The Best Pieces Of Meat To Use
One of the most important parts about dry aging beef is using the right size cut. While you can age individually cut pieces, we do not recommend it. Its best to use large cuts because they will lose water due to dehydration.
Larger whole muscles are usually a safe bet. Examples of meats you could use include a strip loin shell or a large rib roast with at least three ribs.
Its also important for you to choose cuts with a thick exterior layer of fat. When you trim the exterior at the end of the process, youll only be cutting away chunks of fat. This prevents lots of unnecessary waste and allows you to enjoy your beef to the fullest.
The presence of fat is also important because it contributes to flavor. Avoid pieces that are too lean, as you wont have enough fat for a great-tasting finished product. Try to stick to USDA Prime cuts. This is the minimum amount of marbling youll need.
Another factor you should consider is whether or not the cut is on- or off-the-bone. If the cut is on-the-bone, you can easily cut away meat during trimming without losing any.
Here is our Recommendation: Prime Rib Roast or Beef Tenderloin
Can You Wet Age Beef At Home
If you have a vacuum-sealer, you may simply wet age slices of beef in your own house. In spite of the fact that it lacks the depth of flavor found in dry-aged beef, this technique tenderizes the meat without causing it to become less lean. As the beef matures, enzymes break down muscular tissue, resulting in a delicate cut of meat.
Why Its Important To Trim Dry
Untrimmed dry-aged meat is not a pretty thing. Desiccated, moldy, and withered, it takes some experience to understand that the good stuff is underneath!
This is why you need to make sure the sub-primal piece you start with has a good thick fat cap. It will be primarily the fat cap that loses moisture and protects the good meat, the fat cap that gets all dried out and cracked, and the fat cap which will be neatly trimmed away to leave you with a beautiful hunk of delicious, tender aged beef. Kind of like the ugly toad who turns into the handsome prince!
This is also why you want to choose a good-sized piece to start with. The larger the meat, and the lower the surface-area-to-volume ratio, the less dried out moldy stuff you have to throw out, and the more good stuff you keep and eat.
And word to the wise: dont trim away all the fat, leave a little fresh white fat on for self-basting juiciness and flavor.
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Can You Dry Age A Single Steak
Because desiccation can convert your steak into a tough black strip of dried flesh if you dry-age single steaks for an extended length of time, you should avoid dry-aging single steaks. Technically, you might be able to chop through all of that and save a slice of decent flesh from the middle, but the effort would be far less than it would be worth it.
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.
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Add Salt To Significantly Increase The Dry
Salt is the only seasoning that consistently and effectively penetrates through food, adding flavor, tenderizing, and drawing out excessive moisture. I always sprinkle sea salt generously on meat before aging it. Looking for even more flavor? Brush salty and savory fish sauce on its surface.
For even more intense, umami goodness, I brush meat before aging with a salty wash of soy sauce, anchovy paste, crushed black peppercorn, and grated garlic. The result is aged meat with a mouthwatering aroma redolent of jerky.
Note: It’s important to avoid any oil in your seasoning, as fat creates a barrier preventing moisture from escaping as salt penetrates inwards.
Basic Things You Will Need
A refrigerator. While we recommend getting a dry-aging refrigerator, your normal one will work just fine. However, keep in mind theres a catch: the refrigerator you choose should be used for dry-aging only.
Dont use it to store beer bottles, condiments, and other miscellaneous items. A multi-purpose fridge with other items stored in it can mess up the flavor of your final beef product. Opening and closing your fridge a lot can also disrupt the final results.
Also, be mindful of your fridge size and how much meat you plan on preparing. A fridge thats too small can cause inadequate airflow, while one thats too large can give you trouble with humidity levels.
Find a refrigerator that meets your preparation needs. Consider getting one with a glass door, so you can check on your beefs progress without opening the door and interrupting the aging process.
