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About a year and a half ago I stumbled upon a method that will turn the average ho-hum steak into something that you'd gladly overpay for at a restaurant. OK, almost gladly.

The concept is simple. You give the meat a massive dose of salt for a short period of time, rinse, pat very dry, then broil or grill it like you normally would. The salt causes the protein strands to break down while simultaneously seasoning the meat completely. Each bite is tender and perfectly seasoned. Sounds good, no? That's what I thought.

Here's how I do it. Put the steaks in a baking dish and completely cover both sides with kosher or sea salt (no table salt). When I say "cover", I mean almost to the point where you can't see the red of the meat. Cover the dish with plastic wrap, or even just a paper towel and let the meat marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes per 1/4" of thickness.

Note: I would not recommend this for steaks less than about 3/4" thick.

When the marinating time is up, rinse the steaks very well with cold water. Don't worry, the salt has served its country very well and is no longer needed. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels. You want them as completely dry as possible. Now, we have plenty of saltiness, but we need to bring some pepper to the party. I give both sides of my steaks a good dose of fresh medium-grind black pepper (see the picture -- click for a larger version).

My friend, you are now ready to put the heat to the meat. Just grill, broil or otherwise cook the steaks as you normally would. I think you'll agree that this can elevate a pedestrian steak far beyond what you'd expect. And it's quick, too!

Tip: If you like a little more flavor than just basic salt and pepper, sprinkle some of your favorite BBQ seasoning, seasoned salt, or even just garlic salt onto the steaks before you add the salt blanket.

Afterthought: Something I'd like to try is adding a little Worcestershire sauce after the salt and then spreading it around, mixing it with the salt to form a paste.

[via steamykitchen.com]
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