Dry-Aged Steaks in Austin?
Culinary confession time- I'm pretty sure I have never had a dry aged steak in my life. I feel like I am missing a very vital carnivorous foodie element.
The only place I have been offered a dry aged steak is Eddie V's- and I could not swing the tariff to get up to the plate.
Is there a butcher shop or specialty store that carries this delicacy?
Failing that, any other restaurant that might serve such a steak without causing me to sell the dog to afford it?
Whole Foods downtown has a dry-aging room and does their own. You can even pick out an entire roast of ribeyes, purchase them, and then have them dry-age them for you.
For a good taste of this, do it yourself. Invest in a decent steak, rib eye or t-bone/porterhouse will work best, should be at least an inch thick, two is better....since i don't live there anymore, can't advise where to get an affordable one...the big HEBs do ok in this dept, at the meat counter....expect to pay at least 10-12 per pound and up....
then take 'em home, unwrap them, then put them on a rack or pile up some chopsticks to raise them up--- the idea is to allow air circulation top and bottom. then put that on a plate or tray on the bottom shelf, at the very back of your fridge. Leave 'em there for 5 days at least, up to a week or a bit more depending on how they look. dry aging can go way beyond, but only with bigger cuts...like an entire rib eye roast, later cut into steaks, or a loin from which you can cut tbones, etc. you don't want them to get too leathery and brown. if they do, trim up a tad.
then grill or throw into a scorching cast iron skillet (heated up on very high for about 10 minutes until grey-white in the center). give the steaks a bit of olive oil coating, and a generous sprinkling of kosher or similar coarse salt, and grill to suit...maybe 3-4 minutes on side A, then 2-3 on side B for rare, etc.
this will be a good intro to dry aged beef. it will probably be the best steak you've ever had and you will never be happy with steak at any restaurant in Austin again....promise.
this seems scary to many people...i do it all the time, no problem. had one last week. interestingly, the flavor is like the steaks my folks cooked in the mid-50s and I'll bet that meat was dry aged in the days before cryovac bags. the flavor is amazingly similar. no other method, even with the same meat, can reproduce that flavor.
go for it. let the restaurants gouge someone else with their crappy, overpriced steaks.
In Austin I think Whole Foods may be your best bet, but I talked to the Central Market on North Lamar and they said that they sell NY strips and ribeyes dry-aged for more than 30 days.
One thing to keep in mind because of the lost product and additional labor/time the cost of dry-aged meats can be eye-opening
Wet-aged meats stored in cryovac for two weeks increases the tenderness of steaks.
Dry-aged meats generally stored in open air coolers dramatically increases the beef flavor and tenderness as well. Watching primal cuts such as the 103 Prime Rib age may be a bit disconcerting generally the exterior will "decay" and the color of the meat changes as well. A large percentage of the water weight evaporates which makes the flavor more intense. Before cutting into individual cuts, the decay and other anomalies are removed.
The average educated consumer should probably not attempt to dry age at home. It can be done, but the risk of food-borne illness and flavor adulteration are very high. It would be a tragedy for your steaks to taste like something else in the refrigerator.
I'll stand by my recommendation to try it at home once...see what happens. Green steak? head to Central Mkt for those $30/lb or more steaks...or save the money and fly to Peter Lugar in Brooklyn NY. $62 for a nice porterhouse for two. great steak...
but, like I said, for a "taste" of the real deal, head to HEB, get a decent looking, very thick steak or two and wait a week...no more. if your fridge is clean, etc, you should not have a problem. I never had. some minor deterioration can be trimmed off. but i'm sure things *could* happen, but in doing this dozens of times, i've never had a problem....with roasts and so on, the improvement is also noticeable. and yes, the beefy flavor is amazing, and worth the effort.
Last December, I bought a dry-aged rib eye and a dry-aged NY Strip at Whole Foods and brought them home. We cooked both of them the same way (salt, pepper, Worcestershire; bring them to room temp; place in an iron skillet that's been in a 500 degree oven; high heat on the stove to get a nice sear on each side; back in the oven at 350 until desired doneness--rare) and I found both to be outstanding, but the rib eye was superb.
A few weeks ago, I bought a small dry-aged rib eye from WFM again. This time, I put a Mesquite black salt on it along with a little Worcestershire, brought it to room temp and cooked it on the grill, rare.
That was, hands down, the best steak I've ever had in my life. It was so good that I did it again about a week later.
And I'll probably do it again this weekend. I got that Mesquite black salt at CM South in that little island that has all of the bulk salts. It had really wood-like notes to it and added an amazing flavor to an already amazing steak.
