturally, it must be cooked just right. But just as important is the seasoning: To enjoy your steak to its fullest, salt should be the first—and last thing—you add to the meat. Applied to the surface before cooking, the grains will travel into the meat, seasoning it deeply and altering its protein structure to make it more tender and juicy. Then, once the steak is cooked and sliced for serving, a sprinkle of salt enhances the seasoning and adds a delicate saline crunch.
Here’s how we execute our two-phase salting regimen.
At least 45 minutes or up to 24 hours before cooking, pat the steaks dry to remove surface moisture that would inhibit browning; sprinkle them with 1½ teaspoons of kosher salt (easier to distribute than table salt) per pound of meat; and let them rest uncovered in the fridge (the cold, dry air helps even more moisture evaporate). Salting immediately before cooking is also fine, as long as the meat doesn’t sit long enough for salt to pull moisture to the surface.
Evenly scatter flake sea salt (such as Maldon) over the sliced meat. It’s especially important to season the sliced steak if you didn’t have time to let the salted meat rest before cooking.