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.
What Do You Need To Age Meat At Home
If youve decided to give dry-aging at home a try, you should first understand that its already a commitment. So you have to gather up a few things, which you will use only for this process.
You dont need a whole dry-aging room, luckily. You just need some small equipment to bring in good airflow and sustain manipulated rot.
Heres a mini-guide about the things you have to spend money on and how to choose the beef for home dry-aging:
What Cuts Should You Use To Dry Age Beef
You cant dry-age individual steaks youll be left disappointed when you have to trim them down to half-centimetre cuts and are left with a thin, well-done piece of beef charred on the grill.
You need to choose high-quality large cuts of beef, so rib roasts with the bones still in or whole rump caps, for example, are ideal. You also want a piece of beef with the thick fat cap still in place, which helps when you trim your aged piece of beef.
You May Like: Omaha Steaks Chicken Cordon Bleu Cooking Instructions
How Enzymes Affect Meat
Once meat is no longer alive, it will start to break down. This can go one of two ways. Bacteriand rotting. Er, no thanks. Or precise control of humidity, temperature and air movement to ensure it ages safely.
In optimal conditions, natural enzymes present in the meat will work to break down fats and glycogen into tasty amino acids, sugars, and fatty acids, helping the meat gradually develop a new complexity of flavors.
In fact, one amino acid created through dry-aging is glutamate as in monosodium glutamate which we all know is a powerful flavor. And in this case, its all natural.
Is Beef Aging Worth It
So now, weve broken down everything you need to know about aging beef. What do you think about what youve learned? Is beef aging worth it for you?
We think this tenderness and out-of-this-world taste produced in aging is enough reason for us to believe that beef aging is worth it. A process is indeed an art form we recommend you try at home.
Why settle for bland beef when you can let it age and turn it into a fancy steak or burger, right? We understand the issues with costs, but if its worth it, the price should no longer matter .
Also Check: Did Mcdonald’s Discontinue Egg White Delight
Choose & Prepare Meat
Choose a large cut of meat to dry age. Dry aging single steaks is not a great idea since the amount of waste would be much greater than the usable portion.
When dry aging a steak sanitation is very important. Always clean all surfaces with food safe sanitizing solutions prior to preparing the steak.
I prefer to trim any large pieces of fat off the outside of the steak. This gives the meat more surface area to breathe. The moisture from the steak will not permeate through the layer of fat. If you prefer to leave the fat on you can do so. Finally trim off any visible or accessible silver skin. You do not need to chase the silverskin deep into the meat, just trim what is visible.
Make sure the meat is not dry to the touch. This can happen if it is left out for too long . If the meat is damp you can proceed to the next step. If it is dry in any spots just brush it with some water.
Whats The Longest You Can Age A Steak
The following results mean, ribeye royalty gets 35 to 42 days of dry-aging. A pile of frites, accompanied by some béarnaise sauce, will give you your perfect steak. Some chefs, unfortunately, never have enough to satisfy their lusts. They ask, What happens to your beef at the end of if you age beef for 60 or 90 days?
Also Check: Omaha Steaks Dry Ice Disposal
What Happens To The Meat During The Aging Process
Whats happening, Poll and Kawa both told me, is that the enzymes in the meat are breaking down, resulting in a more tender, juicier steak with a much more concentrated flavor. There’s also some shrinkage.
Essentially, the water is coming out of the meat and its technically shrinking. The flavor of the meat is getting more and more intense as it gets denser in the dry-aging process, revealed Perry Pollaci, Cutthroat Kitchen champ and the executive chef at Castaway in Burbank, California.
There’s also often mold that forms on the meat. But that’s natural too, and while eating a hunk of meat that has mold on it might seem counterintuitive, it’s actually just a part of the maturation of flavors.
Think of it this way, Pollaci said, the meat is almost breaking itself down, so the natural enzymes are causing the muscle tissue to break down, which is going to make for a more tender and flavorful cut.
