Price of dry aged beef
I am looking to buy some dry aged beef for some friends next weekend. Has anyone purchased any dry aged steaks from viandes McCormack? How are the prices compared to going to 40 westt to buy from there? Being a west islander, I don't have a problem going to Verdun or any other butcher that has good beef but if it is comparable to 40 westt, I'll just go there.
Please please try Marchand du bourg, 1661 beaubien est. he specializes in dry aged beef and he is the real deal. His beef is delicious and his store is so quaint that you leave so inspired. His cote de boeuf dry aged for120 days is 100$ (2 pds of meat) which I think will only be ready around Christmas. I think he has 40 day dry aged steaks available at all times. A lot of places that advertise dry aged beef sell you wet aged beef which is very different. Good luck! I've reserved a 120 day dry aged cote de boeuf for Christmas and will let you know how it turns ou! And while you are out there you can stop by patisserie rhubarbe to pick up a special dessert.
CH has cost me some money...
For various reasons I had been abstaining from beef for a few months. With my issues gone, I have been craving a quality steak and came across this thread.
Here is the scoop.
Marchand Du Bourg:
40 day dry age $60/kg
120 day dry age $120/kg
50 day dry age $72/kg
So I called Les Epicurieux first and asked if they had any 50 day and they offered me the entire rack for around $300 (final price to be determined upon weighing, and they sell individual steaks also). Given my beef deficiency I said yes and reserved for the 24th over the phone.
Then I started thinking. Previously, the most aged piece of meat I had had was an 89 day at EMP in NYC. So I called up Le Marchand Du Bourg and inquired about the 120 day and he gave me the price. Steaks are sold in 2 inch pieces for about $100. Tough choice but I believe the right one was made. I asked to reserve one but was told that this could only be done in-store.
So I made the trip to the store and was quite shocked by how unlike a butcher shop this place appears. I can't really accurately describe how it looks. Kind of like an antique shop or a cigar store. In back though is a wood clad aging room with shelves of aging racks. There was even a 360 day being sold at $300 per steak! So I reserved my 120 day for the 24th and plan on cooking this one and the 50 day. For science of course.
While I was there, I also picked up around 500g of ground beef from a 40 day. Not exactly sure what cut it was from but it looked like a brisket. The price I believe was $30/kg. They also sell 120 day but had none available on that day. Long story short, best burger I have ever had. The flavor was intense, almost mushroomy, less minerally than I expected. Anyways, very interesting place. Quirky like the owner.
So having tried neither yet, my expectation is that I will prefer the 50 day. At least I hope I do given the difference in price and the fact that I will have an entire rack. But also the cut from Les Epicurieux is V.S.C. beef (local) whereas Le Marchand Du Bourg sells western beef. Taste is most important though so I will see on the 24th.
Here are the steaks warming up to room temp. I cut off a two inch steak from the whole rib I got from Les Epicurieux. After butchering, the rib yielded 8 steaks 2 inches thick for $310. My initial thoughts:
- The steak from Le Marchand Du Bourg appears more marbled and is quite a bit firmer to the touch.
- I cut a small cross section of each steak and the Epicurieux is much wetter and lighter red. The Marchand is very deep red even in the cross section. It is practically the same colour within as on the surface as seen in the photo.
- The smell of the Marchand is much earthier and mustier. The Epicurieux also has a nice funk but much less than I expected. It still smells very close to a good quality wet aged or young dry aged steak.
- As mentioned in my previous post, I previously purchased some ground beef from Marchand that came from a 40 day aged cut. I would say that the smell of that ground beef and my 120 day steak are very similar. I therefore attribute the vast difference in smell between the Marchand and Epicurieux steaks to aging technique and/or cow breed.
Stay tuned for the cook-off!
The results are in.
The Epicurieux is an excellent steak, but the 120 from Marchand is FAR superior.
The steaks were prepared in the following manner:
1. I let them warm up for 5 hours in my kitchen which I keep at around 21 degrees.
2. 2 hours before cooking I salted both steaks very heavily with extra fine kosher salt.
