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Dry Brine Steak

Dry Brine Steak – For one of the tenderest, juiciest steaks you’ve ever eaten, dry brining is the way to go. It’s a simple way to savor a quality cut of meat by complementing instead of overpowering that beefy goodness. 

Dry brined steak with cowboy butter for a soul-satisfying meal

If you’re wondering how to dry brine steak, don’t worry; it’s extremely easy. You simply coat the steak with a thin layer of salt and give it some time to let it penetrate. It’s so much easier than marinating for the perfect steak.

And while some folks argue for a wet marinade to season steaks, I’m here to tell you that dry brining is the way. Our cuts are already juicy and flavorful, so there’s no need for more moisture. Plus, adding moisture can even dilute the beefy flavor of the steak – not something you want to do to a high-quality cut of meat. πŸ™…πŸΏβ€β™€οΈ

How Long to Dry Brine Steaks

You can do a quick dry brine, giving your steak a nice crusty, salty exterior. But a longer dry brine is better. I recommend at least two hours and preferably overnight.

The reason? The longer you dry-brine, the better the salt penetrates the steak. An overnight dry brine results in a steak that is flavorful and juicy throughout, not just on the outside. πŸ‘Œ

Recipe Ingredients

Recipe Ingredients
  • SteakΒ – This recipe works for 2-4 steaks, though you can always scale up if cooking for a crowd. Go with ribeyes, strip steak, or tenderloins for dry brining.Β 
  • Salt and Pepper – Salt is the key here (sea salt or kosher). I like adding pepper for flavor, but you can skip it.
  • Additional Seasonings – Adding the steak seasoning of choice to the steak when dry brining adds delectable flavor. It’s not strictly necessary, though.

How to Dry Brine Steaks

Brining the beef

Dry Brine the Steaks

  1. Prep Steaks – Pat the steaks dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Place on a baking sheet topped with a cookie rack (so the liquid the salt draws out has somewhere to go).
  2. Season the steak with salt and evenly distribute it all over the steak.
  3. Dry Brine – Place the seasoned steaks on the wire rack over a baking sheet to allow air circulation, and dry the steaks out further in the refrigerator. Place the baking sheet with the steaks in the fridge uncovered and let them dry brine for at least 2-3 hours (overnight is even better).
  4. Cook – Proceed with your preferred cooking method.
Putting the beef on the grill

Grill the Dry Brined Steaks

  1. Warm to Room Temp – When ready to cook, remove the steaks from the refrigerator, season them with pepper and steak seasoning if desired, and let them come to room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  2. Prep Grill – Brush grill grates with olive oil to prevent the steak from sticking. Preheat a grill to high heat. Turn two knobs to high (450-500℉/232-260℃) and let the grill heat for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Grill – Once the grill reaches the right temperature, place the steaks directly on the grill. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side (without moving them to ensure nice grill marks). Remember that cooking times will vary depending on the steaks’ thickness.
  4. Finish – Lower the heat to medium (350-450℉/177-232℃) to finish cooking to the desired doneness.
  5. Rest – Remove the steaks from the grill and let them rest for 5-10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. Top with cowboy butter or other steak sauce.
  6. Serve – Slice the steaks against the grain and serve them with your favorite side dishes.

Recipe Variations

  • Coffee-and-spice dry brine: Combine salt, dark brown sugar, coffee grounds, smoked paprika, cumin, and coriander in a bowl. Rub the mixture all over the steaks before dry brining in the fridge and grilling as directed.
  • Make it Asian: In a bowl, mix salt, soy sauce powder, garlic powder, ground ginger, five-spice powder, and white pepper. Rub the mixture over the steaks for a dry brine and cook as per recipe instructions.
  • No grill? No worries. You can dry brine steaks and cook them in a grill pan or a cast iron skillet on the stovetop. 

Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t oversalt your steak. A general guideline is Β½-ΒΎ teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of meat, adjusting to your taste buds and the steaks’ thickness. It’s better to undersalt rather than oversalt. You can always add more salt after cooking.
  • Choose high-quality steaks. Look for cuts that have plenty of marbling for best results. The extra fat will enhance the flavor and juiciness. πŸ₯©
  • Use a meat thermometer to cook the steak to your desired level of doneness to ensure the perfect internal temperature. 🌑️

Make-Ahead Instructions

Steak is always best fresh off the grill. But if you want to repurpose the steak as part of your meal prep, feel free to make it up to 3 days in advance. Slice the steak and store it in an airtight container in the fridge until you are ready to use it. Reheat it low and slow to prevent drying the meat, or top a salad with it cold. 

