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How to age beef

If you’ve ever tasted a thick prime steak dry-aged 4 to 6 weeks (and reverse seared), you’ve come pretty close to heaven on earth. One of the best dry-aged beef purveyors we know is Chicago Steak Company. We asked Chicago Steak CEO Matt Crowley to share his thoughts on the difference between dry- and wet-aged beef and how to dry-age beef at home.

If you’ve bought a steak from a grocery store, there’s a good chance you’ve purchased a wet-aged steak. Unlike dry-aging, which is centuries old, wet-aging is a relatively new technique, invented in the 1950s.

Wet-aging involves vacuum sealing steaks—the same method used to prevent freezer burn when freezing meat. Though some people prefer wet-aged steaks, most Americans prefer dry-aged beef. Without oxygen, the chemical changes that need to occur for dry-aged taste just aren’t possible. While a small amount of enzymatic changes can happen in wet-aged beef, the overall change is minimal. This leaves wet-aged steaks with a more metallic, “bloody” taste, while dry-aged steaks have richer, fuller-bodied, and more complex umami flavors.

Wet-aging is popular with many grocery stores because it is a far less expensive process than dry-aging. While dry-aging typically takes 4-6 weeks, requires specialized aging lockers, and causes product loss due to trimming and evaporation, wet-aging takes less time, less equipment, and causes no loss of product. As a result, wet-aged beef is easier to find and cheaper to buy.

Misconceptions About Dry Aging

While it’s possible to dry-age beef at home, it is far more difficult and involved than some guides (including several online) would lead you to believe.

One popular misconception is that you can dry-age steaks by lining them with cheesecloth or paper towel, then leaving them in your fridge for four to seven days. While this method dehydrates steaks (which can heighten flavor intensity), it does not properly age them. Beef needs to be aged for at least 14 days for enzymes to properly tenderize fibers, and needs to be aged for at least 21 days for complex flavors to develop. One week in a fridge—cheesecloth or no cheesecloth—won’t make that happen.

Instead, dry-aging takes dedicated equipment, time, and large, primal cuts.

What You Need to Dry-Age Beef

If you want to dry-age beef at home, you’ll need to start out with a large cut of top-grade, USDA Prime beef. Dry-aging needs to be done before a roast is cut into individual steaks, so go with something like a large rib roast, three ribs minimum. Also, be sure to buy a cut that still has a thick cap of fat on its exterior. This way, that side will only lose fat when you trim the exterior at the end of the aging process.

You’ll then need the following equipment: a dedicated refrigerator, a small fan, a tray, and a wire cooking rack.

Note: Do not age beef in a fridge with other foods, as your beef will pick up flavors from those foods and vice versa. Dry-aging in a multi-use fridge will also throw off moisture levels. The need for a dedicated fridge is the biggest challenge and added cost to at-home dry-aging.

How to Dry-Age Beef at Home

  1. First, select your fridge and set up a small, electric fan inside to maintain airflow. Next, put a wire rack on top of a tray. The tray is to collect any drippings. Make sure the bottom of the rack is elevated so that airflow is possible on all sides of the beef.
  2. Set your cut of beef on top of the wire rack. Then, slide the tray, rack, and beef into the fridge and wait. Wait 2-4 weeks if you’re only looking for added tenderness, 4-6 weeks for that famous dry-aged taste, and 6-8 (or more) weeks if you’re looking to develop some seriously funky aromas and flavors. While it is okay to check on your beef occasionally, remember that every time you open your fridge’s door you throw off moisture levels and invite unwanted odors in.
  3. After you have aged your cut for your preferred length of time, remove it from the fridge. At this point, the exterior will be dry, deep-red or purple/brown, and may have developed mold. Trim away any of this meat, as well as any exterior fat. Finally, cut the beef into individual steaks, according to your tastes. We recommend between 1¼ to 2 inches thickness, though some grillers prefer steaks as thick as 3 inches or more.

Remember: when aging at home, it can be hard to adjust and control things like humidity, airflow, and temperature without professional equipment. Because of this, dry-aging at home is generally less precise than professional dry-aging. This means that it can be tough—if not impossible—to replicate the signature taste of a specific restaurant or butcher’s dry-aging process.

Aging Your Meat Results in a More Tender and Flavorful Steak

How to Age Beef

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.

How to Age Beef

Dry Aging

The old method of aging meat is known as dry aging. Dry aging is done by hanging meat in a controlled, closely watched, refrigerated environment. The temperature needs to stay between 36 F and freezing. Too warm and the meat will spoil, too cold and it will freeze, stopping the aging process. You also need a humidity of about 85 percent to reduce water loss. To control bacteria, you need a constant flow of air all around the meat, which means it needs to be hanging in a well-ventilated space. The last and most important ingredient in this process is an experienced butcher to keep a close eye on the aging meat.

There are many reasons that butchers don’t typically age meat these days. Firs, the cost of aged beef can be very high. Because of the weight loss of aged beef, the price per pound can be pretty outrageous. If you add in the time, storage space, refrigeration, labor that price just keeps moving up. For meat aging to properly improve the quality of a cut, it should contain substantial marbling. This means that there is fat evenly distributed throughout the meat. Only the highest grades have this kind of marbling and make aging worthwhile.

Because of the high price and the space necessary to age meat, dry-aging has become very rare. Actually, only a few of the finest restaurants buy aged beef. Many, in fact, have taken to aging their own beef. This can be a risky job if you don’t know what you are doing and you need a good sense of smell. If your aged meat doesn’t smell right, throw it out.

Aging takes about 11 days before you see much improvement in the flavor of the meat. After that, the flavor continues to intensify, but so does the loss of weight and the risk of spoilage. Eventually, the meat will be worthless so many fine restaurants who do their own aging will limit it to 20 to 30 days.

Wet Aging

The less expensive alternative to dry aging is called wet aging. Meat is shipped from packing plants to butchers in vacuum packaging. Butchers can set this packed meat aside in their refrigerators and allow them to age. Since the meat is packed in its own juices the enzymes will break down the connective tissues and make it more tender. However, because there will be no fluid loss, the concentration of flavor that you get from dry aging won’t happen.

You may be tempted to age beef at home. You could take a vacuum-packed primal cut (from which market cuts are taken) from the butcher and put it in the refrigerator for two weeks in hopes of producing a really tender piece of meat. However, aging needs to be done at precise temperatures and humidity under controlled circumstances. The average family refrigerator just doesn’t have what it takes to properly age beef. It is very easy to get a good colony of bacteria going in that meat during the couple of weeks it takes to age a piece of beef.

There is a technique circulating online that is really a recipe for a trip to the hospital. Take your prime or choice steaks, unwrap them, rinse with cold water, wrap in a clean kitchen towel, and place on the coldest shelf of your refrigerator. Every day for two weeks, take the steaks out and change the towel. At this point, you are promised a fantastic steak, provided you live through the digestive process after eating it. What you need is the experience and knowledge to know when spoilage first starts. There is a definite change in smell and color of the meat so very close inspection is required during the aging process to ensure that it doesn’t go bad.

The biggest risks to any piece of meat that you buy from the store and attempt to age are all the things that happened to that meat before you picked it up. Any exposure to bacteria during butchering, packing or shipping can make that meat unsafe to age.

It is popular with many of the competition barbecue cooks to age their briskets. This is done for a short period of time and with sealed meats. The cryovac briskets can be held in your refrigerator for a week or two safely. It is debatable how much improvement you get out of this limited process.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Regina Paul

There are two kinds of aging when it comes to beef: wet aging and dry aging. Wet aging is when the beef is put into a vacuum sealed plastic bag and allowed to age in its own juices. Wet aging takes less time than dry aging, generally around seven days. Wet aging is the type of aging that most butchers do now. Dry aging is different though, and is actually when you want the beef to dry out. It takes anywhere from seven to twenty-one days to dry age beef. The reason people like dry aged beef is that the process allows the moisture in the muscle to evaporate, and this gives the meat a beefier flavor. Also, the beef is naturally tenderized because of the fact that the enzymes in the beef are breaking down. One thing to keep in mind is that you cannot dry age single steaks because they are too thin. For the purposes of this article you will need a piece of beef such as a whole ribeye or a whole loin strip.

Things You’ll Need

Rectangular pan that is only two inches or so deep

Several large immaculate white cotton dish towels

Step 1

Rinse your piece of beef with cold water.

Step 2

Dry the beef well with one or two large white dish towels. Set it aside for a minute and allow it to drain.

Step 3

Put your pan and wire rack on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator (because this is where it is coldest).

Step 4

Wrap your beef in another of your large white dish towels and put it on the rack. Using your thermometer measure the temperature, you don’t want a temperature any warmer than 36 degrees F.

Step 5

Change the towel(s) wrapping your beef daily. Empty and rinse the pan daily as well. This is to ensure that your beef stays as dry as possible and that hopefully no mold or any other kind of bacteria has a chance to start growing.

Step 6

Age your beef for ten days to two weeks. Cut off anything on the outer layer that is dry, crusty, or that seems like it could be bad for you to eat such as if you notice some green mold growing for example.

Step 7

Store dry aged beef in your refrigerator for up to twenty-one days. If you haven’t eaten all the beef in twenty-one days, cut the rest of it into steaks. Put it in freezer-proof, heavy duty plastic wrap, or plastic bags and put it in your freezer.

To get your white dish towels clean soak them in cold water overnight. Then soak them in cold salted water for 2 to 3 hours. This will get out any blood stains. Then just wash them like you normally would. Check your thermometer daily to make sure the temperature isn’t above 36 degrees F. If it is any warmer it could cause the meat to spoil. Use only USDA Prime or USDA Choice that is yield grade 1 or 2 only cuts of meat when dry aging beef. The reason for this is that these have a thick layer of fat that will prevent your beef from spoiling while you dry age it.

Warning

If you see anything on your beef that looks like it could harm you if you ate it at any time, be sure and cut it off right away, so there is little to any chance that you accidentally give yourself food poisoning. One thing to bear in mind before you decide to dry age beef at home is that The National Cattleman’s Beef Association does not endorse dry aging beef at home because of concerns about beef spoiling and people getting food poisoning. Only get into your refrigerator when you really need to. Don’t be constantly opening it to check on your beef as this could disrupt the even temperature necessary to dry age your beef, and could make the beef spoil before the process is complete.

How to Age Beef How to Age Beef How to Age Beef

How to Age Beef

Dry-aged beef has been the go-to on steak house and restaurant menus for years. And there’s 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 – it’s 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? It’s not as easy as simply leaving your steaks in the fridge wrapped in cheesecloth for a week, and some dedicated equipment is required.

