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Seasoning Meats and Poultry


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Hi Harold,

Thank you for the wonderful books and this Q&A.

Having read below that you are not fond of brining, I was wondering how you feel about other approaches to seasoning meats and poultry, i.e. marinades, rubs, and cures. I know this is a broad question, so feel free to offer any useful advice. Specifically though, I'm wondering whether you practice "salting early" ala Judy Rodgers and whether or not you think marinades are worth the trouble (particularly acidic ones) and which ones work best. Thx.

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Thanks for your kind words! Rubs and marinades are great for flavoring meats. In general I find rubs more useful because the usual acidic marinades leave the surface sodden and granular. Brief dry “cures” are good for concentrating and adding flavor, firming texture, and to some extent tenderizing (the salt disorganizes the protein fibrils). Gravlax and duck confit (especially the gizzards, or gesiers) are favorites of mine. In the case of Judy Rodgers’s roast chicken, the salting helps dry out the skin and get it cracklingly crisp.

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