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I have read that brining pork chops is a good idea but can you brine beef steaks of various cuts? Would this achieve anything good or spectacular or is it just a waste of time?

  • I think Beef Teriyaki counts as brined steak. – Pieter B Jul 9 at 7:52
  • It used to be useful, a hundred years ago or so. – Mast Jul 9 at 7:59
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There certainly are proponents of brining beef to impact texture and flavor. In my looking across the internets, it appears that dry "brining" is more common than wet, but both are used for steaks. Whether or not the results are "spectacular" is up to you. So, I would give it a try to see if you like it. For me, I generally don't prefer the texture of brined meat, with the exception of boneless pork loin chops. Given their leanness, I think a couple of hours in a salt/sugar brine helps. If you like the results, be sure to experiment with time in the brine. As it is possible to over do it, negatively impacting the texture.

  • would the brine steak taste of corned beef if you brined it or would different cuts of beef taste different when brined? – Neil Meyer Jul 8 at 14:06
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    Beef is "corned" by brine plus spices. – moscafj Jul 8 at 15:20
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    I would definitely recommend dry "brining" steaks even up to a day in advance. SeriousEats has found that doing so improves both the tenderness and moisture retention of beef. This is because the broken down (by salt) muscle fibers are looser and thus expel less moisture when they contract from heat. – Alex Reinking Jul 8 at 22:43
  • @moscafj That (usually) isn’t steak though. – Konrad Rudolph Jul 9 at 14:26
  • @KonradRudolph you can "corn" any cut. The term really refers to the salt...but, you are correct. Traditionally, it is the brisket that is "corned." – moscafj Jul 9 at 19:56
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For tender meat like steak, brining is generally not needed (nor recommended). However I can see some applications where you'd want to delicately brine a thick cut of a steak by submerging the meat for a long-time in a low-concentration salt-water solution i.e. equilibrium brining

Quoting directly from the Chefsteps Equilibrium Brining page:

The goal of brining is to apply enough salt to meat or seafood that the food retains more juices during cooking and that flavor is enhanced without curing the flesh in process. This challenge is analogous to cooking to a particular core temperature. You can cook at a temperature higher than the desired doneness and try to time the cooking just right. But if the center is perfectly done, the part near the surface will inevitably be overcooked. The alternative is to cook at the desired final core temperature and wait for the entire piece of food to reach equilibrium with the cooking temperature. This is the typical approach used when cooking sous vide. With brining, you have the same choice: brine the food in a very strong salt solution and then remove it before it is over-salted, or soak the food in a brine with just the right amount of salt. The latter is our preferred approach because it does away with all of the guesswork. We call it equilibrium brining.

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    Not all steak cuts are tender, and some recently fashionable cuts (e.g. skirt) are famously tough and only passable as steaks by cutting against the grain (or indeed by brining/marinating). – Konrad Rudolph Jul 9 at 14:28
  • They are kind of repurposed “steaks” right? :) – zetaprime Jul 9 at 15:08

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