Cooking Tips

Is Your Salt Too Bouncy?

We have every aspect of salting steak down to a science, from the type and brand of salt to exactly when and how to apply it. We even know which salt is too bouncy.

Published Mar. 8, 2023.

We take seasoning steak and other proteins seriously. We choose the type and brand of salt carefully and have determined the best time to salt steak and exactly how to do it.

No detail is too small for examination. To whit, our latest salting-steak discovery: Some kosher salts cling more readily to meat, while others bounce right off.

The Best, Least Bouncy Salt for Steak

Kosher salt is our top choice for seasoning meat because the large grains distribute more easily than fine table salt and cling better to the meat’s surfaces.

Diamond Crystal has long been our favorite brand of kosher salt, not because of its flavor but because of the way it feels. Diamond Crystal has fragile, hollow, concave grains formed through evaporation, while its main commercial rival, Morton Coarse Kosher Salt, has dense, flat flakes created with rollers.

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Diamond Crystal’s structure makes it easier to pinch, break up, and distribute evenly than you can with the Morton flakes. Anecdotally, we’ve also long noticed that Diamond Crystal adheres to food more readily. When showered onto a piece of meat, far more of the heavy, dense Morton flakes seem to bounce off the meat than the light, concave Diamond Crystal flakes. 

To confirm our observations, we recently sprinkled measured amounts of both salts onto a steak and documented the difference. Twice as much of the Morton salt ended up on the cutting board, and the flakes bounced further from the meat than the Diamond Crystal. 

What does this mean for cooks? If you use Diamond Crystal, you’ll season more evenly and waste less salt. (But no matter what brand of kosher salt you use, if you’re cooking with a measured amount, be sure to pick up the meat and roll in any “bounced” grains to ensure proper seasoning.)

The Best Way Season Steak with Salt 

Many cooks tend to hold their fingers close to the meat when sprinkling it with salt. Unfortunately, this leads to an uneven distribution of the crystals.

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How to Roast Everything is the first cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen devoted to the art and science of roasting, pulling together decades of test kitchen experience and knowledge to help you roast everything from meat and fish to vegetables and fruit.

We’ve found that by holding your hand 12 inches above the food, you can season the meat more evenly and completely than from closer distances. Place the meat on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with the specified amount of salt from up high. Be sure to pick up each piece of meat and roll it in any salt that has landed on the baking sheet.

To learn more about the differences between table salt, kosher salt, and other salts, click here.


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