Equipment needed

  • A refrigerator (a dedicated one for dry ageing is recommended)
  • A small fan
  • A tray
  • A wire rack

Using a dedicated refrigerator is the best way to ensure a good result. Sharing the fridge with other foods means your beef may pick up those flavours, and the differing moisture levels in the air mean less control of the dry-ageing process.

What cuts should you use to dry age beef?

You can’t dry-age individual steaks – you’ll 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.

Dry ageing your beef

Set up your fridge at a temperature of 1 to 3 degrees celsius (34 to 38 fahrenheit). Using a dedicated, high-quality digital thermometer is recommended, rather than trusting any on-board temperature gauge from the fridge itself.

Set up the small fan in the fridge to maintain air flow. Put the wire rack on top of your tray (this will catch any drips from the beef), and make sure the rack is elevated. This ensures airflow can reach the whole surface area of your beef.

Make sure the beef has been patted dry, place it on top of the rack and put into the refrigerator. Now the waiting game begins. Checking on your beef is fine but remember the more you open your refrigerator the more you are altering the environment and inviting external flavours in, so play it cool.

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 you’re 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-aged beef

So you’ve very patiently dry aged your beef, you’ve 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 it’s 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 (medium rare, of course).

A few things to remember

Dry ageing beef using professional equipment will deliver a different result to your home setup, so don’t 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, don’t push it further.

Posted by Jake Eller on May 28, 2019

How to Age Beef

How to Age Beef

Generally speaking, meat can be either dry-aged or wet-aged. The two techniques produce vastly different results within the same cuts of meat. It’s hard to say one tastes better than the other — they’re 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.

The first, and perhaps most important step, is to find out when your meat was originally killed and packed. Based on the date of packing, you can determine how long your window is for wet-aging. If you skip this step, chances are you’ll end up with a rotten piece of meat. Generally, the pack date will be printed on the case that the meat came in. Ask your butcher — chances are, he’ll be happy to provide that information. Or, if you’re feeling particularly hungry, feel free to buy the whole case!

As you probably know, loins come in vacuum-sealed bags. It’s important to double check the bag for leaks before going any further with this process. It’s possible (and easy) during transport for the seal to be punctured slightly, so make sure the meat is 100% air-tight.

One of the great things about wet-aging is how simple the process is — once you’ve got these aforementioned ducks in a row, the hard part is done! Place your loin in the fridge, and wait! We recommend anywhere from 30-60 days. As long as the loin is airtight sealed, mold and rot will not set in.

Once your aging is through, open her up! You will notice a distinct smell, but it shouldn’t smell rotten or spoiled. Trust us — you’ll know if it is. Give the loin a rinse in cold water, and then trim off any discolored or unwanted bits. From there, you’re good to go! It can be butchered and cooked just like any other cut you might buy, aged or otherwise.

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!

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You’ve probably been to a fancy steakhouse where dry-aged steaks were on the menu. But if you’re like me, you likely passed on them because 1) dry-aged beef is a bit pricier, and 2) you didn’t exactly know what it meant for a steak to be “dry-aged” in the first place.

After today you’ll understand what happens to a steak when it’s dry-aged (and why an aged steak consequently costs more).

What Is Dry-Aged Beef?

The steak you typically eat is fresh. It’s red and full of moisture, which makes it nice and juicy.

A dry-aged steak is, as you surely guessed, aged before eating. You can find steaks that have been dry-aged from 7 to even up to 120 days. The most common timeframe for a steak to be dry-aged is 30 days. The meat doesn’t spoil during this time, because you age it in conditions that tightly control the levels of moisture and bacteria.

During the dry-aging process, moisture is drawn out of the meat. This causes the beef flavor to become even beefier and more flavorful. What’s more, the aging process causes the beef’s natural enzymes to break down the connective tissue in the meat, making it more tender. A crust of fungus which grows on the outside of the meat while it ages furthers this tenderization process, while adding a nice, corn-like flavor to your beef (you scrape this fungal crust off before cooking).

Dry-aging is basically a controlled decomposition of the meat, which sounds kind of gross, but results in a meat that is 1) more flavorful and 2) more tender.

The longer a piece of beef has been dry-aged, the more flavorful and tender it will be.

In his book Meat, celebrity butcher and former podcast guest Pat LaFrieda gives a nice explanation of how the flavor and tenderness of a steak changes depending on how long it’s been dry-aged, which I’ve condensed and summarized below:

7 days: Collagen has just begun to break down, but the steak won’t have the flavor or texture qualities that you look for in a dry-aged steak. Steak is not sold as “aged” at this stage. The meat is still fairly bright, but it will darken as it ages and dries.

21 days: The steak loses 10 percent of its weight in the first 3 weeks through evaporation. The water seeps out the front and the back of the meat, but the fat and bone on the sides of the steak make the sides waterproof. Because meat shrinks, the steak will become more concave as it ages. Although the fat doesn’t shrink, it does darken in the aging process.

30 days: This is the most commonly requested age in steaks. The steak has developed the flavor and texture qualities associated with dry-aged meat: it is very tender, with a flavor best described as a mix of buttered popcorn and rare roast beef. At this point, the steak has lost 15 percent of its total weight.

45 days: The steak has a little bit more funk than the one aged 30 days. You’ll start noticing white striations in the meat which is a mixture of mold and salt. The steak has lost only a fraction more weight, and the flavor of the fat changes before the meat does, so it’s important not to trim off all the fat before you cook it.

90 days: The white crust develops even more. This crust protects the meat the same way a rind does with cheese. The exterior crust is shaved off the meat before it is sold.

120 days: Only a handful of very high-end restaurants buy steak that has been aged this long. The steak has lost 35 percent of its original weight. A steak aged this long has a very funky flavor and is also very expensive, so it’s for someone who really appreciates an unusually intense beef flavor.

A few months ago, I decided to finally give dry-aged steak a try. While most grocery stores don’t sell it (due to the time and money cost involved; more on that below), Reasor’s, a local grocery chain here Tulsa, does. I bought a steak dry-aged for 30 days and a fresh steak to compare the two.

Fresh steak on the left; dry-aged on the right.

If you’re buying dry-aged steak from a grocery store, you’ll want to cook it that day. Letting it sit in your fridge for a while will put the dry-aging process off-kilter. By letting it sit, it’s aging some more, albeit in sub-optimal conditions.

The dry-aged steak definitely tasted beefier and had that slight buttered popcorn flavor that LaFrieda described. It was also much, much more tender than the fresh steak.

To me, the dry-aged steak didn’t taste better than the fresh steak; it was just . . . different. I probably wouldn’t go out of my way or fork over extra cash for a dry-aged steak at a restaurant. But that’s just me.

Why Is Dry-Aged Beef More Expensive?

You’re going to look to spend a few more dollars for a dry-aged version of a steak. Why?

Because the process of getting it to that state takes a long time and requires special temperature, humidity, and air-flow controlled refrigerators. The fridges also have to be sterile and not have any bacteria in them. If the temp or humidity is too high or too low, the meat will spoil or not dry-age correctly.

Can I Dry-Age Beef at Home?

Yes, but it takes a lot of work.

There are guides out there that show you how you can dry-age steak at home. Some guides claim you can do it in your regular fridge by putting the meat in layers of cheesecloth and letting it sit for a few days. But can you really?

I asked Pat LaFrieda about this during my podcast interview with him last year, and he said this :

“It’s almost impossible to do at home, unless you have a refrigerator that was dedicated to that, and one in which you could read the internal temperature of the refrigerator, and the humidity. The humidity’s got to be controlled. We have several systems that take the moisture out of the air. It’s very difficult to do at home . . . It’s not worth your time.”

The inconsistent temperature and humidity in your fridge from regularly opening and closing the door will upset the dry-aging process and cause unwanted and unhealthy bacterial growth. What’s more, the meat will likely soak up flavors inside of your fridge. You’ve probably eaten unwrapped butter that’s been sitting in your fridge. It tastes like . . . fridge. And it’s gross. Your meat will likely taste like that sitting in your fridge for several days or even weeks.

If you are going to dry-age meat at home, you’ll want to make a special fridge just for that process. Here’s a YouTube video of some guy’s version of that.

Unless you plan on making dry-aging beef your hobby (like home-brewing beer or roasting coffee beans), you’re better off just buying it from the store.

Listen to my podcast with Pat for a primer on all things meat:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

eHow Contributor

Since wet aged beef is more economical than dry aged beef, you’re more likely to find it in restaurants and grocery stores. You can easily wet age cuts of beef at home if you own a vacuum-sealer. While it may lack the depth of flavor you’ll find in dry-aged beef, this process tenderizes the meat without reducing its weight. Enzymes break down muscle tissue as the beef ages, resulting in a tender cut of meat.

How to Age Beef

Things You’ll Need

Refrigerator with precise temperature control

Step 1

Select a prime cut of beef, such as a filet or tenderloin. Use your vacuum sealer to enclose the meat in plastic.

Step 2

Place the sealed bag in the coldest part of your refrigerator, usually the bottom shelf or a special meat drawer. The airtight seal will prevent the meat from absorbing odors.

Step 3

Leave the sealed beef in the refrigerator for no longer than a week. Cut the meat out of the plastic when you’re ready to cook it.

Your butcher may vacuum seal the beef for a small cost if you don’t own a vacuum sealer.

Warning

Don’t age beef for more than a week. Beef that’s wet aged for longer than seven days must be stored by professionals in a precisely controlled environment to prevent harmful bacteria from growing on the meat.

More Information About Dry Aged Beef! What is the Difference Between Dry Aged and Wet Aged Beef? Dry Aging Beef to Increase Its’ Tenderness Almost EVERYTHING You Need to Know About Dry Aged Beef!

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Most national meat producers (and well-known mail-order houses) vacuum pack meat in plastic, then refrigerate it for several days or even weeks. This Cryovac-wrapping is called “wet aging” which produces a tender, soft steak, with little shrinkage – but the flavor is mild – not to say bland.

A dry aged steak is firm, yet tender at the same time, with a nutty, robust, richly beefy flavor – but is very expensive because the dry aging process causes a dramatic loss of weight (as much as 15-20%) due to shrinkage and trimming.

A nationally known butcher named Merle Ellis discovered a technique for dry aging beef at home. Here are the complete directions he offered some years ago for this technique.

Be sure to follow each step carefully, for safety’s sake.

1. Only the top grades of beef can be dry aged successfully. Use USDA Prime or USDA Choice – Yield Grade 1 or 2 (the highest quality of Choice) only. These have a thick layer of fat on the outside to protect the meat from spoiling during the aging process.