A fan. This may sound like a strange tool to have in a kitchen, but youll need it to dry-age meat. Ensuring you have proper air circulation is important to the setup process. Without it, you wont get a tasty final product.
A small standalone fan will work just fine. You can get a small battery-operated one. Or, one with a power cord will work, as long as the fridge door can close securely. Just make sure you sterilize your fan before it goes in the fridge.
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Selecting And Preparing The Meat
What Cuts Of Steak Are Best For Dry
We are talking the beef sub-primals here, big hunks of meat.
Look for a good solid fat cap as this will take the hit on moisture loss and bacterial development which can then be trimmed off so that you lose minimal real meat content. Always leave a little fresh white fat after trimming because this is what imparts show-stopping umami flavor when allowed to oxidize over time.
Look for top-grade USDA prime quality meat. This is really important. Dry-aging will just dehydrate an inferior piece of meat. Were talking top-drawer meat here, cuts renowned for their tenderness, flavor and marbling. Heres more on how to select the best cuts for dry-aging.
The types of steak cuts that are best for dry-aging are as follows:
- Prime rib / rib roast
All these big guns in the steak arena will age well and improve dramatically in texture and flavor during the dry-aging process.
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How Star Chefs Age Their Own Steaks At Home
The world of steak is not known for innovation. Apart from the kinds grown in labs or fabricated on a 3D printer, as well as the occasional upgraded wagyu, tried and true is the motto most beef enthusiasts embrace.
One attribute that has become a standard for steak aficionados is dry aging. The concept has been employed by butchers and steakhouse operators for decades, and has become non-negotiable on menus in the past decade or so. The result of dry aging, for those that arent already indoctrinated, is a more intense, meaty flavor with a better crust as moisture comes out of the steak over time. Its not hard to dry age meathome aging refrigerators are increasingly available. Most commercially available aged steaks go up to 28 days. Past 35 days, the flavor gets increasingly funky, which works for some people but not everyone.
Theres an even easier process than buying a $1,600 machine, and you can improve on the dry aged cuts you buy at the market.
While steak with Gorgonzola butter is an all-weather dish, Carmellini says the best time to make it is late summer and early fall, when you can grill the beef and serve it with the seasons star produce. My favorite thing to eat with steak is tomatoes, and this is peak, peak, peak tomatoes, he says. To make it even better, make it this blue cheese-infused steak, says Carmellini: That beef, and tomato, with the gorgonzola butter is the summers best flavor bomb.
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 cant 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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How Do You Dry Age Beef
Depending on your preference, cut the meat into separate steaks and cook them to your satisfaction . Using professional equipment to dry age beef will provide a different outcome than doing so at home, so dont expect your results to be on par with those of your favorite steakhouse or butcher just yet.
Can You Dry Age Beef In A Wine Fridge
You may be able to dry age beef in a wine fridge depending on the type of fridge you have. The optimal temperature for wine storage is considered to be about 55 degrees Fahrenheit which is too warm for dry-aging beef and will cause spoilage. If you can set your wine fridge to temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it might work.
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How To Wet Age Steak At Home
Posted by Jake Eller on May 28, 2019
Generally speaking, meat can be either dry-aged or wet-aged. The two techniques produce vastly different results within the same cuts of meat. Its hard to say one tastes better than the other — theyre simply different. Dry-aging tends to produce a very aggressive, pungent sort of flavor, while wet-aging creates a milder, and more universally agreeable taste. Us steak-aficionados can enjoy an intense, deeply flavored dry-aged cut, but some people would certainly point to that dry-aged flavor as being too robust or pungent. For this crowd, wet-aging might just be the answer.
In contrast to the centuries-old dry aging technique, wet-aging is a fairly recent invention. With dry-aging, the meat is left in an open-air environment. Because of this exposure to oxygen, certain bacterial growth is encouraged and enabled. This creates an intense aromatic flavor that is something akin to an aged cheese. Unfortunately, the dry aging process is incredibly resource-intensive and not particularly realistic for the home cook. Wet-aging, on the other hand, is perfectly in-reach, as it requires very little in the way of dedicated equipment.
