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Feb 2, 2009 10:46 PM

Refrigerator aging beef-How many CHers do this?

I've sort of stumbled on to this by accident. I bought a tri tip Saturday, intending to serve it Sunday. So it's got chopped rosemary, chile, ground black pepper, a little lemon juice, and about a tsp of table salt on it, that was applied Saturday. It's in a holey colander on a plate, pushed to the back of the fridge on the bottom shelf, just hanging out. So far, I've patted it dry with paper towel twice a day, and turned down the fridge a little past the middle point on the dial.

Sunday, I trimmed off a little for dinner, accidentally over cooked to medium-well done. It was chewy, due to the connective tissue, but the meat was kind of tender.

Monday, I trimmed off a little more for lunch, and accidentally over-cooked it again, over-cooked it again to a medium-well-well done. Definitely an improvement in tenderness.

Going to try to stretch this experiment out a few more days.

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  1. I dry age beef in the fridge, providing I have pre-planned far enough in advance to allow me to do so. It definitely improves both the flavor and texture. My method for both steaks and roasts is the same - simply place the beef on a paper towel on a plate in the veggie crisper or back of the fridge depending on available space. Turn the beef over daily and replace the paper towel. I try to give steaks at least 2 - 3 days. Roasts 3 - 4 days. I usually do not add any seasoning during the aging but if I do they are dry seasonings only, nothing wet.

    1. I think the lemon juice might have more of an effect on the tenderness than 3 days of "dry aging." True dry aging doesn't include the application of anything, no spices, no salt, etc. so keep that in mind next time. It also takes in the neighborhood of 2 weeks to 1 month to really get an effect, so while your steak might have been tasty, I think that the term dry aging doesn't really apply here. If you decide to try it, it's fairly labor intensive but give it a try. It's also best to age whole cuts of beef, not individual steaks.

      5 Replies
      1. re: HaagenDazs

        I agree. Wasn't in the refrigerator long enough to age, and aging is usually done with primal cuts, not end use cuts.
        I think the lemon juice would be problematic--tends to result in mushy beef. I don't even use acids in marinades of over an hour.

        1. re: AHan

          "I think the lemon juice would be problematic--tends to result in mushy beef."

          Right. Mushy = tender in this case, I think.

        2. re: HaagenDazs

          We are talking about 15 drops of lemon 1/4 of a tsp.

          Clearly, this was an accidental experiment, not like I was really trying to do it properly.

          1. re: jaykayen

            1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice on a tri-tip huh? OK...

            I'm not saying that it was an accident or on purpose, I'm just saying that what you have isn't really dry aged steak. It might be losing some water due to evaporation but that's hardly the true meaning on dry aged.

          2. re: HaagenDazs

            You can definitely get a noticeable effect within a few days, particularly in as little as 7 days.

            Look at this article for instance, which demonstrates that you can lose 20% of the weight of the beef's water weight within 7 days. Obviously, losing that much water you are going to intensify the flavor and get some of the benefits dry aging is known for.


          3. In her cookbook Zuni Cafe, Judy Rogers recommends salting meats 3-4 days prior to cooking. We have tried this with beef and pork and have found the meat is tender and flavorful, and not too salty.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Albertagirl

              Salting and aging are completely different things.

              1. re: Albertagirl

                Would you explain how the salting is done? 3 or 4 days sounds interesting, if it can be done with roasts or steaks. I don't have the cookbook.