Wet brine the meat by weight
To develop your skills at salting by weight, a solution’s the solution. Water will move salt through meat faster and more evenly than a dry brine. ChefSteps recommends measuring water equal to 50% of your meat by weight (again, bones don’t count). Then salt by percentage of the total weight (water plus meat) up to 2% or less, depending on the animal.
Tip: Save the time and energy of heating water just to cool it down anyway. Dissolve your brine spices quickly in a small amount of boiling water, then add the remaining measurement as cold water to rapidly cool it and brine the meat immediately.
Grind your own burger
Chill your meat grinder parts in the freezer, next to a metal mixing bowl of cubed beef. When the meat is ALMOST frozen, assemble the grinder, and swiftly chop that beef.
Making your own patty ensures your burger comes from a single piece of meat, let’s you use higher quality cuts, and helps you control the fat-to-meat ratio. One additional advantage is right before grinding, you can toss those cubes in McCormick Grill Mates seasoning, then cook the hamburgers immediately, before the salt has a chance to denature the proteins.
Make your own brats
Now that you’ve mastered the meat grinder as well as the relationship between salt and protein, combine them. Soak your salted casings in very warm water for a couple hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Change the water a couple of times. Grind the meat, chilling it again as you go, then grind again in a finer cut. Toss with seasonings of your choice and then stuff into the casings. (You do own a sausage stuffer by now, right?) You’ll want to do this a day or two in advance so the salt unravels the meat’s proteins and meshes them. Yeah, it’s a lot of work, but homemade beer brats? You’ll be the hero of the cookout.
L'aissez les bontemps roulade
Turducken might be the hedonist’s thanksgiving meal of choice, but ballotines (deboned meat stuffed with other deboned meat) are a lot of work! Grilling is supposed to be fun, so skip the rôti sans pareil -- 17 birds stuffed inside each other -- and do the easier roulade -- meat rolled around delicious stuffing. Slice a chicken breast in half, roll it up around ham and cheese, and pin in place with a toothpick. Voila: chicken cordon bleu.
Even advanced projects can be fun, fast, and easy: butterfly a boneless roast -- say pork butt or loin -- then tie it up with butcher's twine around fun fillings like bacon, terrine, or deboned chicken thigh. Ramp up the flavor by using fattier cuts inside, which will permeate their host. Dang, friend, you just made a meat cocktail that uses actual rooster, if not its actual tail.