2. Buy a whole rib-eye or loin strip. [You cannot age individual steaks.] Unwrap it, rinse it well with cold water, and allow it to drain; then pat it very dry with paper towels.

3. Wrap the meat in immaculately clean, large, plain white cotton dish towels and place it on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator – which is the coldest spot.

4. Change the towels each day, replacing the moisture-soiled towels with fresh. Continue to change towels as needed for 10 days, to 2 weeks. (See Step #7 for cleaning towels.)

5. After the desired aging time, you’re ready to cut off steaks from each end, trim as desired, and allow the rest to continue to age in the refrigerator.

6. If, after 21 days, you have not eaten all the meat, cut the remaining piece into steaks, wrap each steak in freezer-proof, heavy-duty plastic wrap, and freeze. The steaks will keep for several months in the freezer.

7. To clean the towels for re-use, soak the soiled towels, immediately upon removing them from the meat, in cold water overnight. Next, soak them in cold, salted water for 2-3 hours to remove any blood stains. Then launder as usual. [In olden days, butchers used to cover sides of beef with cotton “shrouds” during the aging process – this is essentially the same thing.]

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Best Answers

The idea is that you seal a cut of beef in some sort of special bag that allows you to safely age it at home. Supposedly, it aids in aging by allowing moisture out, but letting no air in. Supposedly, it aids in aging by allowing moisture out, but letting no air in. read more

Dry-aged beef has a remarkable depth of flavor, but it can be expensive and hard to come by. The good news is that if you have a refrigerator, you can dry-age beef at home. The good news is that if you have a refrigerator, you can dry-age beef at home. read more

If you want to dry-age beef at home, you’ll need to start out with a large cut of top-grade, USDA Prime beef. Dry-aging needs to be done before a roast is cut into individual steaks, so go with something like a large rib roast, three ribs minimum. Also, be sure to buy a cut that still has a thick cap of fat on its exterior. This way, that side will only lose fat when you trim the exterior at the end of the aging process. read more

First, a brief rundown on why you might want to age meat. Conventional wisdom cites three specific goals of dry-aging meat, all of which contribute toward improving its flavor or texture. Moisture loss might be a major one. A dry-aged piece of beef can lose up to around 30% of its initial volume due to water loss, which concentrates its flavor. read more

How to dry-age beef at home One: Buy a prime or choice boneless beef rib or loin roast from the best meat source in your area. Two: Unwrap the beef, rinse it well, and pat it dry with paper towels. read more

Instead, dry-aging takes dedicated equipment, time, and large, primal cuts. If you want to dry-age beef at home, you’ll need to start out with a large cut of top-grade, USDA Prime beef. Dry-aging needs to be done before a roast is cut into individual steaks, so go with something like a large rib roast, three ribs minimum. read more

Dry Aging Prime Rib

Dry aging prime rib at home is not for the meek. Or the impatient. To do it right, we went straight to the expert, Chef John, for guidance. “After lots of research, I decided I’d have to age the prime rib at least 30 days for any noticeable change in flavor,” he told us. “It ended up going for 42 days.” That’s six weeks! So if you’re thinking about dry-aging your own prime rib of beef for the holidays this year, you’ll need to plan ahead. Here’s how to dry age your prime rib:

What You’ll Need to Dry Age Prime Rib

1 10-pound prime rib with bones attached and a fair amount of fat on top
3 types of salt (Kosher salt, coarse sea salt, Himalayan pink salt)
Cold water
Sheet pan with rims
Roasting rack
Room in the fridge (a dedicated fridge works best)

How to Dry Age Prime Rib

Watch the video for key tips from Chef John for dry aging, including tips on how to trim a dry-aged prime rib. Follow along with the steps below, and take a peek at Chef John’s recipe for Dry-Aged Prime Rib.

Step 1.
Clean the surface of the prime rib with salt water. Dissolve about 2 teaspoons of kosher salt in a half cup of cold water. Dip a paper towel into the salty water and wipe down the prime rib.

Step 2.
Grab a rimmed sheet pan and pour onto it about 1.5 cups of course sea salt and about a half cup of Himalayan pink salt, enough salt to cover the surface of the pan completely. Why salt on a tray? Chef John explains, “People say the salt will help control the humidity and purify the air. whatever that means.”

Place a roasting rack on top of the salted sheet pan. Then set your prime rib on the rack.

Step 3.
Put the prime rib in the fridge, uncovered, and allow to age for between 30 and 40 days. If you have a spare fridge, stick it in there. A spare fridge that’s completely dedicated to this operation is preferable but not essential; it’s best to leave the prime rib in a fridge that won’t be opened and closed repeatedly — the temperature stays steady.

The temperature in the refrigerator should stay between 34 to 38 degrees F (1 to 3 degrees C).

Step 4.
Wait for your prime rib to get funky. After two weeks, Chef John noticed his prime rib was getting dark and dry, as it should.

Step 5.
After about 30 to 45 days (about 6 weeks), remove prime rib from the fridge. It should be dark and dry and have a “subtle, pleasantly funky smell.” Why 30 to 45 days? As Chef John explains: “Less than 30 days, not much happens; after 45 days, maybe too much happens.”

Step 6.
As needed, trim any hard, dry surfaces and fat. You’ll notice that during the aging process the prime rib loses weight. Chef John’s 10 pound prime rib weighed in at 8 pounds after aging for 42 days.

Step 7.
Place the prime rib on a roasting rack to rest. The next step is to salt the meat. But before that, you’ll want to spray the surface with water — the water helps the salt adhere to the meat. Salt the meat very generously with kosher salt. Put the prime rib in the fridge for between 24 and 48 hours to let the meat absorb the salt.

Step 8.
Remove the prime rib from the fridge and cover it loosely with aluminum foil. Let it warm up slightly, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C). When preheated, roast away at high heat for 20 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 300° F (150° C), insert a probe thermometer into the prime rib, and roast at the lower temperature for another 90 minutes or until it reaches your preferred doneness: 125° F (52° C) for rare, 130° F (54° C) for medium-rare, or 135° F (57° C) for medium.

Let the prime rib rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Save the rendered beef fat for this authentic Yorkshire pudding recipe.

Chef John’s Conclusion

OK, so now for the verdict. Was this six-week labor of love worth the wait? Chef John thinks. it depends. Yes, the prime rib was extremely juicy and tender. And the aging process likely concentrated the beefy flavor and helped make the meat more tender. So that’s all good. But Chef John was expecting more of the funky flavors that typically develop with dry-aged beef. That was lacking here, he found. Of course, your dry-aging mileage may vary. Certainly dry-aging your prime rib for six weeks will create a delicious holiday main dish and a pretty good story for the table to boot. But if dry-aging is maybe more commitment than you’re ready for, give Chef John’s Perfect Prime Rib a try. It’s ready in about six hours not six weeks.

Check out our collection of Prime Rib Recipes.

The process of aging might be scary when it comes to the human body. But in the case of various types of meats and cheeses, it can do wonders. Especially in the case of dry-aged beef, the process of aging makes the beef so much more delicious and flavorful than its freshly cut counterparts.

So, one might ask: what is dry-aging? Here’s a detailed description of what dry-aging is, what it does for the beef, and how you can do it at home.

What is Dry-Aging?

The dry-aging process involves preparing the beef for consumption. In this process, a large number of unwrapped cuts of meat are hung or placed in a humidity-controlled environment. Temperature, air circulation, and bacteria levels are strictly regulated. It’s essentially a controlled decomposition of the muscle.

Lipids in the muscle break over time, resulting in weight loss in the form of moisture. When all of this moisture is drawn out of the meat, it yields a more tender texture and richer flavor. This process might not seem that complicated but even the slightest mistake can cause you great loss.

For instance, the temperature must be 37 to 38 degrees, or else the meat doesn’t age properly. Many people assume that the meat is kept in a freezing environment, which is nowhere near the case. Keeping the meat in a freezing environment actually makes the aging process slower and isn’t convenient for the breakdown of lipids in the connective tissues.

Nevertheless, since dehydration makes meat lose its weight, it should be cropped of its dried exterior completely, as it’s not edible.

How Tenderness and Flavor of Steak Changes Over Time

Here’s a summary of the aging process of a fresh beef cut:

7 Days

Collagen just begins to break down around the seven days. However, the beef won’t have the rich flavor and tender texture of a dry-aged beef steak. And the meat will still be fairly bright.

21 Days

The beef loses about 10 percent of its weight around 3 weeks due to dehydration. The moisture seeps out of the front and the back of the meat. Although the fat doesn’t shrink as much as we are looking for, it does darken by 21 days.

30 Days

This is the most commonly requested and the most ideal age in steaks. By now the steak has developed the flavor and the tender texture associated with a good piece of dry-aged beef. At this point, beef has lost up to 15 percent of its weight and has a rich dark color to it. The flavor of a 30-day aged steak can be described as a mix of better popcorn and rare roast beef.

45 Days

The beef has a bit more of a funk to it than the 30-day aged beef. White striations of mold and salt start appearing more and the beef will have lost a fraction more of its weight.

90 days

The white crust has developed even more by now. The crust protects the meat. This crust is the inedible part of the meat. It is shaved/trimmed off the meat before selling it.

120 Days

Steaks this old are very rarely found, only a handful of restaurants serve steaks that are aged this long. The steak loses 35 percent of its original weight by now. Steaks of this age or older are only for a handful of people as it has a very strong funk taste and intense beef flavor.

What Makes Dry-Aged Beef So Expensive?

So what exactly makes dry-aged beef so expensive, one might ask themselves? Well by now, you know how time-consuming and complex the process of dry-aging is. It’s equally as costly.

All the utilities needed for this process costs thousands of dollars. Moreover, for properly improving the quality of the cut of meat, the fat is eventually distributed throughout the meat. Only the highest grades have this type of marketing technology. Hence, this is why dry-aged beef is so expensive and is rarely available outside of restaurants.

The Reason Dry-Aged Beef Tastes Indulging

All of the fresh beef needs at least 12 days to allow the enzymes existing in the meat to naturally breakdown the muscle tissue. These days, most beef is wet-aged. In this process, it’s wrapped in plastic and then aged. On the other hand, dry-aged beef is exposed to air. So the dehydration further concentrates the flavor of the meat.

The aged beef is way more succulent and a mellower yet has a beefier flavor than wet-aged beef. This difference between wet-aged beef and dry-aged beef is just like wine and grape juice. Both wine and grape juice come from the same ingredients, but since one is fermented, it has a unique rich flavor to it.

