You May Be Surprised By How Much Salt Is Really Used At Steakhouses

All restaurants have their secrets, but steakhouses seem to have more than most. Only the professionals, it seems, know exactly how these prime cuts of well-aged beef achieve such tender and flavorful perfection. Well, fortunately for us, a few of these long-held secrets are finally starting to leak out, and as it turns out, a very liberal use of salt is one of them.

How much salt? A lot. "The pros really know how to season meat. Coating the steak with an even layer of salt brings out the meat's beefy flavors,"  a former kitchen insider writes in Taste of Home. "You might be shocked at how much salt we use, but almost no one sends back a steak because it's overseasoned."

California-based steakhouse Prime 13 helps to explain this fascination with salt by noting its seasoning prowess. Not only does salt have a natural brining effect that really concentrates a steak's flavors, it pairs perfectly with other seasoning ingredients like butter, parsley, and of course, salt's inevitable partner, coarse ground black pepper. Additionally, salting gives meat a deeper red color and helps to tenderize it, too.

How to use salt like a steakhouse does

We mentioned butter, and that's definitely another steakhouse secret. As in, they use lots of that as well. As The Daily Meal observes, Ruth's Chris Steak House gets their sizzling effect the old-fashioned way: by adding a big dollop of butter to the pan during the last few moments before serving.

But a proper appreciation for copious salt seasoning is the secret every home cook seeking the perfect steak should aspire to master. It's important to note, however, that you can use all the salt you want to season your steaks, but if you're not using the same salt that steakhouses do, you won't get the same results. According to Taste of Home, the pros use kosher salt for their initial seasoning. Today concurs, noting that home cooks should adjust their kosher salt usage depending on the thickness of the cut, so that it seasons the meat on and even below the surface level.

Bon Appétit likewise encourages home cooks to season their steaks aggressively with kosher salt, coating the steak evenly and thoroughly. But they also advocate salting it again after the meat has been seared and sliced, this time with sea salt, so that the juicy red interior gets its own unique salt-flaked layer of flavoring. It's a lot, but hey, that's why we said you may be surprised.