Big Green Egg - EGGhead Forum - The Ultimate Cooking Experience...
Welcome to the EGGhead Forum - a great place to visit and packed with tips and EGGspert advice! You can also join the conversation and get more information and amazing kamado recipes by following Big Green Egg at:

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  Youtube  |  Vimeo
Share your photos by tagging us and using the hashtag #EGGhead4Life.


In Atlanta? Come visit Big Green Egg headquarters, including our retail showroom, the History of the EGG Museum and Culinary Center!  3786 DeKalb Technology Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30340.

Dry Aging steak

MisterCodeMisterCode Posts: 69
edited November 2011 in Beef
I want to give this DryBag product a try. I was doing some research and came across a foodie's blog where they documented everything. DryBag's offering includes a snorkel vacuum sealer which is $150. If I'm going to drop $150 on a vacuum sealer I'd rather get a standard FoodSaver sealer. The blog author said that you do need the snorkel type sealer. She pointed out however that someone on the BGE forum says they just put the steak inside the DryBag and then put the drybag inside a standard FoodSaver vacuum bag and use the FoodSaver to vacuum seal the whole thing. 

The thing about DryBags is that they let somehow are able to release H2O while not letting in any air whatsoever. I searched this forum and there was only 1 "drybag" match. It didn't have the info I was after. What I'm wondering is, was this blogger correct? Can you actually use a FoodSaver in the manner described above without compromising the effectiveness of the DryBag? 
XL 2010 w/ Self-made hardwood lump charcoal
«1

Comments

  • Somebody (think it was Doug in Eggmonton) came up with a way to do it with a regular sealer. Hope stike comes in on this one

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited November 2011
    you don't dry age a single steak, but rather the whole subprimal.

    dry aging a single steak exposes both cut-flesh sides to way too much drying.  and the steak would dry too quickly beore it gained any benefit from enzyme action.  you'd also end up with an unwanted pellicle on the surface of the steak.  if you do the whole subprimal, the majority flesh is protected by fat, which also slows drying

    think of it like a loaf of bread. drying a piece would make it quickly stale and hard.  keep the piece in the loaf, however, and the crust slows it down

    check with RRP on the old forum. he uses a foodsaver vacuum with the proprietary bags and it works fine.  you don't need to buy their sealer.

    i just toss a whole rib eye into my fridge, fwiw. 

    both yield great results.  i am just fond of doing things "the old way"

    image

    and both the steak and i getting soaked

    image
     
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • lwrehmlwrehm Posts: 273

     A year or two ago Cooks Illustrated had an article about "dry-aging" a single steak at home.  Basically you wrap the steak in several layers of cheese cloth, put it on a plate and in the coldest part of the fridge for 4 days, turning it daily.  Their conclusion, it "cloned" true dry-aged reasonably well. 

    I tried it with some Prime NY strips from Costco several weeks after my wife had dry-aged Strip at a joint called Carnevor in Milwaukee.  Our conclusion, it was good...not as good but similar to the dry-aged from the resturant.

  • lwrehmlwrehm Posts: 273

    It took a few minutes of digging thru all the old Cook's Illustrated but I found it.   It is in the March/April 2010 issue. 

    Their findings..."Sure enough, four days of dry-aging in a home fridge game the steaks a comparably smoky flavor and dense tender texture.  As long as you remember to wrap the meat in plenty of cheescloth, place it on a wire rack for air circulation, and store it in the coldest part of the fridge, you can skip shelling out extra money for commercially aged cow."

    While looking any typing I remember one tip, don't just turn the steaks daily unwrap the cheesecloth and rewarp daily as well.  When I did this, without rewrapping, I found that some stray strings of the cheesecloth stuck to the steak and I had to pick them off.  I'm hoping that the re-wrapping process will reduce the need to pick off strings of the cloth.

    It may not be as good, but at $10/lb vs $60/lb I say give it a shot, you may like the results!

     

  • SqueezySqueezy Posts: 1,102
    Hear ... hear!
    Never eat anything passed through a window unless you're a seagull ... BGE Lg.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    the cheesecloth is more about keeping the wife happy than doing anything else.  it's not a great way to do it long term.  you'll see lots of cut-n-pasted internet methods involving towels, cheesecloth, etc.   all bunkum.

    cloths were used on sides of beef to keep dust off of them.  they have no place in the modern fridge, tending to keep the surface of the meat damp (not good).  you want the surface to quickly dry, making an inhospitable environment for bacteria.