Just like that wet-aged beef is great, everyone loves a juicy hamburger but it can’t compete with the taste of a steak. It can’t give your taste buds the same experience as a delicious cut of a well-aged steak.

Can You Dry-Age Beef at Home?

The answer is yes, you can dry-age beef at home. However, it’s a very time-consuming process and takes a lot of hard work to do.

How to Dry-Age Beef at Home

So for the dry-aging process, you’ll need a fresh cut piece of beef of your choice. After you have the beef, the process of dry-aging begins.

Ron Torell, University of Nevada Extension livestock specialist | Aug 15, 2008

The approximate age of cattle may be determined by examining the teeth as illustrated in Diagram 1. The tooth method of aging cattle involves noting the time of appearance and the degree of wear on the temporary and permanent teeth.

The temporary or milk teeth, are easily distinguished from the permanent teeth by their smaller size and whiter color. At maturity, cattle have 32 teeth, eight of which are incisors in the lower jaw. The two central incisors are known as pinchers; the third pair are called second intermediates or laterals; and the outer pair are known as the corners. There are no upper incisor teeth; only the thick, hard dental pad.

The tooth method of aging cattle is more accurate when animals are grazed for their entire life on “soft feed” (irrigated pasture). Under rough feed conditions, such as desert rangelands, teeth are worn at a much faster rate. Under rough feed conditions, accuracy of aging cattle is reduced, particularly in animals over five years of age where tooth wear is the only indicator.

Adjusting the accompanying chart to match feed conditions is essential to accurately determine the age of cattle. The best way to adjust the accompanying age chart to an individual ranch is to examine teeth of individuals with known ages and adjust the scale depending on wear.

Becoming proficient at aging cattle by the tooth method requires practical experience and a lot of practice. It also requires theoretical knowledge of the information presented in Diagram 1.

A second method of aging cattle involves reading the brucellosis tattoo in the right ear of female cattle. The tattoo (if legible) will reveal the year that the cow was a weaned calf and brucellosis vaccinated.

The first digit of the tattoo represents the quarter of the year that the animal was vaccinated. For example, a two would mean the animal was brucellosis-vaccinated in April, May or June. The middle portion of the tattoo is a shield.

The last number is the year the animal was vaccinated. For example, a 7 would mean the animal was vaccinated in 1997, as a calf. The calf could have been born in 1996 or during 1997. Brucellosis tags don’t reveal the year of birth, only vaccination.

It’s hard to get a more flavorful piece of beef than filet mignon. However, you can kick up the flavor even more by dry-aging filet mignon at home. By purchasing regular filet mignon at the store and dry-aging it at home, you’ll save money and still enjoy the concentrated flavor of dry-aged beef. Once you get the dry-aging process down, you’ll never want to prepare your steaks any other way. The only catch is that it takes a few days of preparation, and you don’t want to age your steak more than three days, or it will spoil.

Cut strips of cheesecloth about 4 inches wide, depending on the size of your steaks. Cut the strips wide enough so that the width perfectly covers the steaks.

Wrap the cheesecloth around each filet so that you have about four layers of cheesecloth on each side of the steak. Carefully wrap the filets so that you cover the steak entirely; don’t leave any part of the steak exposed or peeking through the cheesecloth.

Once you’ve wrapped your steaks in the layers of cheesecloth, place them on a wire rack. Space them out so that the steaks aren’t touching.

Place the wire rack in the back of a clean refrigerator. Avoid placing them near any foods with aromas that may be soaked up by the precious filets. Place a box of baking soda next to your steak to help fend off any odors that may be lingering in your fridge, despite your best efforts.

Leave the steaks in the fridge for eight to 12 hours, but no longer than three days or you risk spoilage. Age a filet mignon, which is a smaller cut of steak, for only a day or two. The aged steak is ready when it looks brown and crusty. Discard the steak if you notice an unappetizing odor.

How to Age Beef

Meat eaters tend to fall into two categories — those who love their dry-aged beef and those who don’t. Dry-aged beef can be an acquired taste. However, if you’re a true protein aficionado, you probably can’t resist occasionally ordering a dry-aged steak off the menu.

Dry-aged beef isn’t something you have to enjoy in a restaurant. In addition to buying it, you can learn how to dry age beef at home. It’s a delicate, long process that produces some fantastic meat you’ll be proud to serve up during holidays or special occasions.

What Is Dry-Aged Beef?

What makes beef dry? The easiest way to explain the process is that dry-aging beef is a lot like aging cheese. In both cases, cultures get added and the ingredient is allowed to ferment for weeks or months.

The meat you usually buy at your supermarket has been wet-aged or vacuum-packed and refrigerated. Wet aging works because it reduces waste. However, some meat lovers complain that wet-aged beef takes on a metallic flavor instead of the funky, earthy complexity of a dry-aged cut of beef.

How Can You Dry Age Steak at Home?

At this point, you’re probably on board with dry aging beef in your house. But if you’re game to go all-in with aging steaks at home, we encourage you to avoid winging it, as tempting as it may be. You need a refrigerator with wire racks dedicated to the process. The refrigerator can’t contain anything other than your dry-aged beef. Many people invest in wine refrigerators because they take up less room and have cool glass doors so you can keep an eye on your aging meat.

Next, you need to add some kind of fan to your refrigerator to provide constant air circulation. As your meat ages at a consistent temperature of between 36-39 degrees Fahrenheit, you want oxygen to constantly surround the star of your show.

Finally, you need a great cut of meat — a hunk of something such as a loin roast that you will cut apart after it ages. Don’t skimp on quality, and make sure you rinse it and pat it completely dry. If possible, see if you can get a piece of meat that is already dry aged as a culture “starter” in your fridge. The bacteria already in the dry-aged beef will activate your refrigerator and turn it into the perfect location for dry aging meats.

Place the meat directly on the wire rack with a pan below to catch any moisture droplets. Then, keep the fridge and fan running and wait. You may not see much of a change until about four to six weeks later. At that point, some mold may develop, not to mention unusual smells. That’s okay. Keep aging until you reach at least the two-month mark.

How to Safely Prepare and Cook Dry-Age Beef at Home

After dry aging your beef at home, you can take it out of the fridge when it’s purple or dark. Set up your kitchen so you can dedicate time to cut off all the excess mold, dehydrated tough outer skin and anything else that shouldn’t be there. Don’t worry if the meat inside has become a deeper color.

After you trim the meat, cut it into steaks. You’ll probably end up with much less meat than you started with, but it’s going to be awesome. Try your favorite smoker grill recipe and enjoy the kudos from everyone who relishes a steak with a nutty taste and tender texture.

Note that dry-aging meat is difficult to do correctly. Please consult a professional before attempting to do this at home.

How to age beef

Yield: 2 servings

Measure Ingredient
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Sometimes people are disappointed with the beef they buy because it has not been properly aged. While aging beef is a simple porcess, it is expensive beacues it requires that producers store meat for at least 21 days at 34F-38F. Only the top grades of beef – Prime and Choice – can be aged, because they have a substantial layer of fat on the outside the keeps the meat inside from spoiling during the aging process. Merle Ellis’s friend, Al Cooper, shared with Merle the secret of how to age beef in the refrigerator. Buy a rib-eye or loin strip on sale – either Prime or Choice. Take the meat out of the plastic wrap and rinse it with cold water. Let it drain, then pat it dry with paper towels. Wrap the meat in a large white cotton dish towel and place the package on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator.

The next day, unwrap the meat and wrap it in a fresh towel. Continue changing the towel as often as necessary for 10-14 days – and you are ready to start enjoying good steaks. Cut steaks from each end as needed and let the remaining meat continue to age in the refrigerator. Or, if you eat steak rarely, cut the entire piece of aged meat into steaks, wrap each one in heavy duty plastic wrap, and freeze until ready to use. Don’t forget to label them with the date.

To clean the dishtowels, soak each one as you finish using it in cold water overnight. Next, soak the towels in cold salt water for 2-3 hours, and then launder as usual. Origin: Cooking with Regis & Kathie Lee Shared by: Sharon Stevens, Nov/94. Submitted By SHARON STEVENS On 11-20-94

If you haven’t tried dry-aged beef, let’s just say you’re seriously missing out.

This mouthwatering preparation is synonymous with the world’s top steakhouses, expensive restaurants, high-end butchers, holiday dinners and other special occasions. In other words, it’s super exclusive—and super pricey!

So, what’s the story with dry-aging? What is it, why do restaurants do it, and is it possible to execute at home?

Why dry age beef?

To start, it’s important to understand that ALL beef is aged to a certain extent. Once cattle are raised, slaughtered and cleaned, enzymes need time to break down and moisture must evaporate for the cut to achieve optimal flavor and texture.

Your local butcher or grocer likely covers beef in Saran wrap, puts it in the fridge, and calls it a day (the process is known as ‘wet drying’). This is perfectly fine, but for those in search of gourmet greatness, the ‘dry’ method takes aging to another level.

Assuming you have the time, patience and resources, dry-aging results in richer, meatier flavor and amazingly tender texture. The technique is quite a pain to implement, making it a truly special ‘treat.’

How do restaurants dry age beef?

Whether the process is performed by a butcher, the steakhouse itself or some other private preparer, there is very little variation in procedure. Beef is hung from the ceiling (think of the famous scene in Rocky) or placed on a rack to dry for anywhere from a week to months depending on your preferred outcome. No cling wrap. No coverings.

Over time, the meat’s exterior will begin to form a layer of mold as a result of air exposure. While you may think this spoils the beef, it’s actually the exact result you want. Right before cooking, the chef slices off this hardened crust to reveal the still-fresh cut underneath. And of course, it’s juicier and more flavorful than ever.

Why is dry-aged beef so expensive?

Exceptionally tender and bursting with deep, rich, beefy flavor, dry-aged steak is so delicious, it’s a mystery why butchers would bother with any other aging process. But despite all the foodie fanfare, there are plenty of downsides to this technique, which is why it is so expensive and hard to come by.

  • The process takes awhile. Think of it this way. As a restaurant owner, you only have so much space in the walk-in. If the majority of your shelves are devoted to provisions that need weeks and weeks to age, that means less room for other ingredients you could serve up in seconds.
  • The beef loses its weight. Unlike other methods, dry aging removes so much moisture that the cut loses up to a third of its original size. Some butchers even report as much as 40%. That’s a pretty big disappointment for consumers who equate BIG cuts with BIGGER value.
  • You need high-quality meat. The process may be universal, but dry aging works best on high-grade meats, which have ideal fat content and distribution throughout the steak. This means preparation is not only time-consuming—but also costly!

Is dry aging worth it?

