The ways that you can wind up with an over-salted steak include using too much salt and using a fine-grained salt. If you used a fine-grained salt, the grains break down too quickly on the steak’s surface and are absorbed into the meat. Your steak becomes unpalatable as a result. Like any excessive flavor, there are ways to fix it but it will be easier with an uncooked steak than with a cooked one. It’s challenging to remove salt from any cooked food. Here are some of the steps you can try if your steak is too salty:
Wash it off
When dealing with oversalted meat, water is going to be your most useful tool. If you can remove most of the salt from the steak’s surface, there is a good likelihood that this will be enough to balance out the flavor to make it palatable again. This works best on an uncooked steak. Once you have rinsed the salt on the exterior off, use paper towels to pat the steak dry before grilling or broiling it.
If your steak has been sitting in a lot of salt for an extended period, there is the possibility that a surface rinse will not be enough. In this case, you will want to soak it in water to draw out the salt that it has absorbed. If it is excessively salty, you may want to soak it for a few hours or overnight. Pat dry with paper towels before cooking.
While grilling and pan-frying steaks are usually seen as the preferable ways to cook steak, steaks can be braised as well. If your steak is too salty, a braising liquid may draw out enough of that salt to make it edible again. You can use this method with a cooked steak if none of the other options will work. You won’t be getting a rare or even medium steak since braising will take it to the far extreme of well-done, but you won’t have to toss it out either. When braising an over-salted steak, do not add any more salt to the braising liquid.
Make a cream sauce
If you have already cooked your steak and find it to be salty, you may be able to rescue it with a cream sauce. Rich dairy can mask excessively strong flavors including that of salt. Adding peppercorns and other intense spices to the sauce can also help to hide a strong salty taste. Of course, you will want to make your sauce with no salt to avoid compounding the problem with the steak.
If your steak has already been cooked, you can use butter to draw out and hide some of the salty flavor. Caramelize some onions or shallots in butter and let the steak sit in it for a little while. Not only will your steak draw up some of the richness and flavor from the butter, but it will also lose some of its salt.
Steak purists tend to limit the seasonings for ribeyes and other high-end steaks to dry spices like pepper and salt. However, the acids used on budget steaks like the skirt steaks used in fajitas can work on over-salted ribeyes as well. Lime juice can help to cut through the intensity of excessive saltiness to make your steak enjoyable.