High-end steak (on the cheap)

CHARLES TOWN – Steak.

Juicy, mouth-watering steak: Ravishing ribeye. A perfect Porterhouse. Terrific T-bones. Perfectly seared with criss-cross grill marks, these cuts of steak are some of the most delicious pieces of meat to cook over an open flame. But in this age of austerity, it’s not always easy to afford them.

A lower-end cut of steak can be made great with one ingredient – salt, and lots of it.

For those of us not among the 1 percent, here’s how you can take a lower-end cut of beef — sirloin, flank, flat iron, skirt — and make it taste like a steak that costs twice as much.

I like to call this recipe “Hoover steak,” in reference to President Herbert Hoover, who was in office when the Great Depression started in 1929.

The secret is salt. Lots of salt. Real salt, like sea salt or kosher. Forget the iodized salt. Real salt tastes better.

Liberally pour salt on a plate. Place the steaks on plate and liberally pour salt on top of them. Make the steaks look almost like a salt lick. Let sit for 30 minutes. If you like, you can add other spices such as pepper or mashed garlic.

After the half hour is up, place the steak under the kitchen sink tap and rinse all the salt off. Use paper towels to pat the steaks dry. Season as you normally would, fire up the grill and cook to taste.

Take steaks off the grill. Add a pad of butter and a sprinkle of garlic powder on top. Let rest for five minutes and enjoy.

The steak will cut like butter and taste like a million dollars.

That’s it.

So, how does it work? You might think the steak would taste saltier than a swallow of ocean water.

The process works by extracting water out of the steak. Remember the process of osmosis? The salt permeates the steak, loosening up the proteins. By removing the water inside of the steak, the full flavor of the beef is realized. The process produces results similar to a “dry-aged steak” found in high-end restaurants.

And the process doesn’t increase the saltiness of the steak. The only salt you’ll taste will be from the seasoning you choose to add before it’s grilled. Virtually all of the salt will be washed off before cooking.

A great taste from the grill does not have to break the bank. Wait for a good sale at the supermarket and enjoy eating high on the hog – without having to take out a loan from a bank.

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