Yes. Please believe us.

Although the process sounds so painstaking, there’s a reason why the nation’s top steakhouses put this delicacy at the top of the menu (and command top prices for it).

On the topic of taste: Earlier, we described dry-aged beef as ‘rich’ in flavor. While wet-aged versions are more watery and bland, the steak’s natural ‘meat’ flavor is super concentrated when dry-aged. Also, the cheesy, moldy exterior (even after it’s removed) infuses the beef with a certain nuttiness—of course, in a pleasant way. The process adds another level of flavor that is truly delectable.

On the topic of texture: Exposure to air helps break down the beef’s enzymes much faster than typical aging. With muscle fibers mostly gone, the steak becomes incredibly tender, juicy, smooth and buttery. Absolutely no chewiness or gristle to be found. It may be smaller in size, but the meat’s density increases the longer it dry-ages. After the last bite, you’ll still be full and satisfied.

How to dry age beef at home

The average home chef isn’t working with a professional refrigerator box or similar supplies. But is it possible to dry age beef from the comfort of your kitchen? Absolutely. Clear out some room in the fridge, and let’s get to work.

We’ll start with a fairly simple, somewhat speedier method of dry aging. Online enthusiasts say it works great. Then, we’ll dive into some more professional details you may want to consider when dry aging beef at home.

The simple method

  • Step 1: Go to a decent butcher or high-end supermarket and purchase a top-grade, USDA prime cut of beef, preferably of the large primal variety.
  • Step 2: Clean the beef, completely dry with paper towels, and loosely wrap in cheesecloth. At this stage, do not trim any fat.
  • Step 3: Place the meat on a rack over a baking tray, and set in fridge.
  • Step 4: Let dry age in refrigerator for 3 to 7 days; periodically unwrap the cheesecloth and reapply to prevent the exterior from sticking.
  • Step 5: Before baking, searing or grilling, remove the cheesecloth completely and use a sharp chef’s knife to cut away the dried crust that has formed. Leave most of the fat intact.
  • Step 6: Slice into steaks or roast the entire thing, whatever way you like!

Tips for quality control

While this 6-step process seems relatively simple, experts say it’s not on par with the professional results you see in a world-class steakhouse. This is no surprise. Still, it’s best to start out easy, then work your way up to a more elaborate dry-aging production.
So, whether you’re just starting out or want to hone your craft, consider these key points while dry aging beef.

  • Chefs say the ‘cheesecloth method’ dehydrates steaks, but doesn’t exactly ‘dry age’ them. While the results are similar, the pros recommend aging for a minimum of 2-3 weeks in order for enzymes to adequately break down (whether or not you cover the beef).
  • Most home chefs don’t have a dedicated refrigerator for dry aging. Naturally, this comes highly recommended. The fact is, placing a fresh cut in the fridge with other foods will lead to flavor contamination. We know it’s a serious expense, but one worth considering.
  • Place a small fan in the fridge to consistently circulate air and speed up the aging process.
  • While 2-4 weeks helps tenderize the cut, experts say that rich, beefy taste is only achieved at 4-6 weeks, while a signature dry-aged aroma arrives at 6+ weeks.
  • Avoid checking the beef at all costs. Open the door sparingly, as every time air escapes, moisture and airflow levels are ‘thrown off.’ You also run the risk of introducing odors from outside.
  • Adjust your cook time to account for dry aging. Since the beef has less moisture, it’s easy to overcook the steak and dry it out even further. For so much work, ruining the cut would be a disaster!

Think you have the butchers’ gene? Let us know how it goes!

i have a basic idea of the process. i have an extra frig and want to modify it to age beef does anyone know how to do this or a website that would tell me how to modify my frig to age beef?

4 Answers

1. Only the top grades of beef can be dry aged successfully. Use Prime or heavy Choice (the highest quality of Choice) only. These have a thick layer of fat on the outside to protect the meat from spoiling during the aging process.

2. Buy a whole rib-eye or loin strip. [You cannot age individual steaks.] Unwrap it, rinse it well with cold water, allow it to drain; then pat it very dry with paper towels.

3. Wrap the meat in immaculately clean, large, plain white cotton dish towel(s) and place it on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator – which is the coldest spot.

4. Change the towel(s) each day, replacing the moisture-soiled towel(s) with fresh. Continue to change towels as needed for 10 days, to 2 weeks. (See Step #7 for cleaning towels.)

5. After the desired aging time, you’re ready to cut off steaks from each end, trim as desired, (enjoy!) and allow the rest to continue to age in the refrigerator.

6. If, after 21 days, you have not eaten all the meat, cut the remaining piece into steaks, wrap each steak in freezer-proof , heavy-duty plastic wrap, and freeze. The steaks will keep for several months in the freezer.

7. To clean the towels for re-use, soak the soiled towels, immediately upon removing them from the meat, in cold water overnight. Next, soak them in cold, salted water for 2-3 hours to remove any blood stains. Then launder as usual. [In olden days, butchers used to cover sides of beef with cotton “shrouds” during the aging process – this is essentially the same thing.]

How to Age Beef

There are many ways to dry age a standing rib roast, but this is by far the safest and easiest way to get those thick, meaty, mouthwatering steaks that taste like heaven…

You will need

  • Beef rib roast
  • Umai “Short Loin & Brisket” set
  • Umai “Vac Mouse” vacuum aid

How To Dry Age A Standing Rib Roast At Home (35 Days)

For this guide we used a Black Angus USDA choice beef roast. If you purchase your meat behind the counter, the butcher might offer to separate the bones from the meat, kindly decline, as the bones are needed in tact for this recipe.

If your beef roast comes packaged, remove the meat from the wrapping. Next, take measures to protect the Umai bag from the sharp bones. Use parchment baking paper (alternatively, paper towels). Moisten it and fold in half, then lay it along the edge of the roast to cover the bone ends.

Place the roast inside a bag (small end first). Make sure the pieces of parchment/paper towel stay in place. Vacuum seal the food bag as shown in the video guide, without worrying too much about air bubbles. The main goal is to make the food bag adhere to the meat.

Place the meat in the fridge. Make sure there is good air circulation around your meat. If your shelves do not have gaps in them, use a cookie wire rack or something similar to allow for the air to flow. After 5 days, turn the meat over. Repeat every 5 days for 35 days total.After 35 days have passed, remove the sealed beef roast from the fridge. Cut the bag open and remove the parchment/paper towel.

You now know how to dry age a standing rib roast!

Finally, the last step before grilling: trimming the roast. First, remove the dark bark that has developed on the outside. Then, as you would for spare ribs, remove the membrane from the ribs using your hands. And to finish it off (purely for the coolness factor), French the bones, making them stick out from the roast and removing the meat from in between them (you can use this “scrap” meat for some killer burgers). Clean up the bones and separate the steaks.

You should now have some crazy thick cowboy beef steaks to throw on your grill.

How to Age Beef

You may have seen dry aged meat for sale in upscale restaurants and grocery stores. It’s a pricey treat, highly sought after for its rich flavor profile and delicate texture. The process of dry aging breaks down some of the muscular tissue, making the end product both tastier and more tender. In the dining world, this method is considered superior to wet aging, which can leave meat saturated with undesirable additives.

Because dry aged meat is more highly regarded than wet-aged or non-aged meat, and because the process involves cutting down a larger piece of meat into what will ultimately be the edible finished product, these tasty products cost a pretty penny. Luckily, you can dry age at home for almost no extra cost! If you’re a meat afficionado, you should understand this process. It may be easier than you think.

Step 1 – Pick a High Quality Meat to Dry Age

If you’re going to the trouble of dry aging your meat, you want it to be good enough to merit the investment. The highest grade of beef in the USA is USDA certified “prime.”

Other meats, like pork, poultry, venison, and even fish can be aged, too. One limiting factor is size—since you’ll end up cutting off parts of your meat at the end, you’ll want to start with a fairly large chunk. A small bird or fish might not be worth the bother, but a large rib roast is a perfect starting ingredient. If you try to dry age an individual steak, you’ll end up disappointed by how much it shrinks and how much you have to cut off.

How to Age Beef

Step 2 – Cut Off the Fat

Don’t break the meat down into steaks yet, just trim the outside fat as much as possible. Cut slowly and carefully so you remove just fat, not meat.

Step 3 – Set Up Your Fridge

It’s a good idea to pick a dedicated refrigerator for this job, maybe a small or medium sized fridge you have hanging out in your garage or basement. You don’t want to put your meat in your main fridge to age because it can pick up flavors from other foods, and this will affect the taste. Trying to dry age meat in a regular fridge can also make the moisture levels unbalanced.

Place a small, electric fan inside to provide a steady airflow inside the fridge. Run the cord out the front door along the bottom liner, keeping it as flat as possible.

The fridge temperature should be between 29 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 4 – Prep Your Tray

Place a wire rack on top of a large, flat tray. The tray will collect drippings that will fall through the rack. The bottom of the rack needs to sit up off the tray to encourage this process. Otherwise, your meat will end up sitting in its own drippings and this will ruin the drying.

Step 5 – Position Your Meat

Put the meat in the middle of the rack. Make sure it’s solidly in place and that the rack and tray fully support it all the way around.

How to Age Beef

Step 6 – Begin the Aging

Place the meat, rack, and tray inside the fridge. Just like that, and you have started to dry age your beef. In a matter of weeks, you’ll be feasting.

How long should you dry age meat after it’s in the fridge? That all depends on the result you want. The beef will be noticeably more tender after two to four weeks. You can test a little piece after the first couple of weeks to see how the flavor is developing. After about four to six weeks, the meat will have a distinct dry age taste.

If you really want the flavor profile to develop, wait six to eight weeks. You can nibble every now and then to taste test, but remember that you will affect the moisture level inside the refrigerator every single time you open the door. Try to avoid too many taste tests, or you will affect the final result. Remove your meat when it has the rich flavor you’re looking for.

Other kinds of meat will age faster. Fish, turkey, and duck might max out after three or four days, chicken can dry between one and two weeks (brine first for best results), pork and venison should dry between three and four weeks. Some kitchens flash boil especially sensitive meats like duck before dry aging, to reduce the danger of bacteria. Another approach, especially useful with fish, is to remove and clean the meat each day to discourage bacterial growth.

Step 7 – Trim

Once your meat is ready to cook, take it out and remove any parts that are now moldy or tough. A little mold is very normal and relatively harmless. Simply remove it—the rest of the meat can be consumed safely. While trimming the mold, you might want to remove any fat still remaining on the meat as well.

Step 8 – Cut Your Servings

Cut your meat into steaks of your preferred thickness and shape—you’re ready to cook!

