Is Aged Steak Better
All fresh beef is aged for at least few days and up to several weeks to allow enzymes naturally present in the meat to break down the muscle tissue, resulting in improved texture and flavor. These days, most beef is aged in plastic shrink-wrapa process known as wet-aging.
Are Ruths Chris steaks dry aged?
And because classic filet mignon is boneless, it’s not dry-aged, a process that requires a layer of bone and fat to protect the meat from bacteria. Steakhouses pride themselves on searing steaks at temperatures of 900 degrees and up, topping out in our informal survey at an infernal 1,800 degrees at Ruth’s Chris.
How Long Can You Wet Age Steaks
Wet aging is a relatively new way of aging beef cuts. It has been made possible by the invention of refrigerators and plastic wraps. Not all cuts of beef are suitable for wet aging, as the tougher cuts do not really benefit from the process. But how long can you wet age steaks at home?
Typically, ribeyes, strip steaks, T-bones, filets, and sirloin steaks undergo a wet or dry aging process.
The wet aging process can last for between 4 and 6 weeks. This is dependent on how long the meat is in storage between slaughter and sale to the consumer or butcher.
Some butchers will leave the steaks in their refrigerator for longer to allow the meat to age further.
This process is cheaper than dry aging steaks for the manufacturer. This is because the steak does not need as much monitoring or storing before sale. Wet aged beef is said to taste more acidic and rarer than dry aged beef.
How Do You Dry Age A Ribeye At Home
Set your cut of beef on top of the wire rack. Then, slide the tray, rack, and beef into the fridge and wait. Wait 2-4 weeks if you’re only looking for added tenderness, 4-6 weeks for that famous dry-aged taste, and 6-8 weeks if you’re looking to develop some seriously funky aromas and flavors.
Can I wet age beef at home?
Wet aging is simple: Put your beef in a Cryovac bag, and let it sit on the shelf for a few weeks. Tell your customers that it’s aged sell it at a premium. The problem is that wet-aging is nothing like dry-aging.
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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.
Effect Of Aging On Beef Flavor And Tenderness
Aging or “ripening” of beef is simply holding a carcass or wholesale cuts at refrigerated temperatures to allow “natural processes” to improve flavor and tenderness.
The muscle of beef, and of other meat animals, undergoes progressive changes after slaughter that affect tenderness of the cooked product. First, muscle goes into rigor, a shortening and stiffening process. Rigor generally lasts for a few hours up to one or two days. During this period, the meat will be least tender if cooked. After the rigor process, muscle undergoes changes that result in a gradual improvement in tenderness.
While muscle is undergoing changes associated with tenderness, chemical breakdown of certain muscle and fat constituents occurs, resulting in a more intense flavor and aroma. In general, these changes in flavor and aroma are desirable to most consumers. However, undesirable flavors and aromas can develop during aging due mainly to the effects of microbial growth, rancidity of the fat and adsorption of off-odors if present in the chill room.
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How Does Dry Aging Work
The truth is, all meat benefits from some amount of aging. Most of the beef we consume has been wet aged a process where the meat has been sealed in a bag to retain its moisture. The chemical transformation that happens to beef occurs regardless of whether the meat is left outside of a bag to dry age or inside a vacuum-sealed bag to wet age. The difference comes in the flavour.
When you dry age beef, two things happen:
1. Moisture is pulled out of the meat. The fat portion retains more water than the lean portion, causing the lean muscle to shrink around the fat the fat becomes more pronounced, thus giving the beef more flavour.
2. Bacteria formed in the aging process produces a robust flavour profile that is highly desirable. Its like cheese, says Aaron. Its very rich and intense. In fact, if you look at a rib of dry aged beef, you can see veins similar to those found in blue cheese working their way through. Both the mold, and the flavour profiles, are indeed similar.
Fat Content And Beef Grade
The dry aging process typically requires beef with ample marbling to help to ensure and finished products with consistent flavor and juiciness. Carcasses with Modest or Moderate marbling, representing the upper two-thirds US Choice grade commonly referred to as Top Choice in the US beef industry, and carcasses that represented the entire range of Slight marbling for the US Select grade . Dry aging is commonly done on products that are of higher quality grades, upper two-thirds USDA Choice and USDA Prime, whereas limiting loin selection to marbling levels to low Choice and Select within the A maturity . The significant higher rates were in USDA Choice ribeye steaks for juiciness, overall palatability and overall like than USDA Select ribeye steaks .
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Can You Eat The Bark Of Dry
The bark of dry-aged beef, also formally known as the pellicle, is essentially a waste. Its scraped off the edible parts of the meat, although its also free from bacteria and bad mold like the used meat due to UV-C light protection.
