Why Professional Chefs Always Salt Meat Twice When Grilling

One of the best ways to up your grill game, no matter what you're cooking, is by looking to the pros. The world's best chefs love a nice piece of grilled meat as much as the rest of us, and one of their little-known techniques involves the most fundamental seasoning out there – salt. Salt not only accentuates the natural flavors of meat but also affects it on a molecular level. This helps produce the mouth-watering textures we associate with a properly cooked steak, pork chop, or chicken breast.

Cookbook author and "Top Chef" contestant Richard Blais told Reader's Digest that he specifically uses Morton Coarse Kosher Salt to season meat before cooking. This is because the shape of the flakes allows him to evenly season the meat. On the other hand, Heston Blumenthal, a three-Michelin-starred chef who also runs The Fat Duck in Berkshire, England, ensures a salty flavoring by using fine salt instead. Generally, meat should be salted 45 minutes or more before cooking to allow adequate time for the seasoning to work its magic.  But if you watch pro chefs prepare for grilling, you might be surprised to find they salt their meat not once but twice. The reason makes a lot of sense when they explain.

The secrets of salting twice

According to Mauinui, pre-salting food makes it harder to overcook once it hits the grill, as properly brined meat retains its juiciness better than non-salted alternatives. In addition, it dries the exterior of the meat, ensuring an easier-to-achieve, delicious crust. Some of this initial salt will naturally fall off while on the grill. So after meat comes off the heat, pro grillmasters will salt it once again. This time, they'll use higher-quality finishing sea salt with larger flakes that can add a satisfying texture to the dish. For instance, Blumenthal says he prefers sea salt which gives the meat an explosion of flavor. 

According to Saltean, flavored finishing salts can also provide an extra opportunity to add spice, smoke, herbaceousness, or other tastes to your cooked meat. By splitting up salt's dual roles in ensuring proper cooking and accentuating flavor, it's easy to create grilled dishes that will blow the minds of hungry cookout guests. So the next time you're firing up the grill for a cookout, remember this trick from the pros and enjoy chef-quality food right in your backyard.