How A Salty Spritz Can Transform Home-Cooked Steaks

So, you followed the advice of all the great chefs by salting your steak at least an hour before you cooked it. However, after biting into your skirt steak, you found it was unbearably salty. You might wonder what went wrong or why the general rule didn't work in this case. 

Skirt steak and other thin cuts of steak, such as flatiron, aren't substantial enough to support a heavier salt coating. That said, you don't want underseasoned food. So, what do you do? Our suggestion is simple: Ditch the heavy salt coating and choose a briny solution instead. Dissolving salt into water creates a saline solution, which is totally under-utilized in culinary pursuits. Think of it as the savory counterpart to simple syrup, as it's a two-ingredient mixture that opens up a world of flavor possibilities. 

Salt applied in this manner is one way to season meat without overwhelming it, which sometimes happens with intensely flavored dry brines. Once you've created your saltwater solution, add it to a clean spray bottle to spritz onto meat — or anything else that needs a touch of salinity. Using a spray bottle allows an even coating of salty spray to cover the surface of your meat, which is perfect for leaner, thinner cuts. Note: Do not try to use an old hair spray bottle because, trust us, you'll taste it. 

How to make the perfect saltwater solution

Unlike simple syrup, you don't want your saline solution to be a 1:1 ratio. Instead, add 1 tablespoon of salt to 1 cup of warm water, stir, and let it dissolve. Be sure to skip the table salt for this, as it contains a mineral called iodine. This is usually not noticeable when sprinkled over cooked dishes, but its distinctly metallic taste will come through if it gets used for seasoning something with a more neutral flavor. Instead, opt for flaky sea or kosher salt to create a super pure saltwater brine. 

You can also use this solution when smoking a bigger cut of meat, like ribs or brisket. Moisture particles trap smoke, so in addition to dry brining meat in advance of grilling and smoking, add a few spritzes of your homemade saltwater spray to keep it moist and lock in as much smoky flavor as possible. And, if you bite into any dish and find it's a tad under-salted, give it a quick spray for an instant flavor upgrade.