MSG Gives Your Steak An Umami Flavor Boost

sliced umami steak with compound butter
sliced umami steak with compound butter - Lisovskaya/Getty Images

There's a lot to know about MSG (monosodium glutamate), and for many of us, learning how to add it to foods judiciously is new. For example, we often reach for the salt shaker to liberally season steaks, when, instead, a tiny sprinkle of MSG powder would amplify the flavor much better and with less sodium. The white powder adds umami -- the word that describes that elusive savory, meaty flavor -- to everything it's sprinkled on, enhancing flavors and making food more delicious.

The G in MSG stands for glutamate, which is the molecule our tongues detect and translate to the perception of umami. Umami is sometimes described as the brain's detector of protein, since glutamate is usually highest in protein-containing foods. So it makes sense that adding a bit more of what's already giving our steak its meaty flavor would be a great choice for seasoning, and better than salt alone.

Read more: The Most Popular Cuts Of Steak Ranked Worst To Best

How To Use MSG On Steak

sprinkling msg on steak
sprinkling msg on steak - Vm/Getty Images

Keep in mind that MSG is a powerful flavor enhancer, and just a small amount goes a long way. Half of a teaspoon evenly sprinkled on a pound of steak is plenty to boost the flavor. Go lighter on the salt when you use MSG, both because it does have a small amount of sodium (the S in its name), but also because you won't need as much thanks to all that flavor enhancing.

Sprinkle the MSG on your steak before and during cooking for the best results. The powder will dissolve into the damp surface of the meat if you use it in advance. Don't hesitate to use other seasonings along with the MSG, like crushed black peppercorns or your favorite steak rub or marinade. You can also add a pinch of MSG into your favorite steak seasoning recipe. Or sprinkle some into a compound butter recipe and use it to both baste the steak as it cooks and melt on top as the steak is resting.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.