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kosher salt or sea salt?

 
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ou812warford
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Location: Wylie,TX

PostPosted: Wed Mar 05 08 8:52 am    Post subject: kosher salt or sea salt? Reply with quote

I use kosher salt in my rubs and I like it. The other day I bought a salt grinder and a pepper grinder. I am pretty sure that it is sea salt in the grinder. I noticed that the sea salt does not seem to have as much salty taste. Am I crazy? Or is it because the grinder makes smaller pieces of salt?
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Smokinfunk
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Joined: 15 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05 08 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For what it's worth, aside from the grinder, I think you're right on the money as far as standard crystals are concerned. Both kosher and sea salt have much bigger crystals than table salt, which translates to less in contact with your taste buds. But when grinding...hmm..not sure about that one - is this a grinder that you can set the degree of grind? Maybe it's too coarse..?

Back on the topic of not grinding (admittedly one that I just started, not you) it also means that you use different amounts of kosher (my preference) in recipes, which, unless otherwise stated, are based on table salt. I prefer kosher for two reasons: first, no iodine (plenty of that in table salt), and second, when you're throwing in a "pinch" of salt, I feel like I have better control with kosher. With table salt, I could have a bunch piled up between my fingers and not know it, thus oversalting.

Somewhere I saw (maybe here, maybe elsewhere on the web, can't remember, drinking bourbon right now) a conversion for table salt-to-kosher salt. I'll bet with a bit of searching you could also find one for table salt-to-sea salt.

Actually I stopped using sea salt because the crystals were so large I was finding things just too imprecise - and it doesn't work worth a damn with a rub - won't stick without a "sticking agent".

...and as I read back, I realize I've done next-to-nothing to answer your question, but on the other hand, hell that's a lot of typing, so I'll leave it there..
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bigabyte
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05 08 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Size and shape of the salt crystal plays a huge factor in the surface area of taste buds in direct contact with salt causing the amount of salt you taste. A roundish chunk of sea salt on your tongue will taste less salty than the exact same weight in flake kosher salt, because you will have only the area of the bottom part of that chunk of sea salt touching the taste buds on your tongue, while the flakes of kosher salt will spread out like flakes do, laying flat on your tongue over an increased surface area. This means more taste buds pick up the falvor of salt, and your brain translated this as more salty falvor. The amount of salt in each tasting was the exact same becuase you used the exact same weight of salt in each tasting, yet one tasted saltier. You know for a fact it was the exact same amount of salt though.

Once salt is dissolved into things, then you get into the case of salt is salt is salt. One of the reasons Kosher salt is used in cooking meats is that the flakes stick to the meat and can absorb quickly. Sea salt is used because it does not readily absorb into the meat leaving chunks of salt ont he meat for you to enjoy after it is cooked. A brine made with the same amount of salt does not matter what kind of salt was used to make it, as long as the same weight of salt was used, the brine is the same strenght, and the effect of the salt on the meat will be the same whether it was from pickling salt, kosher salt or pink Hawaiian se salt.

There are subtle flavor variations you can detect when tasting salts based on mineral content of "dirt" (if you want to call it that) that is stuck on the salt crystals. You can make this out when tasting the salt raw. If you dissolve it, then you are much less likely to taste this due to the dillution, or if you apply it to meat and cook it for the same reason. This is why exotic salts used for flavor are used for table salt for sprinkling at the end of cooking as opposed to the beginning. Anyone using Fleur De Sel for their rubs is unfortunately misguided in thinking they have an advantage, because when they try the rub raw, they may (if their tongue is hyper-sensitive) pick up ont he difference in flavor, but after all of the processes involved with getting absorbed into the meat, that flavor benefit is moot.
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ou812warford
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05 08 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. The real reason I ask is because I have used the salt grinder and am trying to be careful not to over salt what I am putting it on. So far I seem to be under salting stuff. I was wonder if it is from the grind size or that sea salt is not as salty tasting.
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g8trwood
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07 08 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always weigh the salt. The difference between Morton and Diamond kosher salt is huge if you measure by volume. Found this out by mistake. A cup of Morton is equal to about 1.75 cups of Diamond. With sea salt, it all depends on the grind, just weight it.
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Crabman
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07 08 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is why I love this website, I always learn something.
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