Its just that nobody knows what to do with it. Fortunately, you can still eat these gross trimmings of the meat. You just need a meat grinder to turn them into steak burgers.
Depending on the aging setup, the pellicle can be to ¼ deep, which gives you enough for several burger patties. Just add several pounds of ground chuck to the fatty bark.
The ratio should be 4:1. The pellicle has a strong, flavorful taste, and its best mixed with some ground chuck so that everything is balanced out well.
What Meat Can You Dry Age
You can dry age any meat. Beef is the most popular cut to dry age for two reasons:
The high fat content of beef prevents it from drying out during long periods in the refrigerator. Some beef cuts are very large so they can be dry aged for a longer period of time and get the benefits of the deep flavors that emerge.
Other types of meat like pork and poultry, can also be dry aged. But because they tend to be smaller and not as fatty, they will dry out faster and can’t be dry aged for quite as long. The flavors that come from dry-aging may not be as robust with these types of meats.
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Should You Salt A Steak Overnight
The moral of the tale is to salt your meat for at least 40 minutes and up to overnight before cooking it if you have the time. If you dont have 40 minutes to spare, its best to season the meat right before you cook it. Cooking the steak for anything between three and forty minutes after it has been salted is the worst possible method.
Which Cuts Work Best
Though both Poll and Pollaci said the cut is arbitrary — and mostly up to the preference of the diner — the most common cuts used for dry-aging are ribeye, sirloin, and New York strip.
These cuts are chosen because they tend to come from parts of the cow where muscles arent used frequently, like the ribs and the loin area, resulting in tender meat as opposed to tougher muscle. Its good to note that larger cuts, specifically primal cuts, are considered the best candidates. A primal cut, for those of us who aren’t butchers, is a larger cut of beef that has yet to be separated into individual steaks . Those big cuts can can handle aging much longer.
At Gallaghers, rib steak, sirloin, porterhouse, and filet mignon are all on the menu and dry-aged in their 52nd street-facing meat locker.
Castaway carries similar cuts, including a ribeye, New York, and tomahawk. Though Pollaci recognizes that some cuts fare better than others in the dry-aging arena, hes had a lot of fun experimenting with different cuts of meat, like brisket.
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A Few Things To Remember
Dry ageing beef using professional equipment will deliver a different result to your home setup, so dont expect your efforts to match that of your favourite steak house or butcher just yet.
Also be wary of meat spoilage. If you think your efforts have failed and the meat spoiled instead of aged, dont push it further.
Fabrication Subprimals And Steaks For Dry Aged Beef
There are various opinions on dry aging procedures and purveyors of such products are passionate about their programs. The most purveyors dry-aged beef carcasses or primal cuts at least 21 days or longer depending on desired flavor profile. Generally after the animal is slaughtered and cleaned, the carcass is halved and either the 2 sides are hung in a cold room at 2 °C for 21 d. Then, after 21 d each side is divided into the primal cuts . The primal cuts are then cut into roasts , or cut for stewing beef or minced. After hung or place the loin and rib for a further 7 d and at 28 d, cut into rib-roasts and steaks . The steaks are then packaged and are ready for sale.
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Letting The Beef Age For Some Time
Time is one of the most crucial steps. The time you leave the meat in the refrigerator determines how tender and moist it turns out. So, how long to wet age beef?
The meat ageing time can range from 21 days to 42 days. You can even go for as long as 60 days if you like. Youll only run the risk of spoilage if the vacuum seal wasnt intact.
The large chunks of meat need time to let the enzymes do their job. The longer you let the beef sit, the more dramatic change youll get.
A sweet spot is around 28 or 35 days. Wet ageing doesnt affect the flavour drastically. Its primarily for the texture of the meat. And by that time, the beef is melt-in-your-mouth tender. So, mission accomplished!
Can You Age Beef At Home
Now that you have an idea of how dry and wet-aging work, youre probably thinking of pulling a DIY to try the activity at home. Why pay a tremendous amount of money to have it aged for you when you could just wing it on your own, right?
Yes, you can age beef at home. As long as youre willing to put in the work and discipline in maintaining aging conditions, then youre good to go.
That means you have to invest in certain tools and a dedicated meat aging refrigerator. Are you still up for it?
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Good Things Take Time
Dry aged meat is typically not sold in most supermarkets becauseit takes much more time and effort, plus the resultant reduction inmoisture content would reduce the sale price of the meat in avac-pack on their meat counters as they can earn more for wet agedmeat where customers will be unaware that the meat they are payingfor has a much higher moisture content and therefore contains morewater. In some cases up to 30 per cent of the meat bought from asupermarket vac-pack is water.
