How To Shop For Dry
Dry-aged beef is expensive, so you should know what youre buying. For our money, the sweet spot for dry aging is four to six weeks. Thats when the meat will have become significantly more tender, with richer, beefier flavors. But if youre up for the heightened gamy, cheesy flavors of more advanced dry aging, look for meat thats been aged for more than six weeks. As for steak dry-aged for just two weekswhy bother? Youll be paying a lot more for a product thats barely different from steak that hasnt been dry-aged.
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.
Dry Age Steak Vs Normal Steak
Dry-aged beef can be highly marbled, and the flavor may be subtler than other cuts because the fat which slowly melts during cooking coats your tongue with lots of flavorful juices.
Dry aging also results in more tender meat due to moisture loss.
The downside is that this process takes a long time sometimes up to 4 weeks, whereas normal beef is typically aged for one or two days.
Dry-aged meat can be pricey and depending on the type of steak you are looking at, it could cost up to $20 more per pound than a regular cut.
However, some people say thats worth every penny.
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Whats The Deal With Dry Aging
When you walk into Peter Augustuss butchery in New Farm, a craft butcher in Brisbane, Australia, youll see an impressive dry aging cabinet that looks like it belongs in a science lab. This is the original dry aging process, how steaks were stored, says head butcher Aaron.
In fact, dry aging is a process that goes back thousands of years. Before the invention of refrigeration, dry aging was one of the only methods of keeping meat fresh, other than smoking, brining or pickling. It is a time honoured technique that both enhances the flavour and tenderness of meat.
In essence, dry aging is when you take a piece of meat and put it into a controlled open-air environment to go through a flavour transformation. By exposing the meat to air, moisture is pulled out and the natural enzymes in the beef break the muscles down slowly over time, making it more tender. When the surface of the beef dries, it creates a crust over the muscle, but whats inside stays moist and red.
The meat is also subjected to other environmental impacts during the aging process various molds and yeasts that land on it all of which play a role in the final flavour profile of the beef. The longer you age it, the stronger it gets.
We normally dry age our meat for 40 to 50 days. Two months is the maximum well go, says Aaron. After that the flavour can become much too intense.
How Long To Age
Our friends over at the artofmanliness did an amazing article on the subject. While the most common timeframe for a steak to be dry-aged is 30 days, a handful of very high-end restaurants can age up to 240 days. A steak aged this long is not for everyone since it has a very funky flavor and its also very expensive, so it is for someone who enjoys the intense beef flavor. For that, we recommend sticking to 30 days aged beef because it is the most commonly requested age in steak.
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Why Dry Aged Beef Is So Special
The flavor notes are likely going to be imported by the different molds and yeasts that are going to land on the meat and start populating it. Molds like Penicillium nalgiovense and Penicillium roqueforti are likely to be found.
Dry aging requires strict control over the temperature because freezing will stop all the bacterial activity, while high temperature causes spoilage. Humidity and air movement are factor key as well to get a uniform migration of the moisture out of the meat.
Why Is It Called Dry Aging
Dry Aging refers to exposing the meat to oxygen in a controlled environment. In such an environment, the water evaporates from the meat, so it matures dry. The process takes place in a specially designed dry aging cabinet where all relevant aspects of the environment, such as airflow, humidity, temperature, and bacteria levels, are monitored.
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Dry Aged Vs Wet Aged Ribeye Steak
First things first: This post is not a how-to or a guide to dry aging a whole ribeye.
Instead, here we will see how to prepare a ribeye steak after dry aging it, as well as some differences between dry aged vs wet aged ribeye steaks all through the eyes of an experienced and professional pitmaster.
When your ribeye is done dry aging , the obvious first step is removing the dry aging bag. This will generally be a quick process, even when the plastic seems to be stuck to the meat.
Next up, youll want to trim down the waxy layer that has formed on the outer side of the ribeye. Its about 1/8th of an inch thick, and is quite tough, so it might take some time to complete this task. Dont forget to remove this layer from the fat cap as well!
Finally, once this tough skin is gone, you can go ahead and divide the larger cut into individual steaks. You can cut these as thick or thin as you like, according to preference!
Dry aging a steak gives you a number of advantages over wet aging. The beefy flavor and smell of the meat is amplified and enriched with a lot of earthy tones. The color of the meat will also turn darker and richer. The beef will retain its tenderness.
On the other hand, the meat will lose a significant proportion of its volume- but this negative is completely outweighed by the fact that you now have tripled or even quadrupled the value of your meat.
Wet Age Vs Dry Age Beef
Your meat is OUTRAGEOUS!. I am going to order more now!Norwich. NY, customer who purchased Dry Aged Prime Strip Steaks
All too often you will read a menu or an ad or a review saying the beef is aged 21 days or our beef is wet aged for 30 days or even, their beef is dry aged up to 6 weeks. And the impression in some cases is that it is all the same thing. Well, nothing could be further from the truth.
As you may have already read in our section on Dry Aged Beef, we lose upwards of 50% of the original weight of a muscle when we dry age it. The humidity loss after thirty days is 12-15% and after 45 days is 15-20%. The trim loss, is another 30-35%. For this reason Dry Aged Beef is usually about 30-50% more expensive per steak than wet aged. So when you see the word aged followed by a given amount of time, and there is no reference to wet or dry, you can safely surmise that this is wet aged beef. If someone was dry aging and losing 50% and charging a whole lot more, they would definitely make sure to emphasize that aspect.
At DeBragga.com, we take great pride and are renowned for the aging we do, Wet aging and Dry aging. Our reputation is based entirely on willingness to do the right things to make sure you get meats like you cannot get anywhere else.
