A Few Things To Remember
Dry ageing beef using professional equipment will deliver a different result to your home setup, so dont expect your efforts to match that of your favourite steak house or butcher just yet.
Also be wary of meat spoilage. If you think your efforts have failed and the meat spoiled instead of aged, dont push it further.
How To Cook Dry Aged Beef At Home
To cook a dry aged steak at home, prepare it just like you would a regular steak, but with one difference: With dry aged beef, you do run the risk of over-seasoning so dont go as heavy on the salt as you would a normal steak, says Aaron.
Once you start searing, dont walk away from the pan. Dry aged steaks will cook faster because there is less moisture. Aaron adds: I wouldnt cook it any more than a medium.
Dont overthink it,advises Clint. Let your steak get to room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Bit of oil, salt and pepper. There you go.
What Makes Dry Agedsteaks So Special
Traditionally, meat is matured for only 7 14 days and is then only wet aged under vacuum. Dry aged meat, on the other hand, is matured for 3 6 weeks and is hung in the air. Thus, any superfluous moisture can evaporate.
The meat is, therefore, dry matured. This has a favourable effect on the consistency of the muscle tissue which becomes very soft. And, when the meat is hung on the bone it forms a special taste, which you dont get when wet aging. This method can develop a slightly sour, unpleasant taste.
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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.
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 BBQ box.
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 five minutes before serving.
Things To Know About Dry
If you have never tried a dry-aged steak before, there are a few things you need to know about them.
It isnt individual cuts of steak that are aged, but a whole part that is aged and the steaks cut from that whole.
The longer a piece of beef is aged the more depth of flavor it will develop.
The aging process uses the natural enzymes within the meat to break down the connective tissues in the meat itself which will make it more tender.
This same process removes moisture from the meat and allows the lipids within the muscle to break down.
A dry-aged steak will be a deep burgundy, nearly purple color.
Cuts that have been properly dry-aged for 30 to 42 days will be less tender than a steak dry-aged longer, however, they will be at peak beef flavor, providing a buttery and roast-beefy taste when properly cooked.
Any beef that has been aged for 45 days and up will begin to develop a gamey-nutty flavor with the supercharged beef.
Beef that has been aged for 90 days or longer will develop a crust that is very similar to the rind on a cheese. This is a good thing. It will also establish a flavor similar to bleu cheese thanks to the same types of bacteria used in the production of said cheese.
If you have never experienced a dry-aged steak before, it can be better to start slow. Try a steak that has been aged between 30 and 42 days. That way you can enjoy maximum beef flavor before things get too funky.
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Cant I Just Dry Age My Own Beef At Home
With the prices of dry aged beef you might think it best to just do it yourself. There are definitely some ways you can dry aged beef at home and I will definitely give it a shot sometime. SeriousEats.com has a great article on dry aging beef at home and Jess Pryles wrote up a great tutorial as well. Follow those methods and you will have some great dry aged steak.
But you do need a dedicated fridge. And you need to be able to find they right cuts to age. The primal you get needs to have as much of a fat cap on it as possible and there are specific ways to cut the primals to maximize the yield. Since the outside of the primal dries up and needs to be trimmed you want as much extra stuff on the primal. A strip loin from Costco will be your best bet. But if you want a ribeye? You will have to get really friendly with your butcher and get a 107 or a 109A rib roast. The 109 Export is what is normally sold and that has had the fat cap mostly removed. The result is a dried out spinalis muscle which is such a waste.
So you can definitely dry age your own steaks but it does take a bit of work and you will need to find a good source for your beef.
Is Dry Aged Beef Really Better Than The Alternatives
Those who enjoy meat are really starting to better understand the benefits of dry aged beef. When you first open up a packet of dry aged beef, youll probably notice a distinctively intense, rich smell. Once cooked, the molecules inside the beef begin to wake up with heat and that smell wafts up to our noses and senses. This is where dry aging takes a step beyond cooking just a regular steak.
Clint, head butcher at Peter Augustus Camp Hill location, says its all about the texture. Aged meat is super tender, fantastically tender. The meat is softer, making it easier to cut through, and easier to digest.
And the taste? Its hard to describe. says Aaron. It has a richer, nuttier, beefier flavour. Its almost cheese-like.
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What Is Dry Aged Steak
Dry aged steak refers to a method of preparing a cut of beef before it is cooked. As the name suggests, this involves ageing it.
Dry ageing is not the same as leaving a piece of steak in your fridge at home in order to age. It uses specialised equipment that allows chefs to control the temperature and humidity around the meat, and avoid unwelcome bacteria growing on it.
Different chefs will dry age steak for different lengths of time, but it is usually more than a month at minimum. When done right, dry ageing results in spectacularly tender, flavourful steak unlike any youve ever tried.
The Definition Of Aging
DRY AGING THE ART OF MEAT MATURING
Beef needs aging. And aging needs time. Dry Aging translated to mature dry is THE traditional way of aging meat to produce an extraordinary tender and intensive flavour. A technique, many decades old, through which beef reaches the highest possible grade.The pleasure associated with dry-aged meat is like nothing you have ever tasted before. The texture cannot be compared to an ordinary piece of meat. So no wonder dry-aged beef is renowned by foodies as the king of meats on the steak menu.
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Whats So Good About Dry Aged Beef
Its luxurious, it can be costly and for some first-timers, the taste can take some getting used to. But for hobby cooks, meat lovers and grill aficionados, dry aged beef is one of the ultimate steak experiences. But whats so good about dry aged beef?
Read on to learn what dry aging is, how it works, the benefits of eating dry aged beef and how to enjoy the ultimate high-end steakhouse experience at home.
How To Dry Age Beef At Home
Dry-aged beef has been the go-to on steak house and restaurant menus for years. And theres a darn good reason why.
