Salt-Grilled Gourmet Meat

Salt-Grilled Gourmet Meat

It’s the second of two Thanksgiving posts and the day is almost here, which means this recipe is just in time!  So open this up, thaw your turkey (properly), and let’s make a turkey.

Raise of hands, how many of you have ever made a turkey before?  Really?  That few?  Well don’t be intimidated.  I promise it’s a lot easier than it sounds or looks.  Quite frankly, it’s just like any other salt-grilled meat recipe we’ve already done, with a few adjustments, of course.  And you’ll love the finished product.  It’ll be picture perfect and deliciously juicy for all your guests/family!

Salt-Grilled Gourmet Meattime and heart meter

Now, you should have started thawing your turkey by now following the instructions provided with your turkey (they almost always come with instructions).  It can take up to 4 days to thaw a turkey (depending on the size) in the fridge.  If you need to speed up the process you can fill a sink with cold water and place the turkey in.  Continue checking the water to make sure it doesn’t get too warm.  Drain the water every 1/2 hour and refill with cold water again.  Do this for roughly 8 hours.  It’s easier to thaw in the fridge but in a pinch, this other way will work.  Just whatever you do, please thaw it correctly!  I don’t want to be responsible for any food poisoning here!

turkey ingredients

We start with what’s called a brine.  Now, there are several ways to brine a turkey but I’ve chosen the easiest of them all.  You have enough to do on Thanksgiving – no reason to make it harder.  The brine with a turkey is the same principle as with pork – it tenderizes the meat and allows the juices to stay inside instead of the bird getting dry and gross.  It also negates, with an extra step, the need for basting!  That’s two time savers here people.  We’re on a roll!

You’re going to need to remove the bird from the packaging and take out any extras they throw in for the really hard-core people a.k.a the giblets and the neck.  Open the bottom of the turkey and they should be in there.  It’ll be a long neck and a packet of weird mushy stuff.  If the packet isn’t in there check where the neck is supposed to be attached.  Sometimes they put it up there to be sneaky.

Once everything gross is out pat the turkey dry with paper towels and coat it with kosher salt and pepper.  Be generous, it’ll help!  Allow the turkey to sit, with the salt and pepper, at room temperature for 1 hour to take off the chill.  The skin will be crispy and delicious if you do it that way.

While the turkey is warming up wash the sage and oregano or thyme, slice a medium onion into quarters, and remove the skin from 6 garlic cloves.  Place these inside your roasting pan, or if you don’t have excess cash floating around to buy a new pan for one meal a year (like me) a normal 11X15 cake pan.  If you want to get extra easy buy one of those disposable cake pans, like my mom does, and just throw it away when you’re done.  Whatever will fit your turkey comfortably will work!  Line the bottom of your pan with these ingredients, putting the onions in the corners.

buttering the turkeyThe next step is almost as important as the brine.  It’s also, for those of you who are a little squeamish, the grossest part of the entire affair.  Rub the room temperature butter all over your hands.  Then rub the entire turkey with those hands, pausing to get more butter if needed.  Make sure the entire bird in covered in the butter to make sure there’s an even crisp to the skin.  A safety note, just because I’m a microbiologist, please don’t reuse any butter you may have touched with raw poultry again.  Just throw it out and save yourself a horrible bought of food poisoning.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.  It’s very important you don’t go much higher than that because most glassware will shatter if you do and that would ruin your entire night.  If you’re using metal feel free to go up to 450°F.  Put your turkey in the pan and put your pan in the oven on the middle shelf.  Close the door and walk away for 45 minutes.  Plenty of time to get started on literally 1 million things to be cooked for dinner.

turkey in the pan

Once the turkey has been roasting for 45 minutes take some tinfoil and cover the breast of the turkey, molding it to keep it in place.  It’ll help trap in the moisture and make for a much more juicy bird!  If you need to make a piece of tinfoil bigger to cover the whole turkey simply fold over the edges of the foil together and press down to seal.  It’ll work.  Trust me.

Lower the temperature of the oven to 350°F and bake for the remainder of the time.  Here’s a handy, dandy chart for approximate times if you need one.  It’s all based on pounds, really, so make sure you know the poundage of your bird beforehand.

