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Dry aging a primal. Bag or no bag? Help a brother out.

Just got a new fridge so the old one is headed out to the garage. First up: dry aging a ribeye primal. I've heard about guys using some type of bag for this but I don't understand what that does. Anyone out there use these bags and can you tell me if it's worth the trouble? Sounds goofy to me.

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Comments

  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,158
    There is a product out there but I can't see the point of it. I always go commando style with great results. I've done 100+ days

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • LBC DawgLBC Dawg Posts: 110
    i've done it several times. all i did was rinse the thing off, pat it dry, and throw it in the fridge on a rib rack sitting on a cookie sheet. i've gone as much as 6 weeks and everytime has turned out great. 
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,016
    You're probably thinking about the UMAi dry bags.

    http://www.drybagsteak.com/

    I've never used them but I did read a few opinions.   What I took away from them was it's better to not use the bag.  The bag does keep the primal from looking like a science experiment, but that mold and crust that it prevents helps add flavor and tenderize.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • smokeyjsmokeyj Posts: 189
    There is a product out there but I can't see the point of it. I always go commando style with great results. I've done 100+ days

    Do you need to have a fan or humidity reading or can you just throw in the fridge and let it sit?

    I was going to buy these bags. I don't know if it makes it safer or what.

     http://www.drybagsteak.com/

    Thanks

  • I've done a lot of research on dry aging (but haven't gotten around to doing it myself). Here's a link where the guy explains the whole process and concludes that the bags aren't worth trouble.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,158
    smokeyj said:
    There is a product out there but I can't see the point of it. I always go commando style with great results. I've done 100+ days

    Do you need to have a fan or humidity reading or can you just throw in the fridge and let it sit?

    I was going to buy these bags. I don't know if it makes it safer or what.

     http://www.drybagsteak.com/

    Thanks

    I can't see why it's better. I think RRP is quite knowledgeable about them. Maybe he will chime in.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • RRPRRP Posts: 13,006
    edited October 2013

    The product is called a UMAi Dry Bag. I've used them successfully for 3 years now. I have also particapted in discussions elsewhere about the pros and cons. It boils down to the fact that they do work, they won a National Restauarnt Association Product Innovations Award and IMHO permit me to age my sub-primals for longer periods of time with better control. I will also tell you that I serve as an unpaid moderator of their forum so yes I am biased! I will also tell you that my wife is in the camp that believes in the Dry Bag, but would never touch a piece of meat left raw in the bottom of the refrigerator for 45 to 60 days! Here is the site:

    http://www.drybagsteak.com/

     

     

    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
  • I think Guy Fieri won that restaurant product innovations award for his "Knuckle Sandwich" chef knife?

    Seriously though, what do they do and what are they better? I want the mold and nasty bits. I thought that was the whole reason to do it? I have so much to learn.

    Thanks for the input. I don't want to waste a $150 hunk of meat.

  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,158
    RRP said:

    The product is called a UMAi Dry Bag. I've used them successfully for 3 years now. I have also particapted in discussions elsewhere about the pros and cons. It boils down to the fact that they do work, they won a National Restauarnt Association Product Innovations Award and IMHO permit me to age my sub-primals for longer periods of time with better control. I will also tell you that I serve as an unpaid moderator of their forum so yes I am biased! I will also tell you that my wife is in the camp that believes in the Dry Bag, but would never touch a piece of meat left raw in the bottom of the refrigerator for 45 to 60 days! Here is the site:

    http://www.drybagsteak.com/

     

     


    Ron, I understand  that the plastic bag somehow "breathes" but it is in contact with the meat and that, to me, promotes bacterial growth. Can you tell me where I'm wrong here?

