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May 29, 2007 02:12 PM

is it possible to dry age beef at home?

Has anyone tried to do it? If yes, please share the method.

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  1. jeffrey steingarten did it in his book (forget which one). Don't know if I would try it myself, because it seems really difficult and you need to have a really temperature controlled place to throw it in. I bet if I did it, I would poison myself somehow

    2 Replies
    1. re: bitsubeats

      Poisoning myself is what makes me hesitant about trying to cure my own sausages. It's one of those things I'd like a bit of personal instruction about before I try it...

      Same with dry aging beef. I have a feeling I would just let it spoil somehow.

      1. re: AbdulSheikhMohammed

        That's what I would fear, which is why I posted the CI method. But, let us know what method you decide to use kuri!

    2. In the May and June 2007 issue of Cooks Illustrated, they have a recie for pan seared thick cut strip steaks. The method of cooking calls for baking in a low oven prior to pan searing. The oven baking also acts to "dry age" the meat.
      Check it out.

      2 Replies
      1. re: monavano

        The oven baking doesn't "dry age" the meat. It dries the surface of the steak and warms the insides which allows you to sear the steak in the pan in less time and allows you to get a nice good char without overcooking the steak.

        1. re: ESNY

          hence the quotes;)........and ,......not entirely on
          From Cooks Illustrated:

          "Our steaks spend a long time in a warm oven, yet taste more tender than traditionally prepared steaks, which can be tough and chewy.
          The explanation? Meat contains active enzymes called cathepsins, which break down connective tissue over time, increasing tenderness (a fact that is demonstrated to great effect in dry-aging meat). As the temperature of the meat rises, these enzymes work faster and faster until they reach 122 degrees, where all action stops. While our steaks are slowly heating up, the cathepsins are working overtime, in effect "aging" and tenderizing our steaks within half an hour. When our steaks are cooked by conventional methods, thier final temperature is reached much more rapidly, denying the cathepsins the time they need to properly do thier jobs."

      2. Alton Brown recommends dry aging a roast thusly:
        "Place the standing rib roast upright onto a half sheet pan fitted with a rack. The rack is essential for drainage. Place dry towels loosely on top of the roast. This will help to draw moisture away from the meat. Place into a refrigerator at approximately 50 to 60 percent humidity and between 34 and 38 degrees F. You can measure both with a refrigerator thermometer. Change the towels daily for 3 days."

        This explanation doesn't talk about having to trim the dried out bits when it's aged to your liking, but otherwise is pretty straight-forward.

        6 Replies
        1. re: ricepad

          The only problem here is that your typical home fridge chills at about 40 degrees and the relative humidity is high due to condensation from other things in the fridge. Once you open and close the door, the temp. goes up a few degrees each time, and the humidity level changes. I really wonder how safe or effective this would be without dedicating a small fridge to the process?

          1. re: RGC1982

            I've painfully achieved this in my home fridge. The way around the 40 degree issue was to have the fridge virtually empty with the exception of the meat and the water. Let's say that I ate out a lot and hardly opened my fridge. The dry-aged meat wasn't worth the sacrifices I had to make. I'll just buy my meat dry-aged next time.

            1. re: Miss Needle

              Neat, but it sounds like a lot of work. Might as well buy a separate tiny refrigerator for it.

              1. re: Miss Needle

                This is a 3 year old comment, but having stuff in your fridge actually helps regulate the temp. Emptying it out defeated the purpose, in this case.

                1. re: tommy

                  It's really funny, but I'm aware of that -- as I know having a full freezer is better than having an empty one. But my thermometer didn't obey those rules. The only way my fridge reached the necessary temperature was to empty it out.

            2. re: ricepad

              Tried it; didn't work. Period.

            3. Here's a method from Merle Ellis, who used to write a weekly column on meat years ago in the San Francisco Chronicle. Haven't tried so don't know if it works, but I don't why it wouldn't:

              "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.

              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.

              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.

              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.)

              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.

              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.

              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.]"

              1 Reply
              1. re: kandagawa

                If Merle Ellis said it, I believe it. I sure miss his columns!

              2. It kills me how you can find someone to say one thing is the way to go, then find another who says it cannot be done. Merle Ellis says steaks cannot be dry aged. Really? I am doing it now, based on advice from folks like Mark Bittman and many others onine. What's up?

                9 Replies
                1. re: Leander Wapshot

                  I do it all the time. My only problem is patience -- hard to wait so long before enjoying ...

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    You do? That's heartening. Do you trim off the hard exterior?

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      I have the same problem. I have a prime rib in the fridge now at 17 days. I think grilled steaks are on the menu this week.

                      ipsedixit, what is the longest you have waited before using the beef?

                      1. re: maxandrick

                        Longest was 20 days, minimum of 10.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Isn't the other reason that people run out of patience is that dry aged beef get smaller and smaller as time goes on. It just hurt them when they see their steak shrinks.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            If that's the reason, then it's foolish.

                            It's like being happier if you buy a big chicken injected with salt water, as opposed to one that isn't. Unless, of course, you enjoy chicken infused saline solution.

                            But back to dry-aging, the concentration of flavors is simply outstanding.

                            Just have to be very diligent about changing your towels. In fact, I think the biggest pain to dry-aging at home is actually laundering your terry towels for reuse. All that blood and gunk ... not washing machine friendly for sure.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              I hate to break this to you. Humans are more emotional than logical.

                              Back to your point about towel, so how did you wash them? By hand? Or still washing machine?