9-11 pounds: 2 1/2 hours

12-14 pounds: 3 hours

15-17 pounds: 3 1/2 hours

18-20 pounds: 4 hours

21-23 pounds: 4 1/2 hours

24+ pounds: 5+ hours

turkey thermometerTo check if the turkey is done you’ll need an instant read meat thermometer.  You can buy them in any grocery store this time of year for about $5.00.  It’s worth it.  You’ll use it again (maybe…).  When the time is up stick the thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, making sure you aren’t touching any bones.  Allow the thermometer to read.  Your turkey temperature should be 165°F.  If it isn’t, your turkey needs more time to cook.  Mine took an extra 20 minutes to get up to temperature.  If you need to check again make sure you check in a different spot than the first time!  If you want to be extra careful, check in the breast under the wing, as well.  The temperature is much more important than the color.  Any turkey could have a pink coloring naturally, but if it got up to 165°F or higher, you’ll be just fine!

Remove the turkey from the oven and cover loosely with foil for at least 30 minutes to allow the turkey to rest.  This equalizes the juices inside so you have perfectly moist, delicious meat.

foiled turkey

Remove the turkey from the pan and start slicing!  There are several excellent videos if you google “how to slice a turkey”.  I think you’ll be alright!

While someone is slicing you can make the gravy.  Technically this isn’t part of the recipe but who eats Thanksgiving turkey without gravy?  Remove all the herbs, onions, and garlic, and pour all the drippings into a pot and add all the chicken or turkey stock.  Heat the liquid to a boil and, while you’re waiting, make the cornstarch mixture.  You could use a roux if you feel like it, but that takes longer and we are all about making Thanksgiving easy here!  Mix the cold water and cornstarch together until dissolved.  Once the liquid is boiling slowly add the cornstarch slurry to the drippings.  Stir and continue to heat until thickened.  If you need it thicker, just add more cornstarch liquid.

Serve with all the Thanksgiving trimmings and have an incredible time!

turkey leg

Link’s Salt-Grilled Meat

    • Raw Gourmet Meat or Raw Whole Bird
    • Rock Salt

    Salt-Brined Roast Turkey

    • Servings: dependant on turkey pounds
    • Difficulty: moderate
    • Print

    Turkey

    • 1 Turkey
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt per pound of turkey
    • 1/4 tsp pepper per pound of turkey
    • 1/2-1 cup butter, room temperature, based on turkey size
    • 7 sprigs fresh oregano or thyme
    • 5 sprigs fresh sage leaves
    • 6 garlic cloves
    • 1 medium onion
    • 1 instant read meat thermometer

    Gravy

    • 1 pan turkey drippings
    • 3 cups chicken or turkey stock
    • 1/4 cup cold water
    • 3 heaping spoonfuls cornstarch

    Directions


    1. Thaw your turkey according to the packing instructions, generally refrigerated for a few days. If you need a quicker thaw, fill a sink with cold water and place the turkey in. Drain the water every 1/2 hour and refill with cold water. Continue this process for 8 hours until the turkey is thawed.
    2. Remove the bird from the packaging and take out the neck and giblets. These should be located inside the turkey at either the bottom or the neck holes.
    3. Dry the entire turkey with paper towels
    4. Coat the turkey in the kosher salt and pepper.  Allow the turkey to sit, with the salt and pepper, at room temperature for 1 hour to take off the chill.
    5. Wash the sage and oregano or thyme.
    6. Slice the onion into quarters.
    7. Remove the skin from 6 garlic cloves.
    8. Line the outside edges of a glass or metal cake pan large enough to hold your turkey with the aromatics, putting the onions in the corners.
    9. Rub the room temperature butter all over your hands, coating them completely.
    Then rub the entire turkey with those hands, pausing to get more butter if needed.  Make sure the entire bird in covered in the butter.  A safety note, if you touch any butter with turkey or turkey-covered hands please throw it away to mitigate the risk of food poisoning.
    10. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Put your turkey in the pan and put your pan in the oven on the middle shelf.  Close the door and bake for 45 minutes.
    11. Once the turkey has been roasting for 45 minutes take some tinfoil and cover the breast of the turkey, molding it to keep it in place. If you need to make a piece of tinfoil bigger to cover the whole turkey simply fold over the edges of the foil together and press down to seal.
    12. Lower the temperature of the oven to 350°F and bake for the remainder of the time. Please see the chart in the body of the post for the correct times.
    13. Insert the instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, making sure you aren’t touching any bones.  Allow the thermometer to read.  Your turkey temperature should be 165°F or higher. If the temperature is not quite high enough, roast the turkey until the temperature reads the correct amount.
    14. Remove the turkey from the oven and cover loosely with foil for at least 30 minutes to allow the turkey to rest.
    15. Remove the turkey from the pan.
    16. To make the gravy remove all herbs, onions, and garlic, and pour all the drippings into a pot. Add the chicken or turkey stock and bring to a boil.
    17. Mix the cold water and cornstarch together until dissolved. Once the drippings are boiling slowly add the cornstarch to the drippings, stirring to mix.
    18. Stir the gravy and bring it back to a boil. Add more cornstarch and water if a thicker gravy is desired.