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,016
    I think the UMAi bag lets the moisture out but doesn't let oxygen in....if it did, wouldn't the bag start filling with gas and get loose?  Part of the dry-aged flavor is the aerobic oxidation of fat that give you the "cheese and nut" flavors.

    http://blog.golbsalt.com/2012/09/07/umai-dry-bag-is-it-really-dry-aging/

    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • RRPRRP Posts: 13,006
    Steven, I know you would prefer a scientific explanation on how the material works, but it does breathe and releases moisture outward, but prohibits air and contaminants from going inward. I always weigh my meat first and my experence is a 21 to 24% weigh loss with is proof of the moisture loss. I have never had even one speck of mold. Whether you go commando or use a UMAi Dry Bag keep in mind that most evryone will trim off the aged, hard outer . Besides that many - though I try to convince them not to - will trim clear back to "grocery store red" which defeats the purpose and is a waste of delicious aged beef.
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,158

    But isn't there bacteria on the meat in the first place?

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,016

    But isn't there bacteria on the meat in the first place?

    You don't want bacteria on the meat...the temperature should keep it in check.  You do want some of the various fungi to grow.  These add flavor and tenderize the meat and complement the natural enzymes in the meat that break it down.  One of the fungi (same as mold) is Thamnidium and it produces a collagenolytic enzyme (breaks down collagen).

    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,158
    The sad part is, I know you didn't have to look that up B-)

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • RRPRRP Posts: 13,006
    Perhaps, but what we suggest is that you purchase sub-primals that have been sealed in cryovac. Then wash the exterior of the cryovac for exterior germs due to who knows how many hands and places it has been. Then slit one end, drain the excess juices and slip the meat directly from the crovac into the UMAi Dry Bag. OTOH I know initially I would rinse my meat off under running water,  lay it on the counter and slip it in the Dry Bag. Even under those perhaps less than sanitary conditions I still never developed any mold or bacterial growth issues. 
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,158
    Do you have to buy the sealer to use them? I seem to remember somebody figured a way to do it with a foodsaver.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,016
    There lies a problem with the dry bag.  You WANT mold.  The mold also keeps the bacteria in check - for example, that's why penicillin (a mold) is used to combat bacteria in many foods and as a drug for animals.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • RRPRRP Posts: 13,006
    There lies a problem with the dry bag.  You WANT mold.  The mold also keeps the bacteria in check - for example, that's why penicillin (a mold) is used to combat bacteria in many foods and as a drug for animals.
    I haven't got a clue where you get the idea you want mold in order to dry age meat! 
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
  • RRPRRP Posts: 13,006
    Do you have to buy the sealer to use them? I seem to remember somebody figured a way to do it with a foodsaver.
    No - not at all! Initially they sold a Sinbo brand snorkel type machine which seemed as the best method. Then I made a discovery using a sleeve of Food Saver bag inserted inside a UMAi Dry Bag that permitted the use of a common Food Saver machine to seal the bag. Then they developed a product they call a VacMouse which is a strip of material that makes sealing with a Food Saver a breeze.
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,158
    I'll have to give it a try. Maybe a side by side...no wait...it's my beer fridge!

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 8,495
    J. Kenji Lopez-Alt did a test on this at Serious Eats and found that the only difference between the meats is the fact that your wallet will be slightly lighter using the bags vs. traditional dry aging. The bags are around 20 bucks, so perhaps an experiment is in order as Estebanito suggested. Personally, I wouldn't.

    Since you reside in Texas and may be a stickler for tradition(chili w/ beans vs "real" chili), the bags aren't really "dry-aging" and just a form of wet aging as nola pointed out after he pounded salt.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,016

    RRP said:
    There lies a problem with the dry bag.  You WANT mold.  The mold also keeps the bacteria in check - for example, that's why penicillin (a mold) is used to combat bacteria in many foods and as a drug for animals.
    I haven't got a clue where you get the idea you want mold in order to dry age meat! 
    Fungi have been used to ferment, cure, preserve, and flavor foods ranging from cheese and sausage to vegetables such as half-sour pickles and Kimchi for millennium.   That common knowledge is getting lost in this day and age since such a small percentage of our population prepares their own food in the old-world traditions, such as charcuterie - rather they buy it in a store from a factory farm.