The melt-in-your-mouth texture, the flavour profiles, the tenderness, the deep shades of red you see when cooked to perfection its a no-brainer for beef lovers who expect an experience when they cut into their steak.
Dry ageing beef went out of vogue in the 1960s when the process of wet-ageing meat meant it could be done cheaper and faster. Dry-aging can take 4-6 weeks and needs special ageing lockers.
It also causes product loss due to the trimming required and evaporation that takes place. Wet-aging is faster and requires less equipment. Because of this, wet-aged beef is cheaper to buy and is more common. But dry ageing is well and truly worth it. Enzymes break down the fat within the meat and is worth it for the flavour profiles alone.
And more and more beef fans are giving it a crack at home.
So what do you need to do to make it work? Its not as easy as simply leaving your steaks in the fridge wrapped in cheesecloth for a week, and some dedicated equipment is required.
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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.
California Reserve Dry Aged Bone
This is the big brother of the Rib Eye Steak. The only difference between the two is the presence of the bone otherwise, its the same steak. Though all bone-in rib steaks will, clearly, have a bone , the size of the bone fluctuates. The Rib steak cut from the loin end of the rib will have a bone length of about 6 to 8 inches, while the steak cut from the chuck end will have a much shorter bone, maybe only 3 to 4 inches long. If youve ever seen what is called the cowboy steak, it is cut from the loin end so that the bone is long enough to be exposed on one end while still having a good-sized section attached to the steak.
The question that I field the most when it comes to this cut is whether or not the bone will add flavor to the steak. General opinion is split 50/50 on this question, but I count myself among those who believe that no additional flavor is imparted. My personal opinion is that the only time the bone will impart flavor into the attached meat is when the meat is braised. By simmering the meat in liquid, there will be an interaction of the bone essence with said liquid, which will then ultimately become the accompanying sauce. A steak on the grill will not replicate that co-mingling because there is simply no transfer medium.
USDA PRIME: these Bone-in Ribsteaks are graded USDA Prime, the top tier of quality in the US.
DRY AGED: Before these were processed into steaks, these Ribsteaks were Dry Aged for 30-35days.
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How To Buy A Dry
You are investing in yourself and a meal. Dry aging a steak is a lengthy process that requires great care, which is why this will be a more expensive bite than you would normally experience. Here is what you should know about purchasing your dry-aged steak.
When purchasing a dry-aged steak, you should do so on the day that you are going to cook it. Never freeze that meat unless absolutely necessary, and if frozen, allow it to thaw slowly in the refrigerator. The only issue with this is that you dont want to continue to age your steak in an environment that isnt ideal for doing so ie: your fridge. A great relationship with your butcher can help with this. They can cut the steak to the exact thickness you want right then and there. Buying online, unseen can be tricky as you may not get what you are actually asking for.
As discussed in our article about the grades of steaks available, it is imperative that you purchase a Prime or AAA graded beef. You should also select a good steak to cook. New York Strips are usually available all of the time, you may also consider a ribeye bone in or out, T-Bones or the similar-looking porterhouse are also commonly dry-aged selections. You can discuss with the butcher how long the meat has been aging as well. This will give you the ability to select a flavor profile that would be more suited to your tastes. Remember, the longer it has been dry aging, the more intense and unique the flavor will be.
A Brief History Of Beef
Dry aging beef has always been a niche process, and butchers who wanted the improved quality of dry aged beef were able to age the beef in much different scenarios than are available in todays world. Years ago, beef processing plants would only sell whole beef, either in halves or quarters, and this is how the beef would be delivered to the butchers. The plants would process the beef, and then transport it to the butchers in a truck stacked like cordwood. If you have any old butcher shops in your neighborhood, you might have noticed that at the receiving door, there is a rail extending outside the building. This was to facilitate putting the beef quarters on wheels that could then roll right into the butcher shop.
Now if you were one of those butchers who dry aged, you were in hog heaven. The dry aging process is a destructive one parts of the meat that are exposed to the open air must be trimmed once the dry aging is complete. Because of this, the most ideal condition for dry aging beef is to receive the beef in quarters. Youve got the bones acting as a protection on one side, and a thick layer of fat on the other side.
Moving from dry aging whole quarters to smaller beef primals does not change the beneficial effects of dry aged beef, but it does increase the waste factor. As the smaller primals, they will shrink faster, because there is a smaller surface area to size ratio.
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How To Dry Age Steak: A Step
STEP 1 Set the temperature between 34 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit, at 70 to 80% humidity, for 14 to 75 days.
STEP 2 Once you select your fridge, place a small fan inside to keep a constant airflow. That wire rack will go on top of a tray, which will catch the drippings. Elevating the bottom rack will allow for airflow to reach the beef on all sides.
STEP 3 Next, place your cut in the center of a wire rack. Slide that rack into the fridge with a tray beneath it and
STEP 4 Wait. How long, you ask?
2-4 weeks if you want tender beef.
4-6 weeks for the iconic dry-aged taste.
6-8+ weeks if you want to experiment with unpredictable flavors.
Note: If you check on your beef, opening the fridge will skew moisture levels. Trust the process.
STEP 5 Having aged your cut, take it out of the fridge. Your beef will have undergone a physical transformation by now. Your red slab of beef will be looking like dry, deep-red to purple/brown, or even moldy exterior. Fear not. Cut that meat off. Same with exterior fat.
STEP 6 Take your roast and carve up individual steaks to suit your tastes. You should use a different knife than the one that carved off the outer layers, or thoroughly clean the one you used. You dont want any byproducts from the aging process contaminating your steaks.
Note: You will see the difference in the fiber of dry-aged beef when you cut your steaks.