I have nothing to add here, other than what I feel is my obligation to dissuade anybody yearning for a good dry-aged piece of beef, from going to Eddie Vs. On one occasion (a biz dinner) the steak was cooked on the high end of medium when requested med-rare, which, I understand could be a kitchen anomaly (especially given our table of 15), and which is also why I felt the need to shoot them a note about it. Made a return visit (for the most part comped) and ordered a special 40-something ounce dry-aged bone-in rib-eye. Cooked perfectly, but was completely devoid of that potent, beefy flavour of an aged steak. If it wasn't for the grand presentation of this monster, I would've thought I was at Chili's. I wasn't p*ssed about it, I was truly shocked. They get their steaks from Allen Bros, I was just dumbfounded. Anyways.
With the exception of a couple of restaurant steaks I've had (outside of Austin), DIY is the best way to go.
We were very disappointed with the dry aged steak at Eddie V's. We were in there a month ago and lots of people were ordering them. I'm a big fan of their Allen Brothers steaks but the dry aged (don't know if it was Allen Brothers) was like 55.00 and it was just mediocre. I was very unhappy. Ate at Keen's in New York twice last December and yes the dry aging made for a clearly better steak, tangy and delicious. I've seen directions for home fridge dry aging: http://www.chow.com/digest/2389 but haven't tried it before. Now I will, thanks Sambamaster.
I have never understood the efficacy of eating steak out. You can generally feed a family of 4 for the price of a 12 ounce N.Y. strip at Ruth Chris' or Sullivan's and for what I ask you. Invest in two things and you will never eat steak out again. First buy a TEC grill. Hands down this is the best investment a carnivor will ever make. Aside from the phenominal attention to quality, as evidenced by their 10 year warranty, TEC is a radiant heat grill cooking meats at extremely high temperatures exactly like the big boys do. Second buy your meat at one of two places, Costco/Sams or Randall's. Surprisingly, the price is generally about as good at Randall's as at C/S and the quality of the meat is just as good at either place. I find the N.Y. Strips at either of the above to be on par with Whole Foods and/or Central Market every time, and at about 1/3rd to 1/2 cheaper. An addendum here, learn how to select your meat--marbleing is the key to the castle. Learn how to chose a properly marbled steak and you will be rewarded. You can age the meat or not, your choice, I prefer not. Salt and pepper is all it takes, fire up the TEC to full tilt buggy and cook, about 4 1/2 minutes per side does the trick for a 2 inch thick steaks if you like it rare, 5 1/2 per side for medium and in between for anything in between! Better than eating out I promise.
re: Chicago Wine Geek
This past weekend I saw some insanely marbled prime strip steaks at Central Market north Lamar, way better marbling than Whole Foods has had when I've looked. I don't know if it has been aged or not. Central Market's Waygu also had good looking marble but didn't look $20/lb. better than the prime.
re: Chicago Wine Geek
Well, I'm a hardcore chowhound, and I can't let this go: "But those people probably don't take pictures of their food or spend hours on Chowhound. In my limited experience here, people take their food seriously. Not 'eGullet' serious, but pretty serious." I'm sorry, but they just don't come more serious than this 'hound. ;-) Besides, have you seen the central Texas coverage over there? Those eGulloots have got nothing on us.
In the Austin area, Hudson's on the Bend has offered dry-aged steaks in the past. Before heading over there, I'd suggest calling to confirm the aging process of the steaks currently on the menu.
Unfortunately, we lost a good local source when Harrell Ranch and The Meat Shop were forced to close:
On the general topic of dry-aged steaks, bullsi1911, there are many threads on chowhound's Topical boards that you might find useful. Here are links to just a few of them:
Wet Aged - Dry Aged
Whatever happened to flavorful steaks?
Dry aged vs Prime?
is it possible to dry age beef at home?
Aging Beef at Home?
Ahh, 55. I too greatly lament the passing of Harrell Ranch and the Meat Shop. I did talk to Bubba (ranch manager) and he still is raising a few of the wagyu and wagyu/angus cattle. He'll sell whole beeves or halfs.
I've been doing a lot of grass fed lately and find corn fed less flavorful now. Whole foods says they'll age the local grass fed on request. I may try that. The bison at the saturday downtown farmers market is excellent and I'm going to ask them if they can age. I'll report back.
A good home aging trick is simply to put a steak or two on a plate unwrapped in the fridge for about a week. You get a week of ageing and it gets alot of moisture out. Good for previously wet-aged steaks...
When a group of friends sat down to a comparison of wet aged and dry aged beef we agreed that the wet aged was more tender and the dry aged had deeper flavor.
I'm a dry aged fan and several times a year fly in some Peter Lugers or Lobels from NYC.
I look forward to comparing these to the Dry age beef from Whole Foods.