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Aged Ribeyes - Tuscan Style

sprintersprinter Posts: 1,188
edited 1:45PM in EggHead Forum
Hey all,[p]I saw a topic awhile ago referring to aged steaks and thought I'd share my recent experience with trying to age beef myself. Our dinner club recently got together and we decided to have surf and turf as the theme and I was tasked with making the steaks. This was dirt simple but worked out well and added some real character to the steaks.[p]I started off with some 2 1/2 inch thick boneless ribeyes that I had. I decided to make Tuscan Steaks, thought this style of steak would work out great for this experiment. I simply thawed the steaks, wrapped each of them in a cloth towel and placed them in the lowest portion of the refrigerator. Each day I changed the towel and turned the steaks over, and I did this for 10 days. At the end of 10 days the steaks were dried but not at all molded (my worst fear in doing this). After 10 days I put each of the steaks in my normal olive oil marinade for 2 days, simply olive oil and some simple spices, and let them sit in the fridge again.[p]I cooked them as I would a normal Tuscan Steak, high heat sear on both sides for 5 mintues, cut them thin and drizzle them with hot, herb infused olive oil and serve immediately. Simply coated liberally with fresh ground black and white pepper and some coarse grained sea salt.[p]The aging process added a very nice depth to the flavor of the meat and everyone loved them. I definitely plan on doing this again. I think they could have actually benefitted from a longer aging time and I may try that next time but this was a very successful first attempt. The thinner steaks I would probably take out a bit earlier.[p]Troy


  • sprinter, there you go again...challenging us to join you on yet another culinary plateau! Thanks!

  • bigarmsbigarms Posts: 136
    Expain this to me..... drizzle them with hot, herb infused olive oil and serve immediately. ,[p]What is the hot herb infused recipe?[p]
  • sprintersprinter Posts: 1,188
    bigarms,[p]Its very simple. While the steaks are cooking on the grill you heat up about a 1/2 to 3/4 cup (depending on how many steaks you are cooking) of olive oil. Get the oil HOT, just to the point of smoking but dont scorch it. JUST AFTER (this will give the steaks a bit of a rest time after coming off the grill) the steaks come off the grill throw about a cup or more of fresh herbs into the oil and cook it for about a minute (I've never used dried). Take the herbs out after about a minute or they will burn. While this is going on you should be cutting the steaks into about 1/4 inch slices. Lay the steak pieces on a platter and drizzle the hot oil over it. With steaks that thick and the minimal cooking time on the grill the inside of the steaks will be pink if not even cold. This hot olive oil cooks the entire steak to about medium rare and adds an amazing flavor to the whole dish. Enjoy.[p]Troy[p]PS: This is always a two person job when we cook these steaks, the wife does all the oil, I do the steaks and the cutting, much easier that way.
  • sprintersprinter Posts: 1,188
    kat,[p]WOW, thanks for the compliment kat. You make me blush. Just trying to give back to a group that has given so much knowledge to me. I do have the occasional pearl of knowledge and I like to pass those on whenever I can so others can enjoy cooking as much as I do.[p]This method of cooking the steaks actually came about from a couple of my inquiries to the group about 3-4 months ago. I don't claim to have invented this at all, in fact others here had ALOT to do with my success with the dish by pointing me in the right direction. I took all of that information and found a process that worked for me.[p]The aging process came about from a friend of mine whos father owned a meat processing shop for 40 years, he's now retired. His daughter, my good friend, turned me on to this process and it works great. Her dad and I have had many discussions on aging beef, meat cuts, cooking etc. etc. and his successes and failures over the years. I'm only sacrificing a steak when I try new aging techniques, he was sacrificing a half a cow when he tried things. Wonderful font of knowledge and a wonderful man as well.[p]Thanks again for the compliment but it goes out to the whole group as they are the ones who got me started.[p]Troy
  • sprinter,
    You ought to write the whole thing up with all the details (which spices in the marinade? which herbs in the oil? etc.) for us directionally-challenged cooks. The aging, the Tuscan style, the hot oil, wow, what a lot of new things to try! Maybe add a few photos. Or I can come over and photograph/video the whole thing and then we can eat![p]TNW

    The Naked Whiz
  • SSDawgSSDawg Posts: 69
    sprinter,[p]Heck, I wouldn't worry about a little mold. I have seen beef aged until it was green. It scrapes right off. There are many folks (most of them Irish) who say that the beef hasn't aged until "it's grown a proper beard".[p]Granted, I don't do it that way.... ; )
  • sprinter, thanks for your post.[p]Found this interesting article at: -[p]~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    April 30, 1999[p]Dry-Aged Beef: Try a Little Tenderness
    Dry-aging adds buttery succulence to premium beef
    By Sam Gugino [p]

    [p]The next time you're in the mood for a really good steak--one that grabs you by the lapels and yells "beef!"--try this money-saving tip: Instead of ordering a medium-rare slab in the dining room of a steak house like Smith &Wollensky, walk into that restaurant's meat-aging room and inhale deeply. The intense, beefy aroma will make you feel like you just ate a 2-pound rib steak. "Smells good, doesn't it?" says Danny Kissane, who has been aging beef at Smith & Wollensky in New York for 18 years. "It's like money in the bank." [p]Dry-aged beef is an investment in time and money that few steak houses, and even fewer retailers, are willing to make. But it pays dividends for those willing to take the risk, such as Peter Luger Steak House, where the porterhouse is so legendary that beef lovers gladly make pilgrimages to the restaurant's less-than-tony Williamsburg (Brooklyn) location; Smith & Wollensky, which has five locations nationwide (and a sixth in Washington, D.C., slated to open in July); and Lobel's Prime Meats in Manhattan, which the 1997 Zagat Marketplace Survey called "the Cartier of butcher shops." [p]What's so special about dry-aged beef? Flavor and tenderness. "Dry-aged beef has a wonderful, rich, beefy taste I associate with fine beef," says Bruce Aidells, author (with Denis Kelly) of The Complete Meat Cookbook. "It's mellow and intense." For me, the aroma is meatier than other beef, with a whiff of game and earth. The taste is nutty and buttery--even fatty, but in the best possible way. The texture is equally buttery. [p]Only a tiny amount--less than 2 percent--of all beef is good enough to be dry-aged, and most of this is graded "prime." A small percentage of "choice" beef--Certified Black Angus, for example--is also dry-aged. At the slaughterhouse, steers are cut into sections like whole ribs (from which rib steaks are cut) or whole strip loins (from which New York strip steaks are cut) and shipped for dry-aging at places like Smith & Wollensky, where the meat is put into refrigerated walk-in boxes for three to four weeks. The temperature in these aging rooms is a constant 34° F to 38° F, the humidity a steady 50 percent to 60 percent. During this period, two things happen. First, the meat loses a great deal of moisture: A 20-pound whole strip loin will lose about 20 percent of its weight, says Kissane. The good news is that this moisture loss concentrates flavor. [p]The second effect of dry-aging is that the beef's enzymes break down the muscle fibers, tenderizing the meat. When a whole strip loin has gone through the entire dry-aging process, the outside turns a deep mahogany color, and the texture is that of a stiff leather saddle--more like something you'd ride on than something you'd eat. But that crusty exterior is trimmed dramatically, reducing the weight of the strip loin by an additional 20 percent to 25 percent--another reason why dry-aged beef costs so much. When the strip loin is cut into New York strip steaks, the color is an appealing rosy red--not much different from wet-aged steaks. [p]Dry-aged beef was the norm until about 20 years ago, when someone got the bