The salt crust forms a seal around the steak making it juicy and tender.
The salt crust creates a protective barrier around the meat. It keeps the heat in while protecting the meat from the extremes of heat from your coals or gas burners. It also keeps the moisture in so your steak will remain juicy.
When choosing the salt, look for a non-iodized salt such as sea salt or kosher salt. The iodine will add an off-flavor. A coarse salt also works better than fine-grained table salt. You’ll be using quite a lot, so be sure to try it with less expensive salt before switching to high-price artisanal salt.
2 cups kosher salt, or non-iodized sea salt
2 steaks, any cut, New York strip of Rib-eye steak recommended
Steps to Make It
Mix salt with enough water (about 3/4 cup) to make it into a paste, but not runny.
Pack the salt paste firmly on the top of the steak and place on the grill, salt side up.
When the salt starts to turn brown, gently turn the steak over and pack salt on that side. Some salt may fall off through the grill. You don’t have to replace it.
Cook the steak as you normally would. You won’t be able to feel the steak for doneness, so you may wish to use a meat thermometer.
Remove from grill when it’s just the way you like it and break off the salt. One good way to do this is to turn the stead on its side and give it a blow with the back of a kitchen knife.
Allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Look for these readings, with approximate time on the grill for a 1-inch thick New York steak:
Rare: 125 F, 8 to 10 minutes
Medium Rare: 130 F, 9 to 11 minutes
Medium: 140 F, 10 to 12 minutes
Medium Well: 160 F, 12 to 14 minutes
This recipe for grilling salt-crusted steak keeps it completely simple. You can also prepare the steak in a marinade first if you want it to have other seasonings. But give this simple technique a try on its own first.
Salt-crusted fish is a common dish in Sicily, and who made this move to do it with steak is a bit murky. At least some recipes place it with the Basques of France and Spain, who are noted food innovators.
You can certainly use this method to showcase your culinary expertise. Just make sure that your guest is not on a sodium-restricted diet first.