3. I seared all sides of the steak in a very hot pan with butter and grape seed oil.
4. Steaks were placed in a 350 degree oven to roast until the internal temperature hit 120.
5. I then let the steaks rest on kitchen paper for 10 minutes.
In the first picture you will see the steaks cut (120 on the left). Sorry for the blurriness. But visually, both steaks after cooking are virtually identical. The 120 maintains its earthier aroma, but the 50 is a bit juicier.
In the second picture below you will see the steaks after they have rested (the 120 day is on the left). I should note that my better sense prevailed and I only cooked half of each steak. The other halves will probably be eaten on New Year's.
As mentioned at the start, the 120 wins the taste test hands down. The flavor is vastly more complex, with undertones of mushrooms and minerals. In some ways it is as far from a regular piece of beef as lamb is. I am not trying to be philosophical, but there are moments when eating a large steak, regardless of the quality, that I start to get a bit beef drunk. With the 120 I never hit that point but maybe that is just because the flavor was just so unusual. But please don't misunderstand, the 50 was still a great steak. Probably better than any Angus I have purchased from any store or had in a restaurant. It was extremely tender and flavorful, just not as complex and also eventually brought on the beef drunkiness.
Now the downsides of the 120. Obviously it is very expensive. Second, since it was more marbled than the 50, I found it coated my mouth in an unpleasant fat. This is much different from my experiences with both real Kobe and domestic Wagyu blends where I found the fat to be much more pleasant. This brings me to another point. I have eaten A5 Kobe, and Wagyus from Snake River Farms and Kobe Beef Classic. Of those, for me the A5 wins easily still. After that, it is really a tossup between the Snake River Farms Wagyu and the 120. Below that would be the Kobe Beef Classic and then the 50.
Now to have made this a really comprehensive test I should have also purchased a 40 day from Marchand. As I mentioned in my previous post, I wonder if some of the differences between the 120 from Marchand and the 50 from Epicurieux can be attributed to cattle breed and/or aging technique. In fact it is my strong suspicion that this is the case and perhaps I just prefer Marchand's aging technique and western cattle. Perhaps it is a test I will try next year when my next urging for steak hits.
I hope these long and detailed posts have helped. Happy holidays!
Unless a person has experience dry-aging beef and access to a meat locker with a tightly controlled temperature of between 0-2 degrees and controlled humidity as well, it's a BAD idea to try this yourself in your home fridge, you're more likely to get food poisoning than good dry-aged beef.
I'm not so sure.
I have limited experience (I dry aged maybe 10 rib roasts in 3 years), but I don't have access to a meat locker. I use my 3 door bar fridge (which doubles as my M-I-L's home fridge).
My results ranged from mediocre to fantastic. Never had a problem with food poisoning.
Besides the aging process, you gotta trim the exterior where potential nasties might be present.
I'm not saying its impossible to get food poisoning. IMO, I feel that following basic rules (temps/trimming/proper cooking) you are not more likely to get food poisoning.
I have aged a full rib before in my fridge for almost 2 weeks. the results were great but cannot compare to a professional setup. at this point, given that I eat red meat fairly rarely and view it mostly as a treat, I am willing to pay the premium price at a butcher to avoid the hassle and lower quality results of doing it myself.
Just curious, does the whole rack come au natural, or does the butcher trim the non-edible outside parts?
If you trimmed it yourself, did you weigh out the scraps?
Also, was the whole rack a traditional-sized 7 bone roast? If it was, the $310 price tag would seem like a bargain as a similar, non-aged roast would run $120-$150.
the rack came trimmed already. I asked him to leave it untrimmed but he would not and I didn't make a big deal about it since it takes a skilled hand to properly trim a rack like this. bones were also removed already so I can't say with certainty that it was 7 ribs but based on the size I am pretty certain it was.
in my opinion I think it was reasonably priced if you are in the market for premium beef. there was a butcher I once went to that was going to charge almost 600 for a full prime grade non-aged rack.
Paid $37 for a 20oz Rib at 40 Westt. Works out just a little more expensive than the price quoted above at $60/kg.
I always ask for the oldest cut in stock that's well marbled.
It was a REALLY good steak. More than the aging, you need good fat distribution. That's at least half the battle - you can't age a lean (or unevenly fatty) rib steak into a winner, no matter how long you wait!