Taking Stock Of The Many Blessings
Fry the trim in a thick bottomed skillet with small amount of oil until lightly browned. Add one carrot, 2 stalks of celery and a coarse cut onion and continue to fry until the vegetables brown. Add 2 quarts/2 l of water, bring to a boil and simmer for a minimum of two hours.
Strain and clarify as explained here. This is an unsalted, full bodied, rich consommé that can be seasoned and utilized as a simple jus or in any recipe that calls for stock.
What Does It Taste Like
As an effect of the drying procedure, the dry-aged beef’s flavor becomes more intense and rich, especially when left to dry for more than 30 days. This dry-age change in taste is a significant reason why people prefer these types of aged meat. An appropriately dry-aged beef will have a buttery and tender texture and beefier flavor.
The Ultimate Steak: Dry
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THE BUDGET SETUP
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The Definition Of Aging
DRY AGING THE ART OF MEAT MATURING
Beef needs aging. And aging needs time. Dry Aging translated to mature dry is THE traditional way of aging meat to produce an extraordinary tender and intensive flavour. A technique, many decades old, through which beef reaches the highest possible grade.The pleasure associated with dry-aged meat is like nothing you have ever tasted before. The texture cannot be compared to an ordinary piece of meat. So no wonder dry-aged beef is renowned by foodies as the king of meats on the steak menu.
Selecting Meat To Age
What cut of meat should I buy for aging?
To age meat properly, you need to choose a large piece that is best cooked with quick cooking methods. This makes the standard steakhouse cutsthe New York strip, the rib steak, and the porterhousethe ideal cuts for aging. The easiest to find whole is the rib steak, which is what you get when you cut a prime rib between the bone into individual steaks.
What’s the minimum size I’ll need to buy for proper aging? Can I age an individual steak?
Nope, unfortunately, you can’t age individual steaks. You can wrap them in cheesecloth or paper towels, set them on a rack, and leave them in the fridge for about a week, but during that time, no detectable level of texture or flavor changes will take place. Try to age them even longer, and *, here’s what you get:
*In my experience, this can happen when the cheesecloth or paper towel holds moisture against the meat and you don’t have enough ventilation.
The meat is so dried out as to be completely inedible. After trimming away the desiccated and slightly moldy bits , I was left with a sliver of meat about a half centimeter thick. It was impossible to cook to anything lower than well-done, making my effective yield a big fat zero.
The simple truth is that in order to dry-age, you need larger cuts of meat, and you need to age them in open air.
So, of the larger cuts of meat, what should I look for?
Rib sections come in several different forms, each with its own number designation.
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How Long Does It Take To Dry Age Beef
The length of time you dry age your beef depends on your tastes and your patience. An easy guide is:
- 2 to 4 weeks if your goal is increased tenderness
- 4 to 6 weeks for that spectacular dry-age flavour
- 6 to 8 weeks if youre a fan of a more funky, aged flavour
- Longer if you really want to get into the blue-cheese zone
How To Cook A Dry
Dry aging beef is an intensive process with a high cost and effort to give you a distinctive steak experience. High-end steakhouses know how to handle these high dollar cuts, but if you’re dry aging at home or bringing a dry-aged steak home from the butcher, can you prepare it in a way that brings out the flavors even more? The good news is there are a few different ways to cook a dry-aged steak and they’re fairly simple to let the dry aged beef flavors really shine.
One method Chef Perry Pollaci recommends is searing the steak in cast iron and basting it with butter. On the other hand, Gallaghers Steakhouse in New York uses hickory coals, reports Kat Thompson on Thrillist. Either way, take it easy on the heat and avoid overcooking so you can enjoy the intense beef flavors and tenderness you can only get from a dry-aged steak.
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How Dry Aging Makes Steaks Taste Better
Dry aging can take a good steak to great. Just like time can enhance the flavor and experience of wine or cheese, it can work magic on meat, too.
When a steak has been expertly dry-aged, it takes on a deeper flavor that emphasizes the beef kind of like what happens when you reduce a stock and intensify the flavor. The texture of the beef becomes more tender, so it’s easier to sink your teeth into and might feel like it’s melting in your mouth. You might even pick up a bit of a welcome “funk,” especially on a cut of meat that’s been aged longer than 30 days, according to The Daily Meal.
During the dry aging process, collagen breaks down. This is key, because collagen is the material that holds fibers together and it also makes meat “toughen while cooking,” The Daily Meal reports. Meat flavors also become more concentrated after dry aging removes water within tissues.
Whats The Ideal Time To Dry
The ideal length of time for dry-aging meat really comes down to individual taste. For Flannery, the sweet spot is around 30 to 35 days. For retail customers, we go 35 days, but for restaurant customers we go 18 to 20, she says. Thats because in the restaurant industry, if a diner isnt familiar with dry-aged beef, their first reaction might be to think that something is off.
Pandel says he likes meat thats been aged around 45 days. You can tell its been aged, but its not unpleasant, he says. Weve gone further. In running a steakhouse its personal preference. Some folks like it really funky, but for some people its too gnarly.
And the longer you go, the funkier the flavor will get. Dry-aged meat does have a unique smell and flavor. Funky is a good way to describe it, she says. Its a more rich flavor up until the 30-day point. When you go farther than that, and if you go really far out, like 60 to 90 days, you develop a serious blue cheese funk to it. It will smell remarkably like blue cheese.
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Look At Any Steakhouse Menu And Dry
If youve heard the term dry-aged beef before, you probably associate it with a high price tag on a steakhouse menu. Dry-aged steaks are always pricier than the rest of the steaks, so it stands to reason they must taste better, right? Unfortunately, its not as cut and dry as that dry-aged steaks taste different, but whether theyre worth the hefty price tag is up to your taste buds.
The Dry Aging Set Up:
THE FRIDGE: Youll need a dedicated fridge for your dry aging. When I say dedicated, I mean it. Do not store any overflow items requiring refrigeration in here- no beer, no birthday cakes, no freshly harvested deer quarters. Youre trying to create and maintain an ideal microclimate for your beef to get funky. Protect your atmosphere! Further, sharing the space with other items may lead to cross contamination of flavor profiles which manifest in the fat.
I chose the 8.6 cubic feet Edgestar model, because its large enough for me to have a starter piece, plus 2-3 additional pieces aging at one time. It seemed to me that any smaller model would not allow me enough space to have a reasonable selection actively aging. And if youre going to spend the money, then give yourself the extra space. Also take note to make sure the interior widths arent too narrow the pieces of meat youll be aging are wide and will need extra room for air flow around the edges. Conversely, a fridge that is too large may have more trouble with humidity levels. Youll notice this unit also has wire shelves youll need these to make sure airflow is sufficient.
Be sure to disinfect your fridge before you use it for the first time I used a water/bleach mixture to wipe down all internal surfaces.
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Things To Know About Dry
If you have never tried a dry-aged steak before, there are a few things you need to know about them.
It isnt individual cuts of steak that are aged, but a whole part that is aged and the steaks cut from that whole.
The longer a piece of beef is aged the more depth of flavor it will develop.
The aging process uses the natural enzymes within the meat to break down the connective tissues in the meat itself which will make it more tender.
This same process removes moisture from the meat and allows the lipids within the muscle to break down.
A dry-aged steak will be a deep burgundy, nearly purple color.
Cuts that have been properly dry-aged for 30 to 42 days will be less tender than a steak dry-aged longer, however, they will be at peak beef flavor, providing a buttery and roast-beefy taste when properly cooked.
Any beef that has been aged for 45 days and up will begin to develop a gamey-nutty flavor with the supercharged beef.
Beef that has been aged for 90 days or longer will develop a crust that is very similar to the rind on a cheese. This is a good thing. It will also establish a flavor similar to bleu cheese thanks to the same types of bacteria used in the production of said cheese.
If you have never experienced a dry-aged steak before, it can be better to start slow. Try a steak that has been aged between 30 and 42 days. That way you can enjoy maximum beef flavor before things get too funky.
A Brief History Of Beef
Dry aging beef has always been a niche process, and butchers who wanted the improved quality of dry aged beef were able to age the beef in much different scenarios than are available in todays world. Years ago, beef processing plants would only sell whole beef, either in halves or quarters, and this is how the beef would be delivered to the butchers. The plants would process the beef, and then transport it to the butchers in a truck stacked like cordwood. If you have any old butcher shops in your neighborhood, you might have noticed that at the receiving door, there is a rail extending outside the building. This was to facilitate putting the beef quarters on wheels that could then roll right into the butcher shop.
Now if you were one of those butchers who dry aged, you were in hog heaven. The dry aging process is a destructive one parts of the meat that are exposed to the open air must be trimmed once the dry aging is complete. Because of this, the most ideal condition for dry aging beef is to receive the beef in quarters. Youve got the bones acting as a protection on one side, and a thick layer of fat on the other side.
Moving from dry aging whole quarters to smaller beef primals does not change the beneficial effects of dry aged beef, but it does increase the waste factor. As the smaller primals, they will shrink faster, because there is a smaller surface area to size ratio.
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Mold Is Gooddepending On The Color
Mold in dry aging is like terroir. In winemaking, terroir refers to the hyperlocal environmental conditions that form the unique flavor and aroma profiles in the wines. So each region, sometimes down to the different vineyard plots, has its own unique terroir.
