Does salt make meat tough?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “Does salt make meat tough?” and discuss why salt is used as a preservative. We will also discuss whether salt can kill bacteria or not. We will discuss the health implication of eating too much salt and mention if salt has calories.

Does salt make meat tough?

Yes, salt makes meat tough when it is used as a brine or preservative for meat. Salt draws out moisture from the meat making it dry. Salt also adds flavor to the meat and is one of the most important seasonings. So it is advisable to use salt during the cooking process as a seasoning if you want your meat to stay tender. 

Why is salt used as a preservative?

Salt is used as a preservative due to its hygroscopic nature and also because it is toxic to microorganisms. It is widely used to cure meat because when it is applied to meat, it absorbs the moisture from the meat leaving it dry and dehydrated. 

This dehydration leaves the meat less susceptible to contamination by bacteria. Dehydrated meat does not serve as a favorable condition for the survival of bacteria.

In addition, bacteria will get robbed off any water present inside its cells due to the presence of salt outside, again due to osmosis. So this is why salt has been used for years now as a natural preservative.

Does salt kill bacteria?

Yes, salt can kill bacteria. Salt draws out water from bacteria and dehydrates them. The dehydration obviously kills them. So when there is no bacteria left to damage cells, healing is promoted.

Salt has been used as a disinfection for a long time. Salt helps disinfect the wounds and promotes healing. What happens is salt robs the injured cells of their water by osmosis. The dehydration makes it very hard for bacteria to survive in it.

Although salt can disinfect, it is only a temporary fix. You should go see a doctor for more serious wounds as salt can kill most of the bacteria, but not all.

Moreover, saline water is used to clean the wounds rather than salt in its crystalline form as first of all salt can sting, and secondly the salt crystals can be harsh for the skin.

Is taking too much salt bad for you?

Yes, taking too much salt in your diet is bad for you. An average human only needs about 1500 milligrams of sodium per day and if you consume more than this on a regular basis, you may face some immediate and long term side effects of it.

Although sodium and chloride both are essential for the body to maintain the electrolyte balance and proper nerve function, you should take it in moderation.

Some short term effects of taking too much salt are as follows.

  • Taking too much salt can lead to water retention in your body. You may feel like your stomach is bloated and your hands, feet or face is puffy. You may even weigh more than before due to all the water weight.
  • It can also cause a rise in your blood pressure.
  • It can make you feel so thirsty because a lot of sodium can leave you dehydrated so you end up drinking a lot of water.
  • Your urine frequency may also increase because since the sodium will leave you dehydrated, you will be drinking a lot more water.

Find out more about the harmful effects of taking too much salt here.

Does salt have calories?

No, salt does not have any calories at all. If you add it to your food, the total calorie count of your food would not increase because of salt. 

Other FAQs about Salt that you may be interested in.

Does salt make you fat?

Does salt make you thirsty?

Does salt pork go bad?

Does salt put out fire?


In this brief guide, we answered the question “Does salt make meat tough?” and discussed why salt is used as a preservative. We also discussed whether salt can kill bacteria or not. We  discussed the health implication of eating too much salt and mentioned if salt has calories.


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!