Salt-Grilled Meat

Salt-Grilled Meat

I’ve done salt-grilled prime meat but it’s summer, which means I want to grill like crazy.  So while that mood lasts I made salt-grilled meat.  Instead of choosing just a choice cut of steak instead of a prime cut of steak I tried to think about what Link actually eats in the game.  There’s a lot of birds and a lot of wild pigs.  So it came down to chicken and pork.  Now, if any of you grill you know that you never, never, ever grill chicken.  It is incredibly difficult to get cook through without drying out.  However, if you do cook pork, you know that you fell victim to one of the the classic blunder, the most famous of which is never get in a land war with Asia but only slightly less well-known is this, never grill pork unless death is on the line…  But we have a few tricks to help you build up an immunity to grilling pork.  Follow these steps and you should come out the victor.

Salt-Grilled Meatsalt grilled pork meter

If you are going to use fresh herbs first wash and then mince the herbs.  You want to make sure you have a really sharp blade to mince greens.  If you don’t, instead of cutting they tend to bruise.  Mix both the thyme and sage together and set aside.

The most  important thing is the very next step.  If you skip this step we may as well quit now…  We have to tenderize the meat as much as possible so the pork doesn’t dry out while we grill.  It’s called a brine, bro.

slicing the pork fat

The pork you purchase should be at least 1.5 inches thick.  Any thinner and it will cook too quickly.  Take your pork loin out of the fridge.  Pat each piece dry.  Now we gently slice the fat at 1 inch intervals.  You want to slice the fat but do not slice the meat.  If you have a thick piece of fat along the side slice about 1/4 inch in.  If you have a thin strip of fat cut all the way through but do not cut the meat.

 

seasoning the pork

Brush or rub the pork on both sides with oil, preferably olive or avocado.  Then rub the pork generously with salt, pepper and the herbs.  Now we let them sit for at least 30 minutes.  Don’t get impatient.  Remember, 30 minutes is the minimum for how long we want to brine.  Closer to an hour and the pork will be even more tender and juicy.

Since not everyone has an outdoor grill I decided to make this using our stove-top grill.  Heat on medium high when the pork is nearly ready to cook.  When the grill is hot lay the pork down away from you.  Allow to sear and cook for 8ish minutes.  Along the side you’ll see how far up the pork is cooking.  When you can see that the cook of the pork is nearly to the middle but not quite (maybe 1/3 of the way up) render the fat by holding it fat-side down on the grill for 30 seconds to 1 minute if the fat is thick. When that’s done flip it over and cook on the other side.  It should be nicely and beautifully browned.

lay the pork on the grill

Cook for about 8ish minutes on this side as well.  This is where you have to start using your judgement.  It should be mostly cooked.  You have a 10 minute minimum rest time so you want the pork to be cooked medium so it can finish up while it’s resting.  This means pulling it off when it reaches an internal temperature of 135F.  You want the final temperature to be 145F.  If it’s not quite ready flip over and cook for a minute or two, then flip again and cook for a minute or two.  This will prevent it from over cooking on one side and still cook through.

grilling pork

Take the pork off the grill and place on a plate to rest.  Cover with foil and let it sit for about 10-12 minutes so the juices can equalize.  If you try and skip this step it’ll be a little tough and the juices will all run out.