    Anyway, you can read it in Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie, or in some of these links.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beef_aging

    http://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/handle/2097/2255

    After further research, the dry bag doesn't have any impact on mold or bacteria anyway based on studies that aged them both ways and tested the meat afterwards.  Read the second link for some data on that.   Tables in the PDF - scroll on down.

    So if it doesn't have much impact on flavor, I suppose I could only recommend them if you have food splattering around or such a similar sanitary need in your refrigerator, since the bags cost money.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,158
    J. Kenji Lopez-Alt did a test on this at Serious Eats and found that the only difference between the meats is the fact that your wallet will be slightly lighter using the bags vs. traditional dry aging. The bags are around 20 bucks, so perhaps an experiment is in order as Estebanito suggested. Personally, I wouldn't.

    Since you reside in Texas and may be a stickler for tradition(chili w/ beans vs "real" chili), the bags aren't really "dry-aging" and just a form of wet aging as nola pointed out after he pounded salt.
    Twenty bucks a bag?

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • RRPRRP Posts: 13,006
    ...the bags are around 20 bucks...
    not sure where you got that idea! The closest product offered at $20 are the Prime Rib bags which are 4 for $19.50
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 8,495
    @Little_Steven, approximately 20 bucks for 3-4 bags depending on the kit you get. They have one for Ribeye/striploin and a Prime Rib size, among other products. That's only if you have a vac sealer, though(they sell a full kit with that as well).
  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 8,495
    @RRP from the drybagsteak.com product page. I said "bags" not "bag" but should have been more clear.


  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,158
    @Little_Steven, approximately 20 bucks for 3-4 bags depending on the kit you get. They have one for Ribeye/striploin and a Prime Rib size, among other products. That's only if you have a vac sealer, though(they sell a full kit with that as well).
    Ron just said you don't need the sealer I think. I guess you have to buy the other bit. The vac mouse.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • RRPRRP Posts: 13,006
    edited October 2013
    Ron just said you don't need the sealer I think. I guess you have to buy the other bit. The vac mouse.

    Correct! Here is a You Tube 5 minute piece I made 4 years ago on how to use a sleeve of Food Saver bag inside a UMAI  Dry Bag with a common Food Saver.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytQGVYuHHKg&feature=player_embedded


     

    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 8,495
    By "vac sealer", I meant the Food Saver. This appears to be a requirement to use the dry bags. I don't have a vacuum sealer so this whole thing is a non-starter for me. I'll stick to the way people have been dry aging since it's inception. If I had a vac sealer, this appears to be a way to do it under purview of SWMBO, versus hiding it away in all it's glory down in the basement/garage(aforementioned beer) fridge.
  • RRPRRP Posts: 13,006
    edited October 2013
    By "vac sealer", I meant the Food Saver. This appears to be a requirement to use the dry bags. I don't have a vacuum sealer so this whole thing is a non-starter for me. I'll stick to the way people have been dry aging since it's inception. If I had a vac sealer, this appears to be a way to do it under purview of SWMBO, versus hiding it away in all it's glory down in the basement/garage(aforementioned beer) fridge.
    Actually you do not need any kind of sealer! Honest!!! Using your hands or even 2 more hands from an assistant and a piece of tubing - even a straw will work you can collapse the bag and then suck the air out! Then quickly seal the bag with a bread twisty! The contact between the UMAi Dry Bag and the meat does not have to be perfect, though the tighter initially the better and quicker for the bond to form. Some people will also use this trick by stretching a piece of women's panty hose over the exterior to press out the air - or mesh commonly referred to as butcher's netting. If none of those appeal to you you can actually fill your sink or sufficient sized container with water. When the bag is submerged with the meat inside the water will press the air out so you can finish the draw down with a straw and then the bread twisty!
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
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