How Can You Tell If Dry
Its pretty challenging to tell whether the dry-aged beef is bad or not since, after all, a well-aged beef still went through a decomposition process. So we searched for the two determining factors in telling whether the dry-aged beef is bad or not.
Put your intuition to the test and check for the following characteristics in the suspected spoiled aged meat:
Also Check: Steak Of The Month Club Butchers Market
How Long Can I Age A Steak In The Fridge
We recommend letting the cut rest for at least 28 days or up to 75 days. This is because the longer the beef ages, the more complex and intense flavours it develops, therefore the tastier it gets. At 28-35 days subtle mushroom and umami flavors develop, from 45-75 days bold blue cheese notes will develop.
How To Age A Steak In The Refrigerator
Aging a steak in the refrigerator is as easy as four simple steps. Here is our guide on how to age a steak in the refrigerator. Steak Locker makes the process of dry aging steaks straightforward, and minimizes the risk associated with the dry age process. The Prime Rib or the whole rib, also known as the eye muscle and is the least utilized muscle in the cow. This makes its yield the most tender, it develops the most marbling and generates generous portions.
The purpose of dry aging is to maximize the flavors in your beef. During the dry aging process, the meat will lose some of its original weight. As your sub primal cut is dry aging, slowly dehydrating and losing water, it concentrates the flavor but also loses about 15-25% of its starting weight. This is predominantly the reason that this type of high-quality product costs at least 70% more than the non-dry aged product. However, it is worth it as it will reward you with the most tender and truly naturally flavorful beef, not possible without dry aging and made straightforward with our dry age refrigerator.
Don’t Miss: Frozen Steaks Delivered
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.
Wet Ageing Vs Dry Ageing
Wet ageing means letting the meat age in its juices. It doesnt include any addition of water to the meat. Its a simple process of allowing the meat to sit for some time in an airtight environment with a controlled temperature.
Wet-aged meat is a universal pick because it doesnt have that pungent flavour of dry-aged meat. The taste of wet-aged meat is mild and the texture is moist and tender.
On the other hand, dry-ageing meat is a more difficult technique to get premium quality meat. Its not typically done at home.
It works by oxidation of fat and bacterial action on the surface of the beef. This creates a funky, profound change in flavour. Dry-aged meat has a robust flavour thats not agreeable to everyone.
Recommended Reading: Pee Dee Steak House On 125 Menu
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
What Are The Common Mistakes To Avoid When Aging Beef At Home
Aging beef at home is challenging, no doubt. Doing it all on your own with self-made setups could be risky if youre not careful enough.
Aside from ensuring that the environment where you age your beef is squeaky clean, there are other precautionary measures you should take. From major mistakes to slight errors, here are what you should keep an eye out in aging beef at home:
Recommended Reading: Sam’s Club Philly Cheese Steak
Is There A Quick Way To Dry
Well sure, theres always a short-cut, but as youd expect, there will be some compromises.
If you rub steak with special ground-up rice called Koji , then leave it uncovered in the refrigerator for a few days, you end up with something surprisingly close to real dry-aged steak.
Were not the biggest fans of this method because tenderness one of the principal aims of dry-aging is not as good with Koji-rubbed meat as it will be with the dry-aging method described here. But in a pinch, if you only have 3 days, hey, could be worth a try.
Read more about how to shortcut the dry-aging process here with the Koji-rub method.
How Do You Wet Age Steaks
To wet age steaks, the beef is sealed in a vacuum packed bag. They remain refrigerated at a temperature of between 29 and 34 degrees Fahrenheit while in transit to market.
The steaks are packaged in their own juices, meaning there is an abundance of natural enzymes present. During this time period, the enzymes in the meat tenderize the steak.
These hard segments of connective tissue found within the steaks are broken down, making it easier to eat. These enzymes can continue to act on the steak tissue for at least 5 weeks, and potentially even longer.
This is done without losing weight through dehydration. This is the main benefit of wet aging over dry aging. The downside to this is that the meat is less flavorful as there is more fluid to dilute the intense meaty flavors.