The mold in your fridge will be influenced by what is locally present in the atmosphere where you live. For example even though CAB in Ohio got their starter meat from New Jersey, it will have evolved over time to account for the local bacteria that can be found there. Not to mention the bacteria on the various humans handling the meat and opening the door. My fridge will be another evolution of that mold again, with a Texas twist being added into the Ohio hybrid. This is also the reason you want to make sure not to put any additional items in your dry aging fridge, and to keep the door closed as much as possible.
What Kind Of Steak Can You Dry Age At Home
This is pretty important. You SHOULD NOT age individually cut steaks . Technically speaking you CAN age individually cut steaks, but its a colossal waste, and youre foolish for undertaking it. Your meat will shrink vastly in size as it loses water through the aging process. When you combine the amount of rind trimming that needs to occur along with the smaller size, youll be left with barely a sliver of a steak.
What you SHOULD be dry aging are subprimals or larger whole muscles. For example, a strip loin shell , or a 107/109 rib . It doesnt matter whether it is grain or grass fed thats just a case of personal preference. You want to look for meat that is on the bone, not because it tastes better, but because you can cut the bone away during trimming and not lose any meat. If you keep reading, Ill explain why you cut the bone away, rather than cook the meat on the bone.
The quality of the meat also matters. You need to use meat with a minimum degree of marbling, Choice grade or higher, and steer clear from overly-lean cuts . Lean or lower grade meat does not develop any significant intensification of flavor, because the marbling is slight. Fat equals flavor, and so the absence of fat means youre lacking the taste foundation which you need to build on.
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We’re Steaklovers Like You
SteakAger was founded for a simple reason: an amazing dry-aged steak should be accessible. And fun. Tired of shelling out the big bucks for a once-a-year, steak-worthy occasion, we took the bull by the horns and designed an easy and affordable way to enjoy delicious, dry-aged steaks at home, whenever we want. Had a great Tuesday? A bunch of buddies are over for a socially distanced BBQ and some football? Steaks on your grill will never be any better.
What Is Dry Aging
An unsexy way to explain it is that dry-aging, in a nutshell, is a controlled decay process, says Katie Flannery, butcher and COO at Flannery Beef. Youre exposing the subprimals to oxygen, which allows natural enzymes within the meat work, she says. Theyre aerobic bacteria, so they need oxygen to survive. They come alive and start breaking down the molecular bonds of meat. This, in turn, alters the flavor and texture of the cut.
What dry aging looks like is literally a room full of moldy carcasses. In the dry-aging process, meat hangs in a humidity-controlled environment in a way that exposes all of its sides with unimpeded airflow around the entire cut. Then theres the good mold that finds its way onto steaks, which will slowly start to break down and increase the amount of evaporation, says Chris Pandel, executive chef at Swift and Sons in Chicago. Youre puling moisture from the meats over time. As that happens the mold will extend its life and grow. Its like the mold on blue cheeseits good mold not bad mold.
Of course, before that slab of beef makes it to your plate, all of the mold will be trimmed away, leaving just tenderized, funky, delicious meat, Pandel says. He describes the flavor of dry-aged meat as having a nuttiness to it that you wont get in a wet-aged steak. Likewise, itll be more tender and have a different mouthfeel.
Steak from Pandels Swift & Sons Photo: Courtesy of Swift & Sons
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Bring On The Funk: Comparing 30 45 And 60
This might be a first: I was disappointed that my food wasnt too funky.
In February, I joined the in-house butchering team at the Gaslamp Quarters Lou & Mickeys, led by executive chef Nathan Mantyla, on a quest to compare the flavor and texture of beef thats been dry-aged for 30, 45 and 60 days.
Dry-aged beef is one of the meatiest trends at San Diego steakhouses today, with the costly, tender and beefier steaks considered to be a premium experience. Its a rarity that a restaurant has the resources to invest in its own dry-aging room among the few places in town to have one are Little Italys Born & Raised, Sycuan Casino Resorts new Bull and Bourbon steakhouse and Barona Resort & Casinos Barona Oaks Steakhouse.
For meat eaters, dry-aged beef is supposed to be a foray into funkitude. Akin to pungent, washed-rind French cheeses that have a brine-induced bacteria-laden outer coating, what gives dry-aged beef its signature scent is the nasty-sounding moldy crust that forms on the exterior during the aging process. Essentially, the meat is decomposing.
Yes, actually. Dry aging in a temperature- and humidity-controlled room draws moisture from the beef and breaks down the meats collagen, leaving it more tender and with a more concentrated flavor. The fat only gets richer. And that fungal crust? Forget the unappetizing images in your head: Its cut off before cooking.