    i seriously question whether anyone can taste the difference in a 'dry aged' steak over four days.  heck, drying means condensing, and it won't give up much water in four days.  it's a wet aged steak.  i wouldn't bother aging for anything under 28 days.  that's when the enzymes have had a chance to do something, and the meat will have given up a quarter or so of the flavorless water that dry aging is trying to get rid of.

    best bet for a steak is to leave it on the package and allow it to wet age.  the best steak in the butcher's case is the one that's over the sell-by date, brown, and half price.  red steak is mostly water

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Awesome stike! That's what I was looking for. Thanks for the practical/historical commentary as well. 
    XL 2010 w/ Self-made hardwood lump charcoal
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i have found that in a lot of things based on much older traditions, the tendency for the web-based do-it-yourselfers is to misinterpret and to try to reverse engineer it with some false idea of 'safety' involved, or to try to 'improve' the method with some uneccesary foolishness.  witness the wrapping of meat in towels (would your wife really wanna do red beef-juice towel laundry?!?!), done because someone thought you are supposed to wick the moisture out, or that it 'protects' the meat.  in reality, it gives bacteria a wonderful place to grow.  ...which is why it isn't done when done professionally.

    i tend to have always found that the 'old' way was far simpler, and more logical and direct (and less error prone) than any improvement being foisted on us by those food-bloggers who seem to only repeat stuff 'they heard from a guy'. 

    that said... check with RRP on the 'old' original forum ( www.greeneggers.com ).  he can help you with the use of dry-age bags with a regular foodsaver

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • http://www.greeneggers.com/index.php?option=com_simpleboard&func=view&id=923364&catid=1

    Just wanted to follow up with the exact link. Thanks everyone for the help!
    XL 2010 w/ Self-made hardwood lump charcoal
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    ron (RRP) has experience with both bags.  i have not used the sinbo sealer or dry bags.  i think that post is old enough he may have even more of a definitive answer for you whether it's better to buy one or the other or both

    he's a good guy, eager to help
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Hillbilly-HightechHillbilly-Hightech Posts: 966
    edited November 2011
    Stike - can you spell it out, in detail, for someone who has never done it, but is curious (ie, "me")?

    So, what type of meat do you buy?

    Once you buy it, what do you do w/ it?

    For how long?

    Any special surface preparation (rubs, etc)?

    Once the aging process is complete, then how do you prepare it (cooking-wise)?

    How can I convince the wifey that the steak is NOT rotten & it won't kill us?

    TIA,
    Rob
    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited November 2011
    your wife is not my issue. hahaha  every single thing about dry aging that is not "throw it in the fridge" has been concocted by some guy trying to keep his wife happy.

    fidel simplified my method (which is not my method, really, so much as just 'how they always did it') as:

    1: unwrap whole primal
    2: rinse, pat dry
    3: throw in the fridge on a cooling rack set in a cookie sheet (to catch the two or three drips that might occur)
    4:ignore for 28 to 45 days

    that's it.
    if temps are safe, the meat will be safe
    you want it to form a dry pellicle quickly.  anyone telling you to use towels is promoting danger (wet surface ideal for any bacteria) and risks wicking moisture from the meat more quickly than is desired

    a spare fridge is ideal (mine's a beer fridge in the basement)

    you can do it in your regular fridge, but if your wife is in charge there, you can basically forget it

    ideal temps are low 30s. meat drawer, if you have one, is good.

    i do a combination of wet aging and dry aging, fwiw.

    wet aging is merely leaving it in the package as long as you want.

    for dry aging, anyone who has done it a few times seems to agree with the general consensus that 45 days is best.  i like the flavor of 60 ddays, but guests will see that it is not as 'juicy' (juice is water, and that's what we are getting rid of).  i did 100 days, found the flavor fantastic, but too dry.

    my wet and dry is a combination that takes me to 100 days for the enzyme action and maybe 45-50 for dry aging.

    you guys should really check out the old forum.  seems every question here is reinventing the wheel. 

    next week is the perfect time to start the christmas roast, by the way

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Hillbilly-HightechHillbilly-Hightech Posts: 966
    edited November 2011
    Stike - thanks for the step-by-step (as an engineer, I really like things step-by-step).

    However, I (sheepishly admit) STILL have one question: what, exactly, is a "whole primal?"

    I mean, if I'm in, say, Costco - what am I looking for on the label? I don't believe I've ever seen any label say "whole primal" before? Also, if I ask the person working the meat section, and I say "whole primal" - will they know what that means, or will they look @ me funny?

    Also (I guess this is a 2nd question) - once the aging is done - do you then slice it up into regular steaks & cook those at your leisure, or cook it whole, then slice the whole thing?