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Is Dry Aged Beef Really Better Than The Alternatives
Those who enjoy meat are really starting to better understand the benefits of dry aged beef. When you first open up a packet of dry aged beef, youll probably notice a distinctively intense, rich smell. Once cooked, the molecules inside the beef begin to wake up with heat and that smell wafts up to our noses and senses. This is where dry aging takes a step beyond cooking just a regular steak.
Clint, head butcher at Peter Augustus Camp Hill location, says its all about the texture. Aged meat is super tender, fantastically tender. The meat is softer, making it easier to cut through, and easier to digest.
And the taste? Its hard to describe. says Aaron. It has a richer, nuttier, beefier flavour. Its almost cheese-like.
This Is What Makes Dry
Think about it too hard, and you might be a little grossed out by dry aged beef. When it comes down to it, the dry aging process is a very well controlled decay. If you’ve ever let meat sit a little too long in your fridge, you might wonder why dry-aged beef doesn’t suffer the same end. After all, what’s the difference between a steak hanging out in your fridge for a few weeks rather than the butcher’s?
Dry-aged beef is safe to eat because it’s created with a controlled process. Butchers and steakhouses age their beef in refrigerators that are free of harmful bacteria and keep cold, dry air circulating. Unlike a steak you might defrost on a plate in your refrigerator and forget about until it’s gone bad, butchers hang meat during the dry aging process so every surface of the beef is exposed to dry air that forms a protective crust. The lack of moisture makes it tough for spoil causing bacteria that can make meat go bad.
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How Does Dry Aged Beef Not Spoil
The key to dry aging is consistency controlling the decomposition so that the meat ages, not rots. It all comes down to three key factors: air flow to help form a crust, humidity control to slow down the migration of moisture and keep natural juices from running out, and temperature control to stop the meat from spoiling.
The meat is also protected by the bones and fat which is why, if youre dry aging at home, its important to choose high quality large cuts with the bones still in. Once the aging process is completed, the dried-out layers around the exterior are cut away, leaving you with a beautifully aged, edible dark-red piece of meat.
How Does Dry Aging Work
The balance between airflow, temperature, and humidity allows processes such as Oxidation, Enzymatic breakdown, and Bacterial activity to be activated. These naturally-occurring processes change the taste and texture of the meat, making it more tender.
The key to the process is to hang each piece of meat so that air can reach every surface. In this manner, the mold creates a fine even layer across the surface. Like with fine cheeses, the mold is perfectly harmless to humans. In fact, the mold that forms on dry-aged beef dehydrates the meat and improves its flavor. The more water the mold removes, the better it grows, and the more concentrated the meats flavor becomes.
beef dry aging process
Once the process is complete, it is essential to properly trim any surfaces exposed to the air. At this point, it is worth mentioning that individually cut steaks should not be aged. Why? Because a steak cut will shrink in size in the aging process. Then you will be left with a small piece of meat after final trimming. For this reason, it is recommended to age only large pieces of meat .
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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.
Why We Go Through The Trouble
Dry aging used to be what we always did, prior to refrigeration meat was always hang in an open air environment. Nowadays, we are having a resurgence in the meat community, Those who enjoy meat are starting to better understand the benefits of dry aging. People are looking for this next level of eating experience and thats what dry aging can bring it is all about the complexity of the flavors.
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A True Labour Of Love
Dry aged beef may come with a bigger price tag, but the payoff is a flavour that is unmistakable and a texture that is vastly superior to wet aged beef. The benefits far outweigh the costs. Ultimately, dry aging is for those who are looking for a next level eating experience and thats what it can really bring to the table.
If you love steak but have never tried one thats been dry aged, this dry aged rump cap recipe might just inspire you.
Summary: Dry Aged Vs Wet Aged Steak
Aging beef tenderizes meat and enhances flavors. If youve had dry aged steak youll know how much of a difference it makes. Flavors are deeper and meat is more tender. Even tough cuts can be improved by aging. But high quality beef, like filets, get so tender you can cut them with a fork. It takes time and money but the result is better meat. There are two main ways to do it, dry aging and wet aging. Dry aging is the older technique. Its been used to age all sorts of meats and cheeses for centuries. Wet aging is a newer method that involves vacuum sealing in plastic bags. Both produce tender beef. So dry aged vs wet aged steak, which is better?
Dry aged beef is hung in the open air to dehydrate at a temperature just above freezing. This can also be done in a meat refrigerator. Its left to age for weeks or even months. The steak builds a thick, moldy coating thats cut away before cooking. Steakhouses often show off their dry aged steaks in glass cases so you can pick which one you want. Dry aging is a fantastic way to tenderize beef but should only be done by a professional. The process creates an earthy, nutty flavor. The longer its aged the more pungent the taste.
If you have any questions or comments about steak, email any time.
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Why Dry Aging Changes Texture And Flavor
As the beef ages, water evaporates out of it, which concentrates its flavor. Meanwhile, enzymes break down collagen and muscle protein, enhancing tenderness. The breakdown of protein and fat also generates a slew of new nutty, savory, and even desirably cheesy flavors and aromas that deepen and transform the beefs taste.
Overview Of Wet Aged Steak Vs Dry Aged Steak
Both processes enhance the taste and texture of the meat creating flavors that are very different. Ultimately, when it comes to eating a high quality cut of beef that has been dry aged properly there really is no competition. The steak is richer, tastier and more tender. At the end of the day, its a matter of personal preference to find the flavor you prefer.
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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.