Serving and Storage Instructions

  • Serve dry brined steak hot as soon as it finishes resting. However, it’s also good at room temperature on salad.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. You can reheat on the stove, in the microwave, in the oven, and even in the air fryer. Just make sure you reheat low and slow to retain the steaks’ juicy goodness. 
Delectable dry brined steak seasoned with cowboy butter

FAQs

How does dry brining work?Β 

Dry brining works by allowing the salt crystals to penetrate the meat and break down some of the muscle proteins. This process helps the meat retain moisture and improves its texture. It also enhances the overall flavor by seasoning the meat from within. 🀩

Do I need to rinse off the dry brine before cooking?Β 

No, you don’t need to rinse off the dry brine before cooking. Instead, before cooking, gently brush off any excess salt and seasonings from the surface of the steak. The dryer your steak, the better.

Can I dry brine other meats besides steak?Β 

Yes, dry brining is excellent for poultry (like chicken and turkey), pork, and some seafood. The process and principles are similar, though you may need to adjust brining times based on the thickness of the meat.

What is the Maillard reaction?

The chemical reaction that gives browned food its delicious flavor, like seared meat (whether beef, pork, or chicken). It works for bread, too. That beautiful brown crust tastes great, too.
French chemist Louis Camille Maillard discovered it in 1912, and so the name. High heat makes it happen; 280℉ (140℃) is the temperature that it starts, but ideally, you want at least 350℉ (177℃).

What Goes With Dry Brined Steaks

Pair dry-brined steaks with all your favorite steak sides. I love serving these with grilled potato wedgesgrilled bread, and some grilled onions and asparagus. If you want a fully grilled meal, add some grilled pineapple with a scoop of ice cream to the menu for dessert. 🀀

More Bodacious Beef Recipes to Try

Conclusion

Try this dry brining method and see if it doesn’t change how you prepare your steak for good! Are you a serial dry briner already? If so, drop your best tips in the comment box below. I always love hearing from you! πŸ₯°

Dry brined steak with cowboy butter for a soul-satisfying meal

Dry Brine Steak

For one of the tenderest, juiciest steaks you've ever eaten, dry brining is the way to go. It's a simple way to savor a quality cut of meat by complementing instead of overpowering that beefy goodness.Β 
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Dry Brine Steak, steak
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Brining Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 472kcal
Author: Imma

Ingredients

  • 2-4 steaks (ribeye, strip steak, or tenderloin)
  • salt and pepper (see notes)
  • steak seasoning or rub of your choice (optional)

Instructions

  • Pat both sides of the steak with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Place on a baking sheet topped with a cookie rack (so the liquid the salt draws out has somewhere to go).
  • Season the steak with salt and evenly distribute it all over the steak.
  • Place the seasoned steaks on the wire rack over a baking sheet to allow air circulation and dry the steaks out further in the refrigerator.
  • Place the baking sheet with the steaks in the fridge uncovered and let them dry brine for at least 2-3 hours (overnight is even better).
  • When ready to cook, remove the steaks from the refrigerator, season with pepper and steak seasoning if desired, and let them come to room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  • Proceed with your preferred cooking method.

Grilling

  • Brush grill grates with olive oil to prevent the steak from sticking.
  • Preheat a grill to high heat. Turn two knobs to high (450-500℉/232-260℃) and let the grill heat up for 10-15 minutes. Once the grill reaches the right temperature, place the steaks directly on the grill. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side (without moving them to ensure nice grill marks). Remember that cooking times will vary depending on the steaks' thickness.
  • Lower the heat to medium (350-450℉/177-232℃) to finish cooking to the desired doneness.Remove the steaks from the grill and let them rest for 5-10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. Top with cowboy butter or other steak sauce.
  • Slice the steaks against the grain and serve them with your favorite side dishes.

Notes

  • Don’t oversalt your steak. A general guideline is Β½-ΒΎ teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of meat, adjusting to your taste buds and the steaks’ thickness. It’s better to undersalt rather than oversalt. You can always add more salt after cooking.
  • Choose high-quality steaks. Look for cuts that have plenty of marbling for best results. The extra fat will enhance the flavor and juiciness.
  • Use a meat thermometer to cook the steak to your desired level of doneness to ensure the perfect internal temperature.Β 
  • Please remember that the nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used in the recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 1steak | Calories: 472kcal | Protein: 46g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 138mg | Sodium: 699mg | Potassium: 609mg | Vitamin A: 47IU | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 4mg

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