    (sorry for being such a "newb" but I have absolutely NO experience in this)
    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited November 2011
    well, think of it this way.  a steak is like a slice of bread.  you want to age the loaf. hahaha

    a roast is good, or you can do the entire 7-bone 'roast'.  costco and BJs sell the whole rib eye. just make sure it is choice or better.

    when i do one long term, i simply hack off a steak as needed.  i have tried slapping plastic wrap or wax-paper (with a little oil to make it stick) onto the cut end, to minimize the drying on the remaining now-exposed flesh, but it doesn't work very well.  your only real waste is the ends, which will be overly dry.  and as you cut steaks, you create a new 'end', that will probably need to get trimmed off.  it's not unsafe to eat, it's just literally jerky

    do NOT trim the exterior very heavily. heck, don't trim it at all. i see so many pics of guys trimming the thing an inch and a half deep all the way around.  all they managed to do was cut off every bit of dry-aged beef they worked to create.  you don't work so hard to create something and then slice it off and toss it into the trash.  these steaks are not pretty to those people who buy only pretty red steaks from the grocery store.

    if you don't like the more oxidized brown exterior (man o man, it softens when cooked, like a fantastic rib roast crust almost), you should simply wet age.  you'll get the same flavors and tenderness from enzymes, just no condensing of the beef via water loss.

    if you start hacking steaks at 28 days, you can just keep the thing in the fridge until you get to the point where you want to slice, vacuum-pack, and freeze.  maybe 45 days for most people.  i usually take the whole thing, slice, and pack and freeze.  45-60 days.

    this was wet then dry-aged, 100 total
    image

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    pretty sure you once pronounced it disgusting.


    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    it's not disgusting at all.  our tastes are entirely learned.  and pity those who taught us to be bland and unquestioning, unadventurous, and to tend to the everyday.

    for what it is worth, there is no such thing as un-aged beef.  the stuff from the grocer is itself a couple weeks old.  all steak was 'aged' steak fifty years ago.  carcass hung in an environment that kept it cold, and you just cut the sucker up as needed.

    you already eat aged beef.  you just didn't know it
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    you supported your assertion that tastes are not learned by offering an example of food that everyone hates universally.  ...except those who grew up with it and learned to love it.

    well done. i stand corrected
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • DaddyoDaddyo Posts: 209
    edited November 2011
    According to The River Cottage Meat Book, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, which I highly recommend, dry aging meat requires dry meat and air circulation.  Vacuum sealing - or anything else that limits air flow, defeats the process.  

    During dry aging, natural enzymes act on the fibers of the muscle meat, making them softer and more elastic, so the meat becomes more relaxed and tender.  It is actually the beginning of decay, but nothing about which to be alarmed.  The meat will lose moisture, which is good.  Excessive moisture expands as temperatures rise during cooking causing fibers to stretch open, which results in water leaching out, etc.  Ten days of dry aging can cause up to a 20% water weight loss, so supermarkets vacuum seal, and sometimes even add moisture (i.e. weight).  Vacuum sealing allows big operations to throw the cuts around during packing without fear of contamination or weight loss.  It serves no other purpose.  It's bad for flavor.

    You don't dry age individual cuts.  You dry age a whole joint.  I have a thin bar towel (not terry cloth) that I wrap loosely around my joint, which I then put on a plate in the back of the fridge.  If the towel gets a little bloody on the bottom, I replace it with another towel.  Ten days to two weeks in the fridge, loosely covered with a towel, and the meat is ready to cook.  I only use the towel to make sure the meat is not sitting in moisture.  The towel wicks any moisture away and allows the meat to dry out.   I never found the bar towel to pull moisture out of the meat.  It just wicks moisture away.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited November 2011
    just fyi, the dry age bags do not defeat air circulation.  i am not a user, or even fan, but they are vapor permeable and most certainly allow the drying of the beef.

    i just think the bags are superfluous, and are nothing more than something to make people feel "safer" about leaving beef in their fridge.

