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Mar 12, 2007 02:33 PM

Aging Beef at Home?

Hi All,

Does anyone know how to dry age beef at home to get something close to the aging that restaurants do?


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  1. You'd probably get more responses if you posted this on the Home Cooking board.

    That said, I'm no expert but I think it might be tough to recreate the fairly precise humidity and temperature controlled rooms beef is aged in. That said, what the heck do I know? People were aging beef before fancy climate control systems were available...

    1. Alton Brown did a show on beef and he mentioned aging at home. Sorry but I don't recall much of what was said except to parrot mtl to tor temperature and humidity levels are very important, also mentioned on Brown's show from what i remember. Particularily tough when you are opening and closing fridge door numerous times a day, also storing other food in the fridge can affect your beef as well.

      1 Reply
      1. re: damonster

        This episode was called "the Porterhouse Rules".

      2. Unfortunately most people lack the facilities to properly age meat at home. Still you can do it on a smaller scale and get interesting results. Cooks Illustrated had an article about this a little while back.

        Take a fairly large roast cut, say five to six pounds. Wash and pat completely dry. Put it uncovered on a rack over a baking sheet and place in the bottom rack (the coolest spot) of your fridge. Leave it there for up to a week, checking occassionally for moisture and patting dry. By the end of the third day, the meat will have be showing signs of the dry aging process. The exterior will be drying and forming a dark "skin".

        At this point, the enzymes in the meat will have started to break the protein down into amino acids, improving flavour, as well as tenderizing the meat. Even after 24 hours, your roast will start to develop nice flavour.

        When you cook the roast, you will have to trim off the dried exterior, which means you will loose a good amount of beef to the aging process. That's the cost of dry aging! I've done this several times and been very happy with the results.

        In BBQ circles, some people like to age their briskets for several weeks in vacuum sealed packs. The vacuum pack allows more aging time at home without exposure to harmful bacteria and the enzymes really have a party in the meat. I've never done this, so can't say how it compares to this method.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Pantz

          Wet aging in vacuum pack is a great method. We've been buying lots of hanger steak that's sealed this way. We keep 'em up to the dating limit, usually a week or two, in the cold meat drawer in the home fridge. I've cooked enough of them now that I'm sure that the extra tenderness and richness of flavor is due to the extra aging and not just an individual batch difference compared to one bought and cooked the same day.

        2. Jeffrey Steingarten wrote about dry-aging beef at home. I think the essay's called "High Beef" and I think it's in his book, The Man Who Ate Everything. If I remember correctly, he scoffs at wet aging, but I don't remember why. He's well worth reading even just for entertainment.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Tartinet

            He says something to the effect of wet-aging tenderizing the beef without developing it's flavor, and that dry-aging is the only way to really develop a good flavor.

            1. re: QueenB

              Dry aging allows water to evaporate from the cut that is being aged. This concentrates the flavors that are in the meat.

          2. this is the closest you could come, from

            1 Reply
            1. re: byrd

              Yes, meatman is right on. The towel thing is a drag but necessary for absorption. I tried paper towels once to disastrous ends, tweezing little bits off forever, it seemed. To my mind, just like with hanging my game, the trick is to lose moisture and let the (incredibly mysterious to me) enzymes get their thing going. Do you lose some? Yup, but what's left is so much better....