There is an opinion among some that supermarkets are moreconcerned with weight of the meat rather than the quality offlavour that comes from dry aging. Wet aging also brings nooxidation of fat, which means there is no development of what areregarded as the desirable flavours that come from only dryaging.
What Does Dry Aging Do To The Meat
Here’s the slightly scientific part. Dry aging means the meat isexposed to the air after already being hung previously at theabattoir for perhaps three or four weeks. At Farmison & Co itis then hung on the bone for a further specific time at acontrolled temperature, humidity and air quality. This is the triedand trusted traditional way in which meat ages naturally.
This process provides dehydration that sees moisture evaporatefrom the muscle and the resulting desiccation through oxidation offat and other fat-like molecules creates a greater concentrationand saturation of the natural meat flavour and taste. The meat’snatural enzymes break down the connective tissue in the muscle thatbrings about greater tenderness. In short, your taste experience isenhanced massively as you are consuming extremely pure meatflavours.
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How Long To Dry Age Beef
Dry age beef between 14 and 60 days. Beef that is aged for less than 14 days won’t take on additional flavor. Once that point is passed, new flavors start to develop. After 14 days, the length of dry-aging really depends on your personal preference. Some restaurateurs identify 28 days as the sweet spot for dry-aging, but not everyone agrees. Some prefer beef aged for 30 days or even 45. Most people seem to agree that beef aged for more than 60 days is unpleasantly pungent.
The specific temperature, air flow, and humidity of your particular dry-aging setup may lead to different results. And the quality of the beef you buy may change the ultimate flavor. So you may find that your setup delivers the flavors you want at 26 days, or 34 days. There’s really no way to tell until you cook and taste the beef. For this reason, you may want to err on the side of fewer days for your first try.
Dry-aging beef is more of an art than a science. Don’t get discouraged if your initial efforts don’t result in the flavors you were hoping for.
Check the steak — very briefly every few days — to make sure there isn’t any out-of-control mold or rotting going on. A funky smell and small amount of mold is normal .
Why Is Beef Aged
If you didnt know yet, fresh beef meat tastes like metal. It doesnt have any of the aroma or taste we like about it right after the kill. Thats one of the main reasons its stored and left to age after slaughter.
Another reason is tenderness. It is an essential factor in steaks. The meat industry has even developed the Warner-Bratzler shear force test, a measuring method for evaluating the texture of aged beef.
We think we can all agree that tender and tasty meat is what we pay these expensive restaurants for. Since beef aging is a craft that takes some effort and time, you now get why steaks could cost up to a months rent sometimes.
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What Does Aged Beef Smell Like
Speaking of aromas and our powerful noses, youre probably wondering what exactly should aged beef smell like. Yes, we got the feeling that you wanted to know a little deeper than it should smell like raw beef.
Youre also probably wondering whether aged meat should even smell at all. Well, dry-aged beef shouldnt smell but should carry a distinctive scent that tickles your taste buds more than your nose.
Dry-aged beef has an earthy nutty smell, much like buttered popcorn and tender profile.
Whats So Good About Dry Aged Beef
Its luxurious, it can be costly and for some first-timers, the taste can take some getting used to. But for hobby cooks, meat lovers and grill aficionados, dry aged beef is one of the ultimate steak experiences. But whats so good about dry aged beef?
Read on to learn what dry aging is, how it works, the benefits of eating dry aged beef and how to enjoy the ultimate high-end steakhouse experience at home.
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Myths About Dry Ageing Steak At Home
Many believe that dry-aging steak is impossible because its not cold enough.
This is false, have you heard of the Himalayan Ice Man? He does just fine at freezing temperatures that are much colder than your fridge will be.
The second myth is that dry-aging steak at home will result in freezer burn. This can happen if you leave it for too long, however, in most cases, 30 80 days is the ideal time frame for dry aging steak at home.
The third myth is that you need a humidity-controlled room to age steak effectively.
This too is false because all you need to do is wrap it up and seal it away from air and let the water evaporate off naturally.
You can take extra steps to avoid freezer burn by wrapping the steak up in saran wrap or even better, cheesecloth, as tightly as possible.
This blocks out any humidity and keeps the steak fresh longer.
Another myth is that dry-aging steak at home wont make a difference because you wont be able to age it long enough.
This is very short-sighted thinking because after aging a steak properly, even for 30 days, youll not only notice a more intense flavor but also a significantly reduced cooking loss and overall improved yield.