Don’t Miss: Mcdonalds Steak Egg And Cheese Bagel Calories
If You Havent Tried It You Need To Taste Dry
You can occasionally buy aged beef from specialty butchers, or you can do it my favorite way: get three friends and head to a restaurant that specializes in dry aged beef and do an expensive comparison tasting.
Or make it yourself.
There are two types of aged beef, wet and dry. Both aging methods are designed to allow enzymes to tenderize the meat, but the methods are very different. A few hours after a steer is slaughtered, its muscles get stiff as rigor mortis sets in. This green beef is tough, dry, and not very tasty. It takes a few days for the muscles to relax and enzymes to kick in and begin to tenderize the meat. Enzymes are nanocooks in the words of food scientist Harold McGee, and they do what a professional cook does when cooking beef: they break down the proteins, amino acids, and other compounds, creating new compounds including glutamates, the source of the savoriness known as umami, which is the main flavor we look for when eating steak. As the beef ages, more interesting flavors emerge, and that is what the fuss is all about. But you cant age beef by just throwing it in the fridge and waiting for it to get tender. Oxygen and bacteria can mess it up.
What Is The Right Way To Cook A Dry
A dry-aged steak, including dry-aged ribeye and dry-aged striploin steak, are noticeably tastier and more tender than any other types of steak available on the market. Unsurprisingly, they need to be cooked in a specific way in order to ensure that you are able to savour them to the max. Here is what you need to know.
Don’t Miss: Seasoning For Ribeye
How Old Can You Age Steak
The fibers of beef must be aged for at least 14 days before enzymes can properly tenderize them, and the flavor of beef needs to be settled for at least 21 days before its flavor is complex. No amount of cheesecloth, or none at all, will make that happen in one week. The process of dry aging requires , and large, primal cuts.
How Do You Age A Meat Without It Going Bad
The key to aging meat without it going bad is strictly following the settings of the environment conditions cited earlier. The temperature, humidity, airflow, and sanitation guidelines control the moisture in the room that prevents harmful bacteria from growing and completely decaying meat.
If the room is too hot, the meat will spoil immediately, while if its too cold, aging stops as the water in the meat will freeze. Part of the process is also allowing for evaporation to take place.
In that case, you cant go below or above the required humidity level, or the beef wont age properly. The proper spacing between carcasses allowing for airflow is also the most responsible for bacteria growth.
Thats why you have to make sure there is proper ventilation in the room on top of the maintained temperature and humidity conditions. You dont want to waste meat, do you?
Recommended Reading: Seasonings For Ribeye Steak
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.
Should You Trim Aged Beef
If you dont want to eat gross meat parts, then yes, you should trim the beef after it has aged. You have to slice the bark off from the edible meat using a knife and stop where theres a difference in texture and color.
You should trim the dark parts until you see this pink interior, which is the best part of the aged meat. Just scrape off all the dark exterior of the beef and be careful not to trim the pink insides with it.
The longer the beef has been aged, the more dark parts therell be for you to trim. That is why they price aged beef high too little is left in even the largest cuts, especially after 30 days of maturity.
Recommended Reading: How Do I Track My Omaha Steaks Order
At What Temperature Do You Dry Age Beef
Beef is dry aged in a cold refrigerator. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association reports that dry-aging can be effective at temperatures between 32- and 39-degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature drops below the freezing temp for meat , the natural chemical processes that change the flavor of the meat won’t happen.
Turning The Beef While It Ages
After placing the beef in the refrigerator, its good to flip it over every week or so. Although this doesnt have a drastic influence on the ageing process, it lets you inspect the beef on a regular basis.
It allows you to detect any partially frozen parts in the beef. This sometimes happens due to a cold spot in the refrigerator. You can also make sure the cryovac bag is still intact.
Plus, flipping over the meat evens out the pressure on the bottom side of the heavy cut of meat. Doing this once every week should hold the best results.
Recommended Reading: Seasoning Steak Overnight