With a few tips and tricks, you can wet-age a steak in your own home.
As you can see, wet-aging is well within reach for the home cook. It just takes a bit of know-how, and a nice, prime cut of beef to get started!
What Are The Best Cuts Of Dry
Entire primals, rather than single steaks are dry-aged, but to be a good candidate for dry-aging requires a good protective covering of bone or fat. This means theres less surface area that needs to be trimmed away later. Filets tend not to be aged because theres no bone or fat protecting it, Flannery says. Dry-aging is wasteful because every single side of meat that is exposed to air will be breaking down faster than the meat on the inside. Bone-in New York strip or ribeye are good contenders for dry-aging, Pandel says.
Ribeye is a great cut to dry age. Photo: Kevin Marple
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How Long Should You Age Meat For
Heres where the art of dry aging becomes a rabbit hole Lets chat for a moment about tenderness. Yes, dry aging can help tenderness, but its mainly undertaken to intensify flavor. After about 28 days of aging, the meat is about as tender as its going to become. Technically speaking, for you sticklers, it has the capacity to continue to tenderize, but its practically negligible beyond this point. What you are looking at now is intensity of flavor, and nutty notes from the mold and controlled decomposition .
Short answer the length of time you leave meat to age depends on numerous factors. What cut are you using? What kind of mold do you have in your fridge? Is it more intense than other strains? How much of that mold is in there? And most importantly: what is your personal preference?
Generally, it takes at least 30 days before you can start to taste any signature dry aged flavors. My personal preference is for something between 60-80 days. That may change as I get to know my own set up better . After a certain point, dry aged steak turns from a delight to a delicacy. Meaning the more funky it gets, the fewer people it will appeal to. Kind of like a light blue cheese versus a gorgonzola. One is much mustier than the other, and some palates find that too overwhelming.
How To Age A Steak At Home
Its not a secret that you cant really cook a steak in a restaurant and get the same result as at a professional cooking. It takes years of training to get a quality steak, and even then its still somewhat of a challenge to keep it juicy and tender. But thanks to the incredible amount of research and development in the field of barbecue, you can do it yourself! What you need is a high-quality blade and a digital probe thermometer. The best knife for the job is a boning knife, as it has the most delicate and precise cutting edges. For the sake of your knife, only use a quality stainless steel blade. The probe should be connected to the meats surface using a metal foil sleeve.
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Can You Eat The Outside Of A Dry
Dry-aged beef crust trimmings arent particularly palatable as is, but according to experts, they may be used in a variety of ways. The crust that forms on a piece of dry-aged beef is not often consumed, despite the fact that it is theoretically edible in some circumstances. Its still beef, and the flavor hasnt changed even after being aged for several months.
Aging Your Meat Results In A More Tender And Flavorful Steak
Once upon a time, you could go to your corner butcher and buy an aged USDA prime cut of beef. If you have had a good, aged steak, you know it is more tender and flavorful than what you typically buy in the store. The reason for this is that aging allows natural enzymes to break down the hard connective tissue in meats and for water to evaporate away, concentrating the flavor.
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What To Do After Learning How To A Age Steak In The Refrigerator:
You are now ready to cook your dry aged steak which you can do so using a cast iron or grill. You can place the remainder of the primal cut back into the Steak Locker for additional dry aging time. Alternatively, if you do not desire additional dry aging time, cut the entire sub primal into steaks and freeze them individually. We recommend using vacuum sealed machines and bags to prevent freezer burn.
Our steak locker meat aging fridge range is multifunctional- by this we mean that our steak lockers do more than just dry aging steaks. With the Steak Locker, the curing of charcuterie, cheese and fish are possible, we will include further details about this in later posts.
To find out more about steak locker dry age fridges, visit our product page.