The Challenger In Round Three Is:
- Salted Matambre
One and a half years have passed since the last challenge and after the long painful process of getting my jaw to once again function properly, through strenuous physical therapy, the time has come for the third Matambre Challenge. For this competition I decided to try a method that is used, by some, to rapidly tenderize steaks through salting. The process is similar to brining except, instead of allowing the meat to tenderize in a salty solution for a certain time, you liberally coat the meat with salt for a short period of time, rinse with water, and pat dry before cooking. Like salt curing but stopping the process almost as quickly as you start it.
People, I’m tired of the matambre cut. Instead of letting it kill my hunger, I want to turn the tables and kill its proteins of out of existence. Salt is the best weapon for the job and I started this recent challenge with a desire to bring a new meaning to mass destruction. Ideally, the process is best used on thick steaks with good fat marbling that keeps the meat moist while cooking since a lot of water is removed. Since matambre is very thin, and hardly has any internal fat, I knew I had to handle this a bit differently or else I’d end up eating what could be a rubbery or mushy piece of super salty beef. With that in mind, I set out to soak the meat for a bit after salting instead of just rinsing.
As with the previous challenges, I sliced the matambre so that the control and competitor had equal parts of thick and thin. As with the other challenges, both sides of each piece were scored. Both sides of the contestant were liberally coated with semi-coarse (entrefina) salt–on par with sugar-coated sweets. After thirty minutes, with a pinkish colored pool of liquid forming all around, I moved to the next step of rinsing and soaking. Two fifteen minute intervals of fresh water baths.
The meat was cook similarly to the previous challenges.
Once again, I pleaded with my wife to act as a judge. Let me just say that if I ask her to do this again we’ll probably end up in divorce court. The control was practically impossible to chew. I mean it literally took a few minutes to get to the point where we didn’t have to swallow them as whole chunks. Texturally speaking, the salted piece was not that bad. Equal or better than the wet-aged cut from Challenge 2. How can I remember after so long, you ask? Trust me, you don’t forget this kind of thing. Chewy, like chuck that was cooked too quickly but only requires a bit of effort to break everything down. The taste, on the other hand, was out of this world. A nice saltiness all around with a smoky richness that only comes from a grill.
For some reason, I’m having a hard time at finding wet-aged matambre. I’ll keep looking because a mash-up between wet-aged and salting might just produce a winner. Well, as much as one could wish for in this competition.