How To Dry Age Beef And Steak At Home A Step
Try it to believe it! Dry aging concentrates and intensifies the flavor of meat, taking the flavor to a whole new level. Heres how to dry age your beef and steak at home yourself, which can save you A LOT of money over buying it pre-aged from a butcher.
In this post I answer all your questions on how to dry age beef and steaks yourself at home.
Wine, cheese, steak. All good things that age beautifully, where the passage of time only makes them richer, more complex, and weak-at-the-knees delicious. But in the case of meat, we all know time can make bad stuff happen too, like mold and bacteria.
So how does dry-aging achieve that superior, deeply tender and delicious steak, without going bad? And why would you want to make it yourself?
Right off the bat, heres one easy motivator for you: $100. Yup, thats what you can expect to spend in a good steakhouse for a top-notch dry-aged steak. And you guessed it its way cheaper when you do it yourself at home.
So read on to find out what exactly dry-aging is, how its done and how easy it is to make beautifully aged steak in your own kitchen.
Well lay out some simple no-brainers why youd want to do this yourself and walk you through the process, step-by-step. In fact, by the time, youre at the end of this post, youll be grabbing your wallet and heading out the door to get yourself a good hunk o cow, so you can get started!
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.
Should You Dry Age Your Steak
This is a no-brainer for beef enthusiasts who demand an experience when they bite into their steak, thanks to the melt-in-your-mouth texture, flavor profiles, softness, and rich shades of red that appear when it is cooked to perfection. When the method of wet-aging meat became more cost-effective and time-efficient in the 1960s, dry-aging beef became obsolete.
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Why Does Dry Aged Steak Taste Better
Is it really worth going through all of this trouble to dry age your steak at home?
The reason a dry-aged steak tastes so much better is that the process of aging allows enzymes to slowly break down proteins and fats into more flavorful amino acids.
In addition, as meat ages it loses moisture, concentrating its flavor. The melting point of connective tissue in meats is around 54 °C , meaning that at room temperature and normal refrigerator temperatures, aged steaks are more tender than fresh cuts.
Size is another factor a large steak will age faster than a small one per unit of surface area.
This is due to the fact that larger pieces of beef have more juices trapped inside which take longer to escape the meat during aging.
It is absolutely worth going through this process to dry age your steak at home, it tastes much better and doesnt require any expensive tools or gadgets.
Simply a refrigerator and some household items, as well as your time and patience.
Dry Aging Is Controlled Rotting
Some Egyptian royals were so fond of dry aged beef they were buried with it . During dry aging, the meat is stored in a sanitary room at 34 to 38°F and usually 70 to 80% humidity with brisk airflow for anywhere from 28 to 75 days. Dry aged beef is noticeably different tasting than fresh beef or wet aged beef. The longer it dry ages, the more complex it becomes. Some describe the taste as earthy, nutty, gamey, leathery, mushroomy, and cheesy. Some say it can even develop notes of prosciutto. Some people are addicted to it. Some just plain dont like it. Before you decide to try dry aging at home, go to a restaurant and try several ages of beef. In the picture below, we see bone-in rib primals in the dry aging locker of David Burkes Primehouse in Chicago . From left to right, they range from 7 days to 20 days, 30 days, and 60 days.
All of the aged steaks were wonderful, but all very different. After 45 days, the flavor had changed so that it no longer tasted like beef as we know it. It was as if the meat came from a different animal. Many of the changes in taste occur in the fat rather than the muscle. As for the texture, beyond 45 days, I was unable to notice much difference in tenderness. My favorite was the 28 day steak because it had not yet gotten funky, but the flavors were concentrated and the meat was oh so tender. Others preferred the older meats, proving once again that taste is a matter of taste.
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How Long Can You Age Beef In The Refrigerator
Part 1 of 3: Preparing Your Freezer for Dry Aging .
Why Does Dry Aged Beef Not Spoil
Due to the controlled environment, the beef is kept free of harmful bacteria due to the controlled humidity and temperature levels and dry air regularly circulating. The lack of moisture in the room or chamber makes it difficult for any harmful bacteria to spoil any meat.
Why do people age steak in butter?
The revolutionary butter method is similar to the dry-aging except there is none of the black crust formed on the surface. The butter acts as a barrier and the juices remain in the muscle but the natural enzymes still break the fibres down to create tender meat.
Why do aged steaks taste better?
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.
When should you not use butter?
Butter is high in calories and fat including saturated fat, which is linked to heart disease. Use this ingredient sparingly, especially if you have heart disease or are looking to cut back on calories. The American Heart Association s current recommendation is to limit consumption of saturated fat.
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Trimming And Butchering Your Steaks
After six weeks, your ribeye will have developed a hard, shiny bark. Trim it, but dont toss it.
When you remove your ribeye from the bag at the end of the aging process, youll encounter a thick, shiny layer of bark. The bark needs to be trimmed, but its not waste: you can use the scraps for ground beef or for stock.
I used to trim the bark from the entire ribeye before cutting it into steaks, but lately, Ive been cutting the steaks first. Ive found that trimming the bark from an individual steak is much easier than trimming the whole ribeye.
Make your steaks as thick as youd like and trim the fat to taste keeping in mind that a lot of the flavor is concentrated there.
I like to vacuum seal the individual steaks right away. This serves several purposes.
It prolongs their life in a refrigerator makes for a nice presentation if youre planning to give steaks as a gift and prepares them for sous-vide cooking, which, when coupled with a reverse sear on a grill, is an almost unbeatable way to cook your amazing dry-aged ribeye steaks.
Vacuum sealing the individual steaks prepares them for refrigeration, gift-giving, or sous-viding.
How Long Does It Take To Cook Dry Aged Steak
Depending on your choice of cut and due to the nature of the dry aging process, it is almost always preferred to cut at least 1.5-inch-thick steaks. How to cook the best steak once you are ready to cook your steak, ensure that the meat is dry and fully trimmed of all hard dried out layers as well as any dark areas from the dry aging process.
Your dry aged steak will cook in about half the time compared to a non-dry aged steak, mainly due to the reduced moisture within the muscle of the steak. Also, we have found that electronic and analog thermometers can be unreliable. As with most things delicate, one gets better with practice. It is best to always undercook dry aged steaks and then, if desired, have additional cooking time. You can never un-cook a steak but always have the opportunity to add more cooking time.
It is recommended that a separate fridge is used when dry aging due to the complexity and time needed for the meat aging process, and to reduce the risk of cross-contamination of flavours with other products you normally store in the fridge. To release the flavours of your steak and find out more about our dry age fridges, head over to our dry aging fridges page.
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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.
Can I Dry Age Steak In My Fridge
It is important to strike the right balance when dry-aging meat in a home refrigerator so that the drying benefits are maximized without introducing germs that might ruin the meat. While beef put in a refrigerator constructed expressly for dry age may safely sit for a month or longer, Adams recommends using greater caution when storing beef in a household refrigerator.
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How To Avoid Spoiling Meat
Today, we will share how to age meat in a fridge. But first, let us discuss why we need to age meat. To make good tasting meat, you need to properly age it. This is the process of preserving the meat in a way that doesnt allow bacteria to grow. When you are buying or cooking meat, you want to make sure that the meat is properly cooked and that it has not been frozen. But, if you put the meat in the fridge and it is still frozen, you may get undesirable results when cooking and eating the meat.
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.
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How To Avoid Grease Spots
Today we are going to learn how to avoid greasy spots on your steak. First, you need to buy a new steak. This is important so you dont buy a steak that has become dry or old. After buying the steak, let it sit in the fridge overnight. This will make the steak easier to slice. Next, slice the steak into thin slices. Take care not to cut the steak too thin because you will lose the juices that make a steak taste good. Grease is bad for the steak. So, avoid using extra butter or oils when cooking the steak. When you are done cooking the steak, put it on a serving platter and let it sit for a while to let the juices come back.
Get Your Dry Aging Fridge Knocked Up
When I discovered the concept of dry age fridge inoculation, it kind of blew my mind. I had never considered it before, yet it was so obvious! Much like a sourdough needs a starter, or salami requires introduced mold cultures, your dry aging fridge will benefit from being inoculated by an already dried piece of meat.
In short introducing the right mold to the fridge gets you off to a flying start, and makes sure the correct bacterias are present from the get go. The Certified Angus Beef® dry age locker in Ohio got their starter piece from DeBragga meats, New Yorks Butcher® . And my fridge was started off by a 70 day old strip shell from the CAB facility, with DeBragga provenance. Its kinda cool to trace it back that far. So ideally, you want to start off your fridge by smearing the interior with the already-aged meats from a facility that has a good program already set up. This may require you to trace down some online options or try to negotiate with your local dry age purveyor.
So, what happens if you cant get your hands on a piece of dry aged meat and you dont inoculate? Well, nothing bad. You can still start your own fridge off, but the microclimate will just take far longer to develop. So, your meat will be tender and slightly more intensified, but will lack the funkiness of a mature dry aging facility.
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How To Select Meat For Dry
For dry-aging, you want a large cut of high-end beef. Prime rib is the best choice. It’s usually available in larger cuts, and can be purchased with a fat cap — which protects the meat from drying out during the aging process. The bigger the fat cap, the better protected your meat will be.
Don’t buy individual steaks for dry-aging. They will dry out before 14 days which is the minimum time period for developing new flavors. Trying to dry age a single steak is like trying to make barrel-aged cocktails with just one shot. The alcohol would evaporate before you got to taste it.
Why Do We Dry
Think about this: did you ever throw a piece of beef in a pan or even on the grill that hadnt been well dried with paper towels and watched it sizzle and steam? Its not a pretty sight. Wet meat will not brown and sear and give that beautiful mahogany crunchy exterior we all love.
So if wet is the enemy, then the flip side is that dry is the goal. And if drying meat with paper towels makes a difference, imagine how much better for the sear and crust if its dried longer and more thoroughly through dry-aging!
So OK, the crust gets better. But dry-aging also means moisture loss up to 30% of the original weight of the meat and this helps enrich and deepen the flavor of the meat.
Note that the moisture loss is from the outer layers of fat that are exposed to the air, with limited loss of the good stuff underneath.
During aging, the meat will also undergo enzymatic breakdown, which sounds like a bad thing but is actually awesome because it results in the tenderization of tough muscle fibers and gnarly connective tissue.
Deep flavor, tender bite, seared crunchy crust. I dont know about you, but Im feeling hungry! But hold that thought, lets take a minute to look at the science behind dry aging.
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Which Is Cheaper: Dry
As previously mentioned, youre more likely to be familiar with wet-aged beef, as thats what most of us have encountered at supermarkets, and it’s what we carry here at Seven Sons Farms.
Generally speaking, wet-aged beef is less costly to produce, and the process is easy. It does not require as much time or equipment. Plus, youll lose almost no product throughout the process.
When it comes to dry-aged beef, youll find that its more expensive. It requires more work and time to make, and youll need special equipment. Its also more costly because of the amount of product you end up losing.
This is because of the evaporation and trimming involved in the process.
If its more expensive and time-consuming, then why do people prefer this option? Well, its a classic that people have enjoyed for centuries. Many prefer its taste and find the extra cost and effort to be worth it.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about dry-aging your own beef.