Bone-in Prime Rib Roast

How to Dry-Age Beef at Home
Dry-aged beef has a remarkable depth of flavor, but it can be expensive and hard to come by. The good news is that if you have a refrigerator, you can dry-age beef at home.

by Jennifer Armentrout

fromFine Cooking
Issue 69

If you’ve had the good fortune of tasting dry-aged beef, then you know that it has a remarkable depth of flavor. Unfortunately for those of us who don’t have a high-end butcher or serious steakhouse nearby, dry-aged beef can be hard to come by without involving FedEx and a big credit card charge. But the good news is that if you have a refrigerator, you can dry-age beef at home.

Why dry-aged beef tastes better
All fresh beef is aged for at least few days and up to several weeks to allow enzymes naturally present in the meat to break down the muscle tissue, resulting in improved texture and flavor. These days, most beef is aged in plastic shrink-wrap—a process known as wet-aging. Dry-aged beef, on the other hand, is exposed to air so dehydration can further concentrate the meat’s flavor. It’s a more expensive process than wet-aging, however, because the meat loses weight from dehydration, and it also must be trimmed of its completely dried exterior.

We dry-aged a previously wet-aged boneless beef rib roast from our local market in one of our test kitchen refrigerators for three days. We had another rib roast from the same steer which we left in its plastic wrap to continue aging for the same amount of time. After roasting, we tasted them side by side. The dry-aged roast was more succulent and had a mellower yet beefier flavor than the wet-aged roast, which tasted watery by comparison. Next, we dry-aged another roast for seven days, and we were blown away by the flavor. Despite the loss of 20% of its original weight, we’re convinced that for a truly special occasion, like a Christmas or New Year’s dinner, dry-aged beef is worth the time and expense.

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How To Age Beef Tenderloin

Oct. 18, 2010

“fid”:”537786″,”viewmode”:”wysiwyg”,”fields”:”format”:”wysiwyg”,”type”:”media”,”attributes”:”alt”:””,”title”:”Aged beef Tenderloin”,”style”:”border-top-width: 1px border-right-width: 1px border-bottom-width: 1px border-left-width: 1px border-top-style: solid border-right-style: solid border-bottom-style: solid border-left-style: solid margin-left: 3px margin-right: 3px margin-top: 3px margin-bottom: 3px float: left width: 260px height: 195px “,”class”:”media-element file-wysiwyg”Commercially available dry aged beef tastes divine and as much as it is divine, it is also expensive . A low cost alternative is to age fresh beef tenderloin at home. Learn with us how to age beef tenderloin and enjoy the deep flavor of aged beef at your home.

Aging beef tenderloin

Aging beef tenderloin stimulates the breaking down of muscle tissue with the help of enzymes which impart a rich, deep texture and flavor to the fresh beef. A fresh beef needs to be aged for days together for the flavor to develop. Dry aged beef works on the principle of dehydration or evaporation of all fluids in the beef, when the beef is exposed to air. The evaporation of all fluids helps in concentrating the beefs flavor. As the meat loses weight due to evaporation of fluids and the dried outer layer needs to be trimmed before putting it up for sale, the dry aged beef tenderloin is sold at high prices and is not easily available in the market.

Requirements for aging beef tenderloin at home

As home refrigerators are not as cold as commercially available cold storage units, hence one needs to buy a refrigerator thermometer to ensure that the temperature of the refrigerator remains below 40F. Also, it is advised to use the best quality boneless beef rib, such as the USDA prime meats which are manufactured in limited quantity for restaurants. Essentially the beef that you choose should be firm and should have thick fat layer. Local grocery stores do not usually carry this fine beef, so you might need to visit a gourmet food store.

Method of aging beef tenderloin

Buy the best available beef which has a thick layer of fat and unwrap it from the plastic wrap. Rinse the beef once and dry it using paper tissues. Do not trim the beef. Loosely wrap the beef in a cheese cloth which has a triple layer (or use three cheese cloths) and put the wrapped beef aside on a tray in a refrigerator. Preferably, put the beef on the lowest shelf as that is the coldest part of the refrigerator. Refrigerate the beef for 3-7 days. The more, the beef is allowed to age, deeper is the flavor and texture that the beef develops. Make sure that you unwrap and re-wrap the cheesecloth each day so that the threads of the cheese cloth do not stick to the beef.

To begin with the roasting process, once the beef has been dried in the refrigerator for the required days, unwrap the beef and slice off the dried and hard outer layer of the beef. You can also remove any dried fat portions, but make sure that you retain the good fat areas. For roasting you can either slice the slab of beef into thin slices or can roast the entire beef at a single go.

Aging beef tenderloin at home ensures that the steaks have a concentrated, thick texture and a rich flavor. We hope that after learning how to age beef tenderloin, you would be able to replicate the flavor of the delicious steaks served in steakhouses in your own homes.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How to age beef

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How to Age Beef
Ever wondered how to dry age beef at home? We have all the details here, including what to do, what to avoid, equipment needed and more.

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HOW TO DRY-AGE BEEF AT HOME

Dry-aged beef has a remarkable depth of flavor, but it can be expensive and hard to come by. The good news is that if you have a refrigerator, you can dry-age beef at home.

If you’ve had the good fortune of tasting dry-aged beef, then you know that it has a remarkable depth of flavor. Unfortunately for those of us who don’t have a high-end butcher or serious steakhouse nearby, dry-aged beef can be hard to come by without involving FedEx and a big credit card charge. But the good news is that if you have a refrigerator, you can dry-age beef at home.

Why dry-aged beef tastes better

All fresh beef is aged for at least a few days and up to several weeks to allow enzymes naturally present in the meat to break down the muscle tissue, resulting in improved texture and flavor. These days, most beef is aged in plastic shrink-wrap—a process known as wet-aging. Dry-aged beef, on the other hand, is exposed to air so dehydration can further concentrate the meat’s flavor. It’s a more expensive process than wet-aging, however, because the meat loses weight from dehydration, and it also must be trimmed of its completely dried exterior.

Background

For centuries, dry aging was a common way for butchers to preserve and tenderize the beef. Up to 50 years ago, dry-aged beef was the norm, then with the advent of vacuum packaging along with increased efficiency in beef processing and transportation, lost the dry-aging process. Thus there were small numbers of meat purveyors who actually participated in this type of aging process. However, recently there has been an increased interest in the dry-aging process by a wider array of purveyors and retailers in the United States and Australia. Although there appears to be strong interest in Asian countries in dry-aging, especially high-end restaurants in many countries such as Korea, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are beginning to feature dry-aged beef on their menus. As demand for dry-aged beef increases, it created a high-end niche in the foodservice market in Korea.

In general, there are two forms of beef aging techniques: wet and dry which result in flavor development and more tender meat

How to Dry-Age at Home

While it’s possible to dry-age beef at home, it is far more difficult and involved than some guides (including several online) would lead you to believe.

One popular misconception is that you can dry-age steaks by lining them with cheesecloth or paper towels, then leaving them in your fridge for four to seven days. While this method dehydrates steaks (which can heighten flavor intensity), it does not properly age them. Beef needs to be aged for at least 14 days for enzymes to properly tenderize fibers and needs to be aged for at least 21 days for complex flavors to develop. One week in a fridge—cheesecloth or no cheesecloth—won’t make that happen.

Instead, dry-aging takes dedicated equipment, time, and large, primal cuts.

If you want to dry-age beef at home, you’ll need to start out with a large cut of top-grade, USDA Prime beef. Dry-aging needs to be done before a roast is cut into individual steaks, so go with something like a large rib roast, three ribs minimum. Also, be sure to buy a cut that still has a thick cap of fat on its exterior. This way, that side will only lose fat when you trim the exterior at the end of the aging process.

You’ll then need the following equipment: a dedicated refrigerator, a small fan, a tray, and a wire cooking rack.

Note: Do not age beef in a fridge with other foods, as your beef will pick up flavors from those foods and vice versa. Dry-aging in a multi-use fridge will also throw off moisture levels. The need for a dedicated fridge is the biggest challenge and added cost to at-home dry-aging.

  • First, select your fridge and set up a small, electric fan inside to maintain airflow. Next, put a wire rack on top of a tray. The tray is to collect any drippings. Make sure the bottom of the rack is elevated so that airflow is possible on all sides of the beef.
  • Set your cut of beef on top of the wire rack. Then, slide the tray, rack, and beef into the fridge and wait. Wait 2-4 weeks if you’re only looking for added tenderness, 4-6 weeks for that famous dry-aged taste, and 6-8 (or more) weeks if you’re looking to develop some seriously funky aromas and flavors. While it is okay to check on your beef occasionally, remember that every time you open your fridge’s door you throw off moisture levels and invite unwanted odors in.
  • After you have aged your cut for your preferred length of time, remove it from the fridge. At this point, the exterior will be dry, deep-red or purple/brown, and may have developed mold. Trim away any of this meat, as well as any exterior fat. Finally, cut the beef into individual steaks, according to your tastes. We recommend between 1¼ to 2 inches thickness, though some grillers prefer steaks as thick as 3 inches or more.

Remember: when aging at home, it can be hard to adjust and control things like humidity, airflow, and temperature without professional equipment. Because of this, dry-aging at home is generally less precise than professional dry-aging. This means that it can be tough—if not impossible—to replicate the signature taste of a specific restaurant or butcher’s dry-aging process.

A food safety note

Home refrigerators aren’t as consistent or as cold as commercial meat lockers. Before aging meat at home, get a refrigerator thermometer and be sure your fridge is set below 40°F. Cook or freeze the meat within seven days of the end dry-aging process.

How to Age 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. Here’s how to dry age ribeye at home…

You will need

  • Whole ribeye roast (used here: 17 lbs)
  • Umai Dry Steak bag

How To Dry Age Ribeye at Home

If you bought your ribeye wrapped in a cryovac bag, remove it and wash any liquids off with cold water. Pat the meat dry before putting it in the Umai Dry bag.

Fold back the opening of the bag, to avoid getting juices on there that will compromise the seal. If this does not work, make sure to wipe the opening down before sealing.

Position the meat along one side of the bag, so all of the empty space is to one side (this will help the bag wrap tightly around the ribeye). Follow the instructions provided in the Umai Dry kit (or the video above) to vacuum seal the bag. After sealing, observe the bag for 10-15 minutes to make sure there are no leaks.

Place the sealed bag in your refrigerator for 28 days, and let the aging process work its magic!

28 days later, the meat should have lost some of its mass through the aging process, and once you remove the vacuum bag, the surface should have a hard, wax-like bark. You can either leave it on, or trim it off and use the scraps in a sausage.

