Whats The Best Way To Cook Aged Meat
Again, this comes down to preference, but the chefs I spoke to all had different tips and tricks to making the best possible dry-aged steak.
For Pollaci, a super-hot cast iron pan and aggressively salt-and-peppered steak is key.
I prefer to use canola or grapeseed oil to get a nice sear, he said. After youve finished searing, throw in a generous tablespoon of butter, crushed garlic, thyme, and bay leaf continuously baste the steak in butter.
Poll likes his steaks cooked the same way they do at Gallaghers, which is over hickory coals .
Its amazing, the difference of flavor, he shared. Its easier cooking on a gas broiler or a gas grill because you can regulate heat. The coals, it fluctuates. But the flavor is absolutely, substantially different. The hickory coals complement it it doesnt overshadow the quality of the meat.
Cosentino utilizes both methods: I prefer to either cook them over coals or in a cast iron pan basted in butter and with herbs and garlic. Both of these methods add flavor and depth to the meat. The cast iron pan with butter and herbs helps bring out the nutty and cheese-like characteristic of the meat’s age. The grilling over charcoal, depending on the woods, brings out a different aspect of the meat. It intensifies the umami and the rich grill char and smoke gives the nutty and cheese-like flavor a deeper more intense flavor and length on the palate.
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Dry Aging Tip No2 Less Is More
- Remember the phrase less is more. This goes for seasoning your dry aged meats. Our top dry aging tips are to use salt, pepper, and a quick squeeze of lemon after cooking. This is because dry aging naturally amplifies the flavors in your meat. If you add too much seasoning, you can overpower the existing flavor which makes the whole process of dry aging practically pointless.
- Try to keep things simple, no need to marinate, salt or butter. The point is to enjoy the naturally enhanced flavor.
- Condiments: do not use ketchup.
- If you do decide to marinate your dry aged meat or you fancy adding a complimentary sauce to your dish, weve got you covered. Check out our dry aged steak marinade and complimentary sauce ideas blog. Here we share our top 3 recipes that are the perfect compliment to a dry aged steak.
Dont Just Buy It Off The Shelf
Of course, buying meat off the shelf from your supermarket might be the easiest option. However, it wont offer you the best dry-aging results.
For one, lax regulations can make it difficult for you to know exactly what youre getting and where its coming from. The expiration dates dont always mean anything. Overall, the inferior quality can make it difficult to achieve good results from the dry-aging process.
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What Exactly Is Funky And What Too Is Foul
Well, theres the groovy dance thing of course, but funky is also the word used to describe the unique flavors of extremely aged beef: complex, bold, full-bodied, umami. Some even say nutty and ripe-cheese-like.
Not everyones beef so to speak, but you are in the drivers seat here and get to choose precisely how funky or not your beef will be by controlling the time spent aging.
But its also important to recognize the difference between funky and foul. When your steak is maturing to bold and beefy goodness, or when its taken a turn for the worse and gone bad.
Dry-aged steak, especially when its aged over 35 days or so, does have a unique odor that may not be familiar to you. But you have to trust your natural inborn instinct that will tell you when something is truly rotten. Kind of gag-inducing in the case of meat. You are unlikely to mistake this putrid face-scrunching stench.
Smell it? Toss it!
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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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 .
How Enzymes Affect Meat
Once meat is no longer alive, it will start to break down. This can go one of two ways. Bacteria and 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.
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How To Dry Age Steaks At Home
What youll learn:
- How to dry-age steaks at home, with results just like expensive restaurants
- Use inexpensive vacuum bags designed just for dry aging beef, use your own vacuum sealer
- Honest review of the UMAi Dry Aged Artisan Steak Kit
- Step by step photos and see how steak ages
Weve been using UMAi Dry Aged Steak Kits for the past 6 1/2 years. Back in 2009, I had contacted Thea, the owner of company to learn more about their Drybag Steaks product . Their older model of bags required a special vacuum chamber vacuum sealer. Theyve redesigned the product so that you can use most vacuum sealers, like the FoodSaver. I tested their starter kit and this is an honest review of their product.
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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How To Dry Age Meat At Home
Meat eaters tend to fall into two categories â those who love their dry-aged beef and those who dont. Dry-aged beef can be an acquired taste. However, if youre a true protein aficionado, you probably cant resist occasionally ordering a dry-aged steak off the menu.
Dry-aged beef isnt something you have to enjoy in a restaurant. In addition to buying it, you can learn how to dry age beef at home. Its a delicate, long process that produces some fantastic meat youll be proud to serve up during holidays or special occasions.
How To Dry Age A Steak At Home
Successfully dry-aging steak at home can be tricky at first, but once you know that youre doing, its a breeze!
I am going to tell you some basics on how to dry age a steak at home which will help you achieve a more successful dry-aging steak at home experience.
I have done this multiple times successfully, but knowing why it works is what really gets me excited about cooking.
So, lets learn how to dry age a steak at home
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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
How To Prepare Your Dry
So youve very patiently dry aged your beef, youve watched it develop that hardened crust on the outside and the colour is now a deep red, verging on purple or brown. There could even be a bit of mould. Now its time to get it ready to cook.
You need to trim away this crust to get to the good stuff inside. Also trim away any fat on the outside.
Cut your beef into individual steaks to your desired thickness and grill to your taste .
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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.
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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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 Tools Do I Need To Dry Age A Steak At Home
Believe it or not, you dont need any fancy or special tools to dry age steak at home, simply because you should use your refrigerator.
If youre anything like me, thats probably already full of beer and leftover takeout.
However, you will need a pan big enough to hold the steak and some string or butcher twine to hang it from.
Ensure you have saran wrap or cheesecloth to wrap the steak up with too.
I also recommend using a refrigerator thermometer to monitor the temperature, humidity and to ensure it doesnt go above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is important from a food safety standpoint as refrigerators arent as consistent as commercial meat lockers.
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The Reverse Sear Method
Employ a two-temperature grill. Set up a charcoal grill and a gas grill. For the charcoal grill, shift the coals onto one side. For the gas grill, maximize heat on one side while keeping the other half on low, or off entirely.
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Once you remove the dry-aged beef, allow it to sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes prior to grilling. Letting the meat sit on the counter is a step thats easy to forget, but putting a cold steak on a hot grill tenses up the steak. After dry-aging for weeks, no one wants to sacrifice tenderness.
Five minutes before throwing the steak on the grill, season it. Keep it simple: Salt & black pepper, or a steak-rub from your Grill Masters Club monthly grilling & box.
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Place your dry-aged beef on the low temperature side, cover and cook. Every 3-4 minutes, turn the beef. Monitor the meats temperature with a thermometer.
At 15 degrees below desired doneness, move your steak to the high heat part of the grill. Sear uncovered, flipping as you see fit.
When your steak has a crunchy brown crust on both sides, take it off the grill.
Rest the steak on a wire rack over a sheet pan for at least five minutes before serving.
What Do You Need To Dry
To make dry-aged meat at home, youre going to need some special equipment. You will find advice online about how to do it in your normal kitchen fridge with just a bit of cheesecloth wrapped around it, but if youve read the first article in this series we linked to above, youll know that you cant get good results aging meat in your kitchen fridge.
So, to dry-age beef at home, youll need:
- Cheesecloth or paper towel
- A digital thermometer and a humidity thermometer, or one that does both
- A small fan that can fit inside the fridge
- A wire cooling/cooking rack
If youve got cash burning a hole in your pocket, you can find purpose-built dry-aging fridges that will provide you with everything you need, so that may be something to look into if youve got $3,000+ youre willing to part with.
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