Procrastinators rejoice. BBQ staples like burgers, chicken and steak don’t need to be seasoned for more than a few minutes before touching the hot grill.
Season meat when it’s raw, says chef Jeff Igel, chair of the Culinary Arts Department at Fox Valley Technical College. Yes, you will lose some moisture as the salt will remove it, but the amount lost is minimal compared to the flavor gains.
As the moisture is removed, the salt is sucked into the meat, giving you a better taste experience.
“If you grill a steak and try to season it after, those seasonings are going to bounce off that steak and not stick at all,” Igel said.
The stickiness of the meat catches the salt crystals, peppers and sugars, and it simply sheds into the meat, he said.
To get the best of both worlds – juiciness and flavor – don’t overcook the meat.
As the meat cooks, you lose water and fat, says Igel, and the more you lose, the more flavor evaporates.
Pulling the meat to the right temperature and letting it sit before serving will keep guests from looking for ketchup and barbecue sauce to cover up your cooking mistake.