Proceed to slice the meat into individual steaks and cook them. Here are some great ways to cook your perfect steak:

How to Age Beef

Prime. Choice. Select. USDA approved. Gourmet. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious…. Okay, so maybe we made that last one up, but each of the other words and phrases are used on a regular basis by butchers and purveyors of beef, whether online or in your local market, to describe their various available selections and cuts. We’ve gone into detail regarding some of these mysterious terms, but there’s one we’ve yet to delve into. That would be dry-aged steak or beef.

While at Steak University we tend to consider this more of a preparation than a type, there’s no denying that dry-aged is a label that’s here to stay in the premium meat market, and rightly so. We may be biased, but it’s our opinion that there’s few things that can top a fine meal of dry-aged, premium, USDA prime beef. Now that we’ve piqued your culinary interest sit back, we’ve got all the what’s, why’s, how’s and even a couple of scientific facts, behind the gourmet delicacy that is dry-aged steak.

What is Dry Aged Steak – The Science Behind the Hype

Before we get into the fine details of cooking dry aged steak at home, first a few definitions. Dry-aging a steak involves storing meat, uncovered, in a chilled environment for an extended period of time. While this seems awfully simplistic, there’s a number of highly complicated process that take place in the meat as a result of this treatment.

To start, by allowing the steak to sit uncovered and dry, the liquids within the meat begin to evaporate, condensing both the remaining moisture and the corresponding flavor. But wait, you might be saying. Doesn’t the tenderness of a steak depend on the moisture content and therefore, shouldn’t a dry-aged steak be tougher? While the logic seems sound at first glance, dry-aging meat causes a variety of other enzymatic and bacterial processes within the meat, breaking down proteins and naturally tenderizing the steak. What we’re left with is a cut of steak that, as a result of the dry-aging process, is more flavorful and tender at the same time.

How to Dry Age Steak at Home

Now that we’ve hyped this most excellent method for preparing steak, we need to get down to the nitty gritty of just how to dry age steak. Large specialty butchers, high end steakhouses and gourmet dry aged steak online retailers typically have dedicated dry-aging rooms that control factors such as temperature, humidity and air circulation.

These extreme, dedicated set-ups will be impractical for most home chefs looking to impress at their next meat-centric dinner party. The good news is that, while handy, high tech equipment isn’t required and you can dry age meat in your own home refrigerator or spare mini-fridge with a little bit of prep work.

You’ll need to start with a larger, multi-steak cut of meat, preferably with a large amount of fat coating still remaining. You need the size and fat to protect the meat and leave you some substance to work with when you trim off the desiccated or wasted portions of your dry-aged meat when it’s done prepping.

Simply place your roast or similar hunk of beef in a refrigerator, uncovered for a minimum of 7 days and up to two weeks. Remove meat from refrigerator when ready to eat, trim off the inedible hardened parts (this is where a fat cap comes in to save the day and the underlying meat) and cook via your favorite method. Some folks recommend wrapping your dry-aged beef loosely in cheese cloth and others create complicated air circulation methods via small fans placed in the fridge. While we wouldn’t discourage good old fashioned experimentation, the truth is you simply don’t need to complicate things to get the benefits of dry aged steak at home.

Dry-Aged Tips

  • The ideal temperature for dry aging beef is between 34-38° F
  • Using a vacuum sealed bag will protect beef against contamination from other foods
  • Airflow is an important to ensure beef will dry-age properly
  • For optimal taste dry-age beef for 28-40 days

Other Dry Aged Steak Options

At this point you might be saying that dry aging a steak at home may be all well and good, but it still sounds like a bit too much work for my tastes. In that case, you’re in luck. At Chicago Steak Company we dry age our premium USDA Prime steaks in a special dry aging room, trimming and then individually wrapping steaks after they’ve been aged to tasty, flavorful perfection. Our steaks are then shipped direct to your door, precisely aged and ready to eat. Whether you purchase your dry aged steak online or do it yourself at home, you can’t go wrong with giving your high quality, premium meat a chance to mature and age prior to delving in.

i have a basic idea of the process. i have an extra frig and want to modify it to age beef does anyone know how to do this or a website that would tell me how to modify my frig to age beef?

4 Answers

1. Only the top grades of beef can be dry aged successfully. Use Prime or heavy Choice (the highest quality of Choice) only. These have a thick layer of fat on the outside to protect the meat from spoiling during the aging process.

2. Buy a whole rib-eye or loin strip. [You cannot age individual steaks.] Unwrap it, rinse it well with cold water, allow it to drain; then pat it very dry with paper towels.

3. Wrap the meat in immaculately clean, large, plain white cotton dish towel(s) and place it on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator – which is the coldest spot.

4. Change the towel(s) each day, replacing the moisture-soiled towel(s) with fresh. Continue to change towels as needed for 10 days, to 2 weeks. (See Step #7 for cleaning towels.)

5. After the desired aging time, you’re ready to cut off steaks from each end, trim as desired, (enjoy!) and allow the rest to continue to age in the refrigerator.

6. If, after 21 days, you have not eaten all the meat, cut the remaining piece into steaks, wrap each steak in freezer-proof , heavy-duty plastic wrap, and freeze. The steaks will keep for several months in the freezer.

7. To clean the towels for re-use, soak the soiled towels, immediately upon removing them from the meat, in cold water overnight. Next, soak them in cold, salted water for 2-3 hours to remove any blood stains. Then launder as usual. [In olden days, butchers used to cover sides of beef with cotton “shrouds” during the aging process – this is essentially the same thing.]

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Below are the directions for Dry Aging Beef.

If you choose to dry age your own beef, research the process thoroughly. Seek out expert advice or an offline mentor and be sure to follow each step carefully.

1. Only the top grades of beef can be dry aged successfully. Use Prime or Choice grade beef, only. These beef grades have a thick layer of fat, on the outside, that protects the meat from spoiling during the dry aging process.

2. You cannot age individual steaks, so buy whole beef roasts. When a beef roast is purchased for dry aging, rinse it well with cold water, then dry with paper towels.

3. Wrap the roast in immaculately clean, large, plain white cotton dish towels and place it on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator (or the coldest spot in your refrigerator).

4. Change the towels each day, replacing the moisture-soiled towels with fresh. Continue to change towels as needed for 10 days, to 2 weeks. (See Step #7 for cleaning towels.)

5. After the desired aging time, you’re ready to cut off steaks from each end. Trim as desired, and allow the rest of the beef to continue to age in the refrigerator.

6. If, after 21 days, you have not eaten all the meat, cut the remaining piece into steaks, wrap each steak in freezer-proof, heavy-duty plastic wrap, and freeze. The steaks will keep for several months in the freezer.

7. To clean the towels for re-use, soak the soiled towels, immediately upon removing them from the meat, in cold water overnight. Next, soak them in cold, salted water for 2-3 hours to remove any blood stains. Then launder as usual. In olden days, butchers used to cover sides of beef with cotton “shrouds” during the aging process; using towels is essentially the same thing.

Commercial dry aging is done on whole carcasses, 500 to 800 lbs (227 kg to 363 kg) and in large chilled rooms that are big enough to house dehumidifiers, fans and the other assorted equipment used to maintain the environmental conditions. Consider how you might dehumidify your refrigerated storage before even thinking about dry aging your own meat. Also consider how you will procure green (un-aged) beef, since dry aging commercially-purchased wet-aged meat may just defeat the purpose before you begin. Finally, a secondary refrigerator that is a more closely controlled environment since it is rarely opened, would be more suited to dry aging than the family special in the center of your kitchen. If you must make due with the family fridge, consider isolating your aging meat in an airtight container like Tupperware.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sandi Busch

How to Age Beef

The purpose of aging beef is to improve tenderness and enhance flavor. Aging gives the natural enzymes time to break down the muscle and connective tissue, which tenderizes the meat. Moisture loss during the process concentrates the flavor to create the unique taste associated with aged beef. Technically, salt isn’t used to age beef, but it is used to dry or cure the meat.

Choosing the Meat

The aging process isn’t a cure for less tender cuts of beef, so choose fresh cuts of prime or choice grade rib-eye, beef loin or beef round. Meat for aging should have a thick layer of fat on the outside because it protects the meat, and it should have slivers of fat running throughout the cut. It’s best to use a whole rib-eye or loin strip and cut it into individual steaks after it’s dry-aged. If you’re drying beef with salt, top or bottom round is fine and you don’t need extra fat on the meat.

Dry-Aging Beef

Wrap the meat in plain white cotton dish towels and put it on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator or in the coldest compartment. Change the towels every day until the meat is aged, which should take 10 to 21 days, but varies according to the size of the meat, according to the website Ask the Meatman. A crust that’s similar in texture to beef jerky forms on the outside of the meat during the process, so watch for it as a sign that the aging is complete. Then trim the crust away and it’s ready to cook.

Dry-Aging Considerations

To get the best results, the temperature should be maintained at 34 to 36 degrees Fahrenheit. The beef can pick up odors from the refrigerator, so be careful to keep foods properly covered. If you age the meat too long, microorganisms can grow and cause spoilage. In addition to an unpleasant odor, the sign of spoiled meat is a slimy surface. It’s normal for the meat to shrink during aging, so the end product will have less edible meat.

Dried Beef

Remove any fat around the edges of a round steak, thinly slice it, then put the slices into brine made with 10 cups of near boiling water and two pounds of salt. Leave the meat in the brine until it turns white, then put the strips directly onto the wire rack in your oven with a tray or aluminum foil on the rack underneath to catch drips. Dry it at 225 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping the oven door slightly open so that moisture escapes. The amount of time it needs in the oven depends on the meat’s thickness, but plan for four to six hours, and turn the beef over about halfway through. It’s finished when it bends but doesn’t break. If desired, you can flavor the brine with pepper, soy or Worcestershire sauce, onion or garlic powder or liquid smoke.

Salt-Cured Beef

Salt preserves meat by pulling water out of the cells and that prevents microorganisms from growing. Mix together eight pounds of salt, three pounds of sugar, two ounces of sodium nitrate and one-half ounce of sodium nitrite. Divide the mixture into thirds and rub one-third of it over the meat every three to five days. Keep the meat in the refrigerator seven days for every one inch of the meat’s thickness.

DIRECTIONS FOR DRY-AGING OF BEEF IN REFRIGERATOR

1. Only the top grades of beef can be dry-aged successfully. Use USDA Prime or USDA Choice – Yield Grade 1 or 2 (the highest quality of Choice) only. These have a thick layer of fat on the outside to protect the meat from spoiling during the aging process. Ask your butcher if they can hang your beef for 7 days prior to purchasing. This will give you a head start, allowing you to age the beef a maximum of 14 days in your home refrigerator.

