No matter the time of year, there is always a wannabe grill master preparing to throw steaks on the grill for the first time.
Unfortunately for them, grilling is a very heuristic endeavor, requiring each person to earn their knowledge through experience rather than simply hearing about it. To find proof, one has to look no further than all of the falsehoods and misconceptions about grilling, all claiming to impact the meat’s flavor.
Here is a closer look at some of the most common steak myths that are untrue, no matter how you slice it.
Don’t Salt Before Cooking
The theory goes that you shouldn’t salt your steak before grilling because it can dry the meat out. The reality is that salt will add extra flavor to your meal and reduce surface moisture, giving you a better cook.
Depending on the steak’s thickness, the ideal time to add salt is between 40 minutes and two hours before the cooking time, leaving them uncovered in the refrigerator. Salts and seasoning are just a few of the many ways to improve your meat’s flavor.
Cook Steak at Room Temperature
Another common precooking myth that has no scientific basis is the belief that steak should reach room temperature before grilling. People believe that this helps remove the moisture from the outside of the meat that prevents it from searing correctly.
The best reason to set meat out in advance is to allow the meat to thaw more to reduce cook time, but you still should remain cautious. The truth is that it is more important to keep the temperature out of the danger zone to avoid the possibility of food-borne illnesses.
Searing Locks Juices Inside
The goal of searing your steak for most people is to lock in the moisture in the meat. Searing helps reduce the moisture from the steak’s outside and adds the unique flavors most commonly associated with the meat. Dabbing your steaks with paper towels before putting them on the grill can help this process.
Only Flip Your Steak Once
The myth that never seems to die about steaks is that you only should flip them once. But by flipping your steak, you actually promote a more even cook. Flipping your steaks regularly will prevent the steak from drying out while adding to the sear, while also reducing the required cooking time.
The “Poke Test”
The last of the common steak myths that are untrue and need to go away is the belief you can judge a steak’s “doneness” simply by poking it with your finger and basing it on what part of your hand it feels like.
The absolute absurdity of this is how this myth persists when simply shaking somebody else’s hand proves that everybody’s hand feels different, and there is no possible way to base your meal on how your dry your hands happen to feel today. The only real way to know when the meat is ready to head to the table is with a meat thermometer.