 

 

pork close-up

Uncover and serve with whatever you’d like!  If you want to wait till next week’s recipe this pairs really well with that!

Link’s Salt-Grilled Meat

    • Raw Meat or Raw Bird Drumstick
    • Rock Salt

Salt-Grilled Pork

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Salt-grilled pork with thyme and sage


Filling

  • 4 pork loin, 1.5 inch thick
  • 1.5-2 tablespoons oil
  • 1-1.5 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh thyme (or 1-1.5 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh sage (or 1-1.5 teaspoon dried sage)

Directions

  1. If you use fresh herbs wash and then mince the herbs. Use a very sharp blade to mince in order to prevent bruising. Mix both the thyme and sage together and set aside.
  2. Take your pork loin out of the fridge and pat each piece dry.
  3. At 1 inch intervals gently slice the fat but do not cut the meat.  If you have a thick piece of fat along the side slice about 1/4 inch in.
  4. Brush or rub the pork on both sides with oil, preferably olive or avocado. Rub the pork generously with salt, pepper and the herbs.
  5. Allow the pork to sit for at least 30 minutes. If you choose to brine for longer start them in the fridge and finish the last 30 minutes out of the fridge.
  6. Heat your grill on medium high when the pork is nearly ready to cook.  When the grill is hot lay the pork down away from you.  Allow to sear and cook for 8ish minutes.  Along the side you’ll see how far up the pork is cooking.  When you can see that the cook of the pork is nearly to the middle but not quite (maybe 1/3 of the way up) turn it and render the fat for each chop.
  7. Flip the loin and cook on the other side for another 8ish minutes.
  8. At this point your chop should be mostly cooked.  You have a 10 minute minimum rest time so you want the pork to be cooked medium so it can finish up while it’s resting.  This means pulling it off when it reaches an internal temperature of 135F.  You want the final temperature to be 145F. If it’s ready remove from the grill and place onto a plate.
  9. If your pork isn’t quite ready flip it over and cook for a minute or two, then flip again and cook for a minute or two.  This will prevent it from over cooking on one side and still cook through.
  10. Take the pork off the grill and place on a plate to rest.  Cover with foil and let it sit for about 10-12 minutes so the juices can equalize. Uncover and serve!

Salt Grilled Prime Meat

Salt Grilled Prime Meat

Thank you all for you patience as I sort through the latest episode of “Extreme Home-Ownership”.  This last one, if you missed my live-tweet recipe extravaganza, involved a fried motherboard on our brand new range the first time we used the oven.  Apparently it’s an incredibly busy week in the appliance warranty repair business this week because the earliest they can come fix it is Friday.  Which is the worst for a cook/baker like myself.  I’ve definitely learned all the weird work-arounds like cooking pasta in a rice cooker (it turns out mushy… I don’t recommend it) and the benefits of an electric fry pan (thank you parents for that one).  But come Friday we should be back in business!

In the meantime I tried a new thing!  I did a live-tweet of this Salt Grilled Prime Meat recipe.  And yes, I know on twitter I called it a live-twitter.  I’m still new to the social media game – an embarrassing thing to admit for a 20-something like myself.  There were a few people who stuck around and checked it out.  Did any of you blog followers think this was cool?  Is it something you’d be interested in seeing again?  Or, instead of live-tweets, would you rather see a twitch stream showing the entire process start to finish?  I’ve been thinking about starting one and maybe the comments on this post will help me finally make up my mind on the matter!  But now, without further delay, here’s the reason you came to my blog today:

Salt Grilled Prime MeatSalt Grilled Prime Meat Difficulty and Time

We start with purchasing the meat.  After a lengthy discussion with the butcher yesterday I finally learned that prime meat is, indeed, a thing.  Apparently there are 4 major types of meat – Select, Choice, Prime, and Prime Aged (least to best from left to right).  As you would expect the higher the quality the higher the price, with this particular butcher charging about $20.00 a pound for prime New York strip steak.  I had him cut 1 inch thick steaks for me and 4 cost about $40.00 total – a very pricy sum for a single part of a single meal.  It’s definitely something to save for special occasions!