2. Buy a whole rib-eye or loin strip. (You cannot age individual steaks.) Unwrap it, rinse it well with cold water and allow it to drain. Pat it with paper towels until very dry.

3. Wrap the meat in immaculately clean, large, plain white cotton dish towels and place it on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator – which is the coldest spot. A small fan to move air around beef is optimum, but not required.

4. Change the towels each day, replacing the moisture-soiled towels with fresh ones. Continue to change towels as needed for 14 days. (See Step #7 for cleaning towels.)

5. After the desired aging time of 14 days, you’re ready to cut off steaks from each end, trim as desired and allow the rest to continue to age in the refrigerator.

6. If, after 21 days, you have not eaten all the meat, cut the remaining piece into steaks, wrap each steak in freezer-proof, heavy-duty plastic wrap, and freeze. The steaks will keep for several months in the freezer.

7. To clean the towels for re-use, soak the soiled towels, immediately upon removing them from the meat, in cold water overnight. Next, soak them in cold, salted water for 2–3 hours to remove any blood stains. Then launder as usual. (In olden days, butchers used to cover sides of beef with cotton “shrouds” or cheesecloth during the aging process – this is essentially the same thing.)

How to Age Beef

Only the finest restaurants in the United States serve steaks with the flavor optimized through special aging processes. There are several aging processes used to age beef with dry aged beef, sometimes called the “Old World Style”, used by the most scrutinizing restaurants. Dry aged beef is not typically sold in supermarkets due to the time and expenses involved in the dry aging process. The process of dry aging meat goes back to around the 1950s when butchers discovered curing meat through the dry aging process created a more tender and tasty steak. The flavor of the meat matures with the aging process to produce a richer flavor which intensifies as the meat continues to age until the optimal aging has been reached. Only high quality cuts of beef are used in the dry aging process. The beef cuts must be cut thick enough with adequate marbling to handle the rigorous aging process and maintain enough body mass to produce a thick juicy steak.

Dry Aged Storage Temperature

Once a piece of beef has been selected as adequate for dry aging, the beef is hung in a refrigerated room with temperatures maintained between 32 and 39 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 to 4 degrees Celsius and humidity is controlled to ensure freshness. The preferred humidity setting varies from 50 – 85%, according to individual preference, but usually is set closer to 60%. The recommended air flow is 0.5 – 2 m/s or 1.6 – 6.6 ft/s. to ensure optimal weight and trim loss during the aging process. Once you learn how to age steak properly you will know how imperative it is to control the temperature, humidity, and air flow.

The process has to allow the beef to age naturally in order to enhance the flavor and texture of the beef. During the dry-aging process, the normal chemical processing in the body will cause the breakdown of muscle and connective tissue which aides in the tenderization of the beef. The temperature is regulated to allow for dehydration which causes the beef to shrink. The dehydration allows the exterior of the beef to dry while the interior loses water at a much slower rate resulting in increased tenderization. The loss of mass is expected to be between 10-15%. To reach optimal weight loss, the entire process takes approximately 20-40 days.

The resulting dry aged steaks are very popular in high-end restaurants by avid steak lovers, or even the occasional steak taster, because of the rich, tender, and juicy steaks served every time. Whenever dry aged steak is advertised by a restaurant, the customers automatically know the steak will come from only high quality beef put through a rigorous processing to ensure a scrumptious steak.

At Chicago Steak Company, we hand select only the best steaks for our customers. The dry aged steaks are always abundant in marbling to ensure the mouthwatering flavor our customers have come to expect. The rich flavor guaranteed by our dry aged Ribeye, Strip Steak, Filet Mignon, T-Bone, and Porterhouse Steaks are sure to please even the most scrutinizing of steak connoisseurs.

i have a basic idea of the process. i have an extra frig and want to modify it to age beef does anyone know how to do this or a website that would tell me how to modify my frig to age beef?

4 Answers

1. Only the top grades of beef can be dry aged successfully. Use Prime or heavy Choice (the highest quality of Choice) only. These have a thick layer of fat on the outside to protect the meat from spoiling during the aging process.

2. Buy a whole rib-eye or loin strip. [You cannot age individual steaks.] Unwrap it, rinse it well with cold water, allow it to drain; then pat it very dry with paper towels.

3. Wrap the meat in immaculately clean, large, plain white cotton dish towel(s) and place it on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator – which is the coldest spot.

4. Change the towel(s) each day, replacing the moisture-soiled towel(s) with fresh. Continue to change towels as needed for 10 days, to 2 weeks. (See Step #7 for cleaning towels.)

5. After the desired aging time, you’re ready to cut off steaks from each end, trim as desired, (enjoy!) and allow the rest to continue to age in the refrigerator.

6. If, after 21 days, you have not eaten all the meat, cut the remaining piece into steaks, wrap each steak in freezer-proof , heavy-duty plastic wrap, and freeze. The steaks will keep for several months in the freezer.

7. To clean the towels for re-use, soak the soiled towels, immediately upon removing them from the meat, in cold water overnight. Next, soak them in cold, salted water for 2-3 hours to remove any blood stains. Then launder as usual. [In olden days, butchers used to cover sides of beef with cotton “shrouds” during the aging process – this is essentially the same thing.]

Although Dry-Aged Beef is very much the “trendy meat” at present,
it is not a new invention. On the contrary, this process has a tradition
dating back centuries.

Here you get all information and expert tips!

Dry-aged beef production also used to be referred to simply as “hanging meat”. This is because after slaughtering the sides of beef are first allowed to dangle freely in the air, well chilled at temperatures of around freezing point. This allows liquid to escape and vital enzymes to quietly do their work. This produces a delicate, full-flavoured dry-aged meat that is very popular not just with steak connoisseurs.

How to Age Beef

But dry-aged beef production has two small drawbacks: It is time-consuming and entails a loss of volume of up to 30% – but not in the DRY AGER®. In this fridge, the pure weight loss resulting from liquid escaping after four weeks of aging on the bone is only around 7 to 8%, so more of the meat is retained. Before the DRY AGER® existed, the advent of vacuum machines and the higher weight loss during dry aging meant that many businesses opted to switch to wet aging in a bag. At the time, the method seemed to be more reliable, faster and still less expensive. As the slow-food movement has developed in the 21st century, this process has happily been rediscovered and championed again. Dry-aged beef is now even available to buy in the supermarket.

How to Age Beef

How to Age Beef

DRY-AGED BEEF GOOD FLAVOUR
DEMANDS GOOD QUALITY

In this case, the trend towards dry-aged meat is a real boost for flavour and quality. This is because to achieve a good result a good product must also be employed in dry-aged beef production. When it comes to sourcing animals, professional chefs and master-butchers therefore prefer breeds of cattle that grow at a slower rate. The slower growth of the muscle flesh gives it a fine fat-marbled effect. This is vital for the resulting flavour. Even if the dry-aged beef is allowed to age at rest, the meat should come from younger animals. Ideally from the heifer, a young, female cow which has not yet calved but is already fully grown. But pork, lamb and game are also suitable for dry aging – give it a try!

DRY AGED BEEF PRODUCTION

The butcher’s trade in the modern age enjoys many better technical conditions. One of the major concerns for master-butchers back in history therefore no longer arises. If there were temperature fluctuations, this could cause rotting of the bone marrow which then spoiled the entire piece of meat. In today’s high-tech industrial maturing chambers, constant temperatures of from one to three degrees Celsius must prevail. The humidity is also very precisely controlled. In addition, optimum ventilation is required. Under these conditions, the juicy beef is transformed when it is dried for between 21 and 42 days into tasty dry-aged beef. The hung meat forms a dark crust under which the soft muscular meat does its work. The crust is as black as black pudding and hard, and a white fuzz of harmless mould can even form over it. If the dry-aged meat is aged for long enough, the crust is separated from it. The meat juice evaporates and leaves behind a delicately tender, dark meat with the typical flavours of nut and butter that make the hearts of true connoisseurs beat a little faster.

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How to Age Beef

When it comes to beef, fresher isn’t always better. In On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, food scientist Harold McGee wrote that like wine and cheese, meat benefits from a certain period of “aging” before consumption. Grocery store steaks are often “wet aged,” while high-end steak houses and quality butcher shops carry a variety of dry-aged beef.

RELATED: The Secret to Making the Perfect Steak Indoors

–> “I have never been one for wet aging. You don’t receive the same tenderness or that good funk that comes along with dry age,” says Eataly head butcher Peter Molinari. “When you dry age, natural enzymes start to break down all of the connective tissue and leave the meat extremely tender. On top of that, you lose about 20 percent of the water weight, which helps concentrate the flavor.”

Dry aging beef is a complicated, time-consuming process, which directly correlates with its extravagant price tag. “It’s tricky to do because of the specialized equipment you need and the variables you have to manage like PH of the meat and humidity,” Molinari says. “At Eataly we have specially designed fridges that help us with all of this, as well as multiple devices to ensure humidity, wind speed, and temperature are properly controlled.”

RELATED: The Secret to Perfect Bone-In Ribeye Steak

Dry aging your own meat is a brag-worthy experiment, but it has inherent health risks. If you’re up for the challenge, here are some tips from Molinari to get you started.

–> Time: Meat can be aged anywhere from 10 days to 60 days, with the average minimum around 21 days. “I have had pieces that are over 100 days, but those are usually sold by the inch and are very close to eating blue cheese,” Molinari says.

Meat: Layers of fat and intact bone are essential to help “protect” the meat during the aging process, so opt for uncut rib sections. According to McGee, storing meat in 34 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit limits the growth of microbes.

Tools: “If you were to age at home, you would need a separate fridge, because once you age meat in a fridge, there will be mold present from that point on,” Molinari says. “Also, your entire fridge will smell of dry age because the odor winds up in the condenser and filters.” Other essential equipment: a supplemental fan to keep the meat dry and age it properly, and a humidity control to keep your humidity around 80 percent. “This helps for an even age all the way through the meat,” Molinari says. “You don’t want the meat to develop ‘bark,’ which means the outside hardens too fast and the middle winds up spoiling.” Serious meat lovers might consider investing in a dedicated aging fridge like the Steak Locker, which costs $1,449.

Aging: Place the meat on a rack and leave it in the fridge for one to two weeks. Patience is the key ingredient. Opening and closing the fridge frequently would interfere with the temperature and humidity. Once the meat is ready, trim off the fat, cut into steaks, and sear the perfect steak.

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