    9 out of 10 people who want to dry age are freaked out by unwrapped beef in their fridge.  give them a chance to wrap it in 'magic' plastic, and they suddenly feel better about it.  yet, oddly, they cannot explain the plusses and minuses.

    me? unwrap, and launch the thing into your fridge, and quit being a pansy about the whole thing and whether your wife will like it or whether it will be safe and "how will i know if it went bad" and all that equivocating and vacillating.  if you like dry aged beef, then dry age your beef. 

    and tweev.... come on man.  we both know i have your number.  you shouldn't even be still trying at this point. though i admire your tenacity.  some day you might actually be right.  law of averages and all.

    and at daddyo.  get those effing towels off your beef.  no one ever used them, and there's no reason to start now.  it does NOTHING.  you are not supposed to wick water from the beef with towels.  and if you believe that you need air circulation (which you do) then the towel defeats that too.  go commando.  towels are for those who don't understand what the hell they are doing.  and a week is no damn good.  28 to 45 days or ou shouldn't even bother. 

    put it another way.  whatever could possibly go wrong will have gone wrong in a week, so there's no danger in going longer.  and if you like a week, you'll greatly prefer 28-45 days.

    no towels, no towels, no towels.  a thousand dollars to the first person who can explain to me the benefit towels give you over just leaving the meat exposed. 

    christ, i get sick of typing this sh!t over and over. 
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Dude,

    Family forum here!

    I have a thin bar towel (not terry cloth) that I wrap loosely around my joint

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • Due to be poor/cheap I have always shopped the "managers special" in the meat market. I like the dark ribeyes but rarely see them in the right thickness. I have always done some wet aging but am gonna try dry aging next time the local meat market has the whole ribeye on sale.
    I grill therefore I am.....not hungy.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    @LS... i thought the same thing.

    i used to be able to hang a wet turkish bath towel off my joint in the morning.  but i'm 45 now, and i'd be lucky to manage a damp facecloth
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • It keeps the dust off the steaks.  Mail my check.
    I grill therefore I am.....not hungy.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited November 2011
    @ribamster:
    " I have always shopped the "managers special" in the meat market"  that right there is the secret to life, and the first successful switcheroo i was able to steer the wife to.  she always bought bright red, day 1 beef.  i got her to buy the brown stuff.  you know, it's october and there;s a steak in the case with the american flag sticker still on it from the fourth of july.  that there is the best steak.  and the cheapest.

    try wet aging for a few weeks followed by 28 days dry aging.  no one s doing this (yet), but it is the way of the future.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    @ribamster...
    if you have dust in your fridge, you need to shut the door
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Stike! You're on a roll! I'm gonna grab a primal cut tomorrow and throw it in the mud room fridge tomorrow. Humidity and temp... yea I'll do what I need to... I'll keep researching... don't ding me on that.

    My in laws (using the 3rd lobe of their brain (their freeking iPhones)) will have their brains blowing out that I'm not using all these beta-personality safety techniques.

    Okay now this thread is out of control.
    XL 2010 w/ Self-made hardwood lump charcoal
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    funny thing is that it is perfectly natural to be a little gunshy when aging beef.  we have been sanitized to within an inch of our lives. 

    i did a christmas roast last year, was about 35 days when i cooked it.  we had my brother and his family down, include my sister in law's dad.  i asked my wife if i shouldn't just get a 'new' roast, and she told me to stick to my guns.

    well.  my sister in law's father said it was the best roast he'd ever had, and my brother, his wife, and kids (and of course my family) sucked the thing down like someone was gonna take it away from us. 

    i did nothing special, and can't take any credit.  it was aged beef, plus salt, pepper and heat.  i did tell them it was aged, but thankfully no one asked what it meant. hahaha

    but i felt a little vindication even if it wasn't truly a double-blind test
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • "...wife said to stick to your guns..." they don't make many of them like that anymore. I've got one though.

    I am not a metro-dude and my wife takes pride in me not being one. Primal skills folks... I make my own natural lump charcoal from dead hardwood trees that fall on my land. And for my day job, I manage a dozen+ programmers in a 25,000 employee engineering company. Life is good.

    Do I really have the cajones to age beef? I'll let ya know... like I said, my in-laws all depend on their iPhones as their proof that they actually know anything. Polarizing, I know. But true.
    XL 2010 w/ Self-made hardwood lump charcoal
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited November 2011
    you'll do fine.  remember, the beef that hits the grocer's case is already two weeks old, if not more.

    best thing to do is try 28 days.  it will give you a good feel for it, and you'll know what to look for.  cold temps, my friend. cold temps.

    i once found out too late my fridge was at 45 (beer fridge, basement. not the main fridge).  the beef got quickly slimy and smelled horrible. into the trash.

    dry aged beef will have a smell when it is aging, but it is slightly sweet, faintly metallic, and the meat surface will be dry and taut.

    PM me if you want a walk thru. but i am betting you 'got it'.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • LitLit Posts: 6,665
    Stike the fridge has to stay below 38 and above 34? Believe that is what I read somewhere. Is a stay in thermometer probe like a Maverick accurate enough to measure the internal temp of the fridge?
Sign In or Register to comment.
Click here for Forum Use Guidelines.