Salt Grilled Prime Meat Ingredients

We start by taking the meat out to warm to room temperature about 30 minutes before cooking.  As I mentioned in my Meat and Rice Bowl recipe it makes a huge difference in the evenness and the time it takes to cook if you do this!  Make sure you keep it covered – as a microbiologist I promise you don’t want flies on your food!

With about 10 minutes until grill time heat your grill. I have a charcoal grill so this recipe is how to work with charcoal.  If you have a gas grill I think you’d want the setting at about medium-high.  You’ll have to play with it a bit to be sure…  If you are lucky enough to have a charcoal grill, like I do, start your briquettes.  I use Kingsford Match Light.  I have found they are the easiest and best quality – it’s what my dad, the master griller, uses.  Stack the briquettes in a pyramid and light in several places.  Leave them to burn and turn ashy for about 10 minutes.

When the coals are almost ready pat the steaks down with a paper towel to remove the excess liquid.  This is especially needed if the steaks were frozen and have been thawed.  Brush the steaks lightly with olive oil and season generously with kosher salt and pepper.  We use kosher salt because the large crystals make for a better flavor.  Using ground salt makes it much more difficult to control the quantity and taste of the salt on the steak.

Lay the steaks perpendicular to the grillOnce the coals are ashy spread them out along the bottom of the grill until they are evenly distributed.  Lay the steaks cross-ways along the grill – you want really pretty sear marks and it provides the best support for your steaks.  Cover your grill and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes, depending on the heat of the grill and thickness of the steaks.

Before they start to look cooked on both sides turn the steaks over.  Cover and cook another 5-7 minutes, depending on how well done you’d like them.  Remove them from the grill and leave the cover off to allow the coals to burn out faster.

 

steaks smoking on a grill

Place the steaks immediately on a plate and cover with foil to let them rest.  This rest period is very important – it allows the juices to equilibrate so they don’t ooze out the steak the minute you cut into it.  It makes for a more tender, juicy bite!

Garnish and serve just the way it is – if you did it right it’ll be delicious!  And trust me, if you do splurge and get prime meat, it’ll be the best steak you’ve had in a long time!

steak on a plate

Link’s Meat and Rice Bowl

    • Any raw prime meat or bird thigh
    • Rock salt

Salt Grilled Prime Meat

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
  • Print

Prime New York Strip steak charcoal-grilled with salt and pepper


Ingredients

  • 4 Prime New York strip steaks, about 1 inch thick
  • 1-2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons oil
  • 40 or so Kingsford Match Light briquettes (This quantity is based on the size of my grill. You may need more or less based on yours.)

Directions

  1. Warm the steaks to room temperature.
  2. 10 minutes before cooking your steaks build a pyramid of briquettes in your grill. Light them in multiple places and allow to burn until ashy.
  3. Dry your steaks with a paper towel, especially if they were previously frozen.
  4. Brush the steaks lightly with olive oil and generously spread kosher salt and pepper. Gently rub this in to the steaks.
  5. When the briquettes are ashy and grey, but still hot, this means they are ready. Spread them evenly across the bottom of the grill and replace the grill top.
  6. Add the steaks perpendicular or at an angle to the grill lines. Don’t place them parallel because this won’t give your steaks the support they need.
  7. Cover the grill and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes. This time is dependent on several factors, including the heat outside, retention of heat in the grill, and thickness of the steaks. Keep an eye on them so they don’t overcook!
  8. Before they steaks look cooked on both sides flip them, cover, and cook for another 5-7 minutes. This time will be determined again, by lots of factors, including how well done you’d like them.
  9. Remove from the grill and cover with foil. Allow the steaks to rest for at least 5-7 minutes. This will allow the juices to equilibrate and will make your steak more juicy.
  10. Serve with whatever you’d like but enjoy these steaks just as they are! You won’t regret it.