I’ve heard there are two times you should salt meat:
- Just before it’s going to be cooked, and no sooner. Salt draws moisture out of the meat, and it will be dry if you salt it too early.
- As early as possible; at least a day in advance. Salt draws moisture out of the meat, but then the moisture is re-absorbed with the salt due to osmosis.
*Of course, option 3 is to use a brine.
Update: OK, I will summarize.
*But read the article anyhow. It’s quick and entertaining.
Chicken, Lamb – salt early if at all possible. Steak – it doesn’t seem to matter, or it’s a matter of taste; both work. Pork – salt as late as possible.
The last one surprised me, but matched my experience with a rack of pork I cooked at Christmas (early salting = dry). I think the summary should be: “Pork = use a brine or salt as late as possible”. Darn, this means I will have to revisit some of my recipes to see if they work better with a brine. Are ribs on sale again?