What Temperature Should Beef Be Dry Aged
Cuts are stored in refrigerated open air as they age. This process can be expensive because you have to keep the room between 34-36º with airflow to ensure there is no spoilage. Running fans over the meat is preferential. This helps prevent the meat from going bad.
Aging is a slow and controlled process that takes constant cold air. In ancient times, meat was aged below ground where temperatures are steadier and above freezing. Shafts were cut to allow fresh air flow over the meat. But today steak aging is controlled by using meat refrigerators. They keep temperatures steady and include fans that constantly blow cold air over the beef.
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Carnivores know that beef should be aged to tenderize the meat and concentrate flavors. But some steaks are wet-aged, and others are dry-aged: Is there really a difference?
Dry-aged beef is hung in the air to dehydrate at a temperature just above freezing for weeks, or up to months. The steak builds a thick, moldy coat that’s cut away before cooking. High-end steakhouses often show off their steaks in glass aging cases.
Wet aging is a newer technique where beef is vacuum-sealed and refrigerated so that natural enzymes can tenderize the meat. Wet aging takes just a few days, so it’s cheaper than dry aging.
Learn the difference between these other common ingredients:
How Long To Wet Age Steak At Home
Wet aging steak typically takes 7-14 days. During this time, the steaks naturally occurring enzymes work to tenderize the meat.
Hard areas of connective tissue found within the steak are broken down which makes it easier to eat. Enzymes continue to work on the steak tissue for as long as its being aged.
This is done without losing weight through dehydration which is one of the main benefits of wet aging over dry aging.
If you dont know how to wet age beef then do some research before you try. Temperature and humidity levels have to be tightly controlled during the process. I wouldnt try it in a regular refrigerator. Bacteria can start to grow inside the bag which can make you sick.
If you do try it, dont age the steak for too long. Some say wet aging can be done for much longer than 14 days but the chance for bacterial growth becomes higher the longer the aging process continues. Whenever I wet age steak I stick to around 7-10 days. By 7-10 days I usually get the tenderness I want so any more time would be a waste.
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How To Tell The Difference At A Store
In a fine restaurant, the steak will be labeled as either dry-aged or wet-aged, whereas in a grocery store you may be wondering what kind of aging your steak or beef went through. In general, unless it is labeled otherwise, most of the meat available at stores and markets is wet-aged beef, and it is aged on the way to the market for sale. Because of this, you may be more inclined to enjoy the taste of wet-aged beef over dry-aged as it is quite a different flavor and potentially one that you do not normally associate with beef.
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We’re In The Age Of Wet
The economic reasoning behind Ruth Fertel’s decision to switch from dry-aged meat to wet-aged meat is shared by most of the industry. As Taste of the Woods puts it, “It’s cheap, dead simple to get it right and generates excellent result.” In other words, it’s a product that requires lower investment and offers higher returns. Of course, it will dominate the market.
This domination could be seen as early as 2010. In a piece by The Atlantic published that year, the butcher Tom Mylan paid wet-aging the seemingly back-handed compliment of saying that if 90% of beef brought home from American grocery stores is wet-aged, then “it can’t be all bad.” That statistic, however, becomes somewhat shocking when Mylan observes that this surge has only occurred over the course of 30 years. Essentially, steak and beef sellers everywhere discovered the magic of plastic bags and haven’t looked back since.
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Why Dry Age Steak
There are three main reasons beef is dry aged.
- Moisture Loss: Dry-aged beef loses mass because of moisture loss during the aging process. Some say as much as 30% of its moisture is shed while drying. This is significant since most cuts of beef average around 75% water. This is a benefit because when water is removed from the beef, its flavor becomes more concentrated.
- Tender: Beefs natural enzymes break down connective tissue and muscle fibers during dry aging. Certain fungal species like thamnidium, produce collagenolytic enzymes that contribute to the tenderness and distinctive taste of dry-aged meat.
- Flavor: Bacterial and enzymatic reactions and oxidation of fat causes the meat to go brown which changes its flavor profile.
Dry-aged beef requires an acquired taste. The longer its aged, the funkier the flavor. Its kind of like aged cheeses in that way. Some love the flavor, and some prefer a steak thats more mild.
One of the main flavor profiles of dry aged steak is umami. Other foods with umami profiles include mushrooms, truffles, strong cheeses, fermented and aged produces, and marmite. If you like these flavors youll probably love dry aged beef.
How To Select Aged Steaks
When comparing dry aged vs wet aged steak, its important to consider the cut and size of the beef thats being aged.
A thick richly marbled steak is better for dry aging. During the dry aging process, meat sheds a lot of moisture and shrinks in size. You need more than a single serving of beef. Generally an entire slab of beef, or at least large cuts, are hung, dried and cut before cooking. Dry aging also involves trimming the top moldy crust of beef prior to cooking which also shrinks its size.
A fairly lean and much smaller steak is better for wet-aged beef.Wet aging is done a single serving at a time. Essentially, the exact cut of beef youll be cooking is what gets wet aged. Theres no size or moisture loss so you don t need a huge piece of beef.
Both aging processes produce a more tender steak but some cuts are better than other for a particular process. here are a few recommendations to try.
Dry Aged: Porterhouse, Bone-In Ribeye, and Bone-In Strip Steaks.
Wet-Aged: Filet Mignon, Flat Iron, Flank and Boneless Strip Steaks.
Keep in mind, dry aged steaks take more time to age and lose mass which makes them more expensive. They also get an earthy flavor the longer they age. Wet aged steaks taste more like traditional beef.
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Why Do We Dry Age Our Grass Fed Beef
People have been aging meat for millennia. Why? Aging beef enhances flavor and makes the meat more tender. Its a lot like aging fine wine to bring out complexities and different flavor profiles. In this months blog post, well do a deeper dive into what it means to age beef and why its important for your taste buds. You can definitely taste the difference!
Dry-aged beef is a premium product, compared to most beef youll find at the store. Its more expensive to produce, requires an expert butcher and you need to keep the beef at a constant temperature and humidity level. The natural process of dry aging draws the moisture out of the meat and brings out a big beefy flavor.
Aged beef is showing up on more fine dining and steakhouse menus. The reason is simple, its a better end product. Theres an artisan aspect to producing top quality aged meat. Traditional and/or grass-fed beef is usually aged anywhere from 8 days to 45+ days. Some purveyors are now aging 100 days or more!
Wet Aging vs. Dry Aging
There are two methods for aging meat: wet-aging and dry-aging. Wet aging is simply individual cuts of meat that are vacuum sealed the beef ages in the plastic Cryovac. Because theres no oxygen in the bag , the enzymes in the beef help tenderize the meat. Wet-aged beef is actually a faster process than dry aging and also less expensive to produce.
Is Dry Aged Beef More Expensive?
Does Grass Fed Beef Benefit From Being Aged?
Where Can I Buy Quality Dry Aged Beef?
What To Do After Wet Ageing The Beef
When its ready to cook, get the beef out of the refrigerator. Remove it from the cryovac seal and rinse it off. Dont get scared if a bit of funky smell hits your nose. Its normal.
After you discard the cryovac, rinse the meat, and dry it, the smell should decline. However, if the smell is too foul at this point, it means that something mightve gone wrong during the process.
Then, start cutting the meat into smaller pieces. Season them with some salt, pepper, and thyme. You can get creative with the seasoning. Then, cook and enjoy the tenderness of your premium delicacy of meat.
If youre not ready to cook it just yet, another option is to put the beef in the freezer for a month or two. The meat wont continue to age in the freezer. The freezing temperature shuts down the active enzymes.
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The Second Form Of Aging Is Dry Aging
This type of aging is often used in restaurants and foodservice. It all starts out the same way. The packers will get the product in the vacuum-sealed bags, open them up and put them onto open racks in a controlled room.
The room is equipped with heavy airflow and the temperature and humidity of the room are usually regulated and controlled. This method draws out all the moisture in the beef which develops a nuttier flavor that is more common in steakhouses than for home cooks.
Since all the moisture is drawn out of the beef when dry aging, the cost per pound goes up. Wet aging allows us to have a lower price point for our consumers while still delivering on taste and quality.
Bottom line, both methods work well for adding tenderness and flavor. We chose to use wet aging to extend shelf life and have a fair price for our consumers. It also hasnt let us down on taste or tenderness yet.
What Does Dry Aged Steak Taste Like Does Dry Aged Steak Taste Good
Dry aging is a process in which meat is hung for many weeks or even months.
Dry-aging meat aims to break down the tough connective tissue that makes the meat hard and chewy.
Dry-aged steak has a much different texture than what you would find at your local grocery store.
Its flavor also changes significantly during this process.
In this blog post, we will cover what dry-aged steak is, what it tastes like and how to cook a properly cooked and delicious piece.
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Dry Aging Disadvantages & Limitations
Because of the moisture loss and trimming associated with dry aging, the method is limited to large cuts of meat called primal cuts. These large chunks have enough mass to be dry-aged and remain worthwhile, as smaller cuts would likely have little to no usable meat remaining after dry-aging.
Primal cuts are also ideal for dry aging for another reason: fat marbling. In these large cuts of meat, the fat is evenly distributed throughout the meat . This allows for consistent drying throughout the cut and helps produce more usable meat. One fine example of this is the Wagyu Beef, which is primarly stored as dry aged.
Dry aging is also limited by supply capacity. Due to the space, cooling, and sanitary requirements of dry-aging, it is much more costly to dry-age meat, and that cost is passed on to the customer in the form of higher prices.
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Final Thoughts: Dry Aging Vs Wet Aging
To determine which process of aging is best, its essential to try the meat for yourself. Although dry aging is a passion that many culinary professionals dedicate their lives to, dry aged beef is much less common than wet-aged beef. Head out to your favorite steakhouse, or try one of these processes at home.
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What Are The Effects Of Dry Aging
The result of a good dry aged steak is considerably noticeable in flavor and texture. The taste is more beefy, earthy and richer than a regular steak, while texture is much smoother.
When dry aging, please be aware that the outside of the steak will become dry and crusty. Before grilling, it is best to trim the entire outside crust with a sharp knife. By doing so, keep in mind that youre about to lose around 20-25% of your steak. Thats why we always recommend aging thicker steaks instead of small ones.
The time needed for dry aging beef varies on preference. Here at OS Meatshop, we take the following day marks into consideration:
21 30 days: great juiciness and tenderness, along with a balanced dry aged taste.
45 50 days: great juiciness and tenderness, along with a strong dry aged taste.
60 + days: losses in juiciness and tenderness, along with a very strong dry aged taste.
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What Is A Wet
Wet-aging is essentially the opposite of the open-air process of dry-aging beef. This method of perfecting a cut of beef before cooking involves storing the beef in a cryovac bag. From there, the meat is stored in a refrigerator for 14 days or longer at around 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
During the aging process the meats will tenderize to near-perfection until the chef decides its time to toss the steaks on the grill.
The Reason Ruth’s Chris Steak House Switched From Dry
A night out at Ruth’s Chris Steak House is always a lavish experience. From the white tablecloths to the sizzling platters, a meal at Ruth’s Chris is meant to be totally savored. The appetizers, sides, drinks, and desserts are all stellar, but the ‘belle of the ball’ of course is the restaurant’s rich, beefy, iconic steaks. The official site says Ruth’s Chris uses “the finest custom-aged, corn-fed Midwestern beef” and “USDA Prime, which represents the top 2-3 of cattle on the market.” The steaks are never frozen.
Ruth’s Chris offers a multitude of cuts and broils the steaks at 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, opting to rely on the quality of the beef instead of any ostentatious garnishes or sauces. Typically, your steak will be served with no more than butter, salt and pepper, and some herbs. If you’ve ever wondered why your steaks at home don’t seem to match up to Ruth’s Chris, it might be because their beef quality is top-notch, they cook steaks in intensely hot broilers that are not in home kitchens, and all of their steaks are wet-aged.
That wasn’t always the aging method of choice. The restaurant used to rely on dry-aging, a process many people associate with more flavorful steak. But Ruth’s Chris founder Ruth Fertel decided to go in a wetter direction.
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Dry Age Steak Vs Normal Steak
Dry-aged beef can be highly marbled, and the flavor may be subtler than other cuts because the fat which slowly melts during cooking coats your tongue with lots of flavorful juices.
Dry aging also results in more tender meat due to moisture loss.
The downside is that this process takes a long time sometimes up to 4 weeks, whereas normal beef is typically aged for one or two days.
Dry-aged meat can be pricey and depending on the type of steak you are looking at, it could cost up to $20 more per pound than a regular cut.
However, some people say thats worth every penny.
Experience Aged Beef The Texas Way At Yo Ranch Steakhouse
While we dont like to give away all of our secrets at Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse, we do invite our guests to come out and enjoy a true taste of Texas beef.
Whether you want to celebrate a special occasion like Valentines Day or you just want a safe place to enjoy a gourmet meal, our downtown Dallas steakhouse is the place for you.
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Differences Between Wet Aged Vs Dry Aged Steak
Wet aged steak and dry aged steaks have differing flavors and textures enhanced by the individual aging processes. A dry-aged steak imparts a flavor that is both earthy and nutty, with a sustained piquancy, producing a steak that is both meaty and robust. When browned, the essence has been described as intense and round, with a lavish aroma. Dry aged meat is characterized by an extraordinarily tender steak because the aging process is lengthier, making the fibers within the muscle more moist and flavorful. This same procedure gives the beef a slightly tart taste, akin to bleu cheese.
Wet-aged steaks produce a vibrant fresh, metallic flavor, a bonus to steak lovers who prefer their meat newly harvested. Wet-aging steak tastes better in a lean cut of beef like a flat-iron steak, where the steak is less marbled with fat. Beef cut for dry aging starts out much thicker than wet aged meat but will lose considerable mass during the aging process. In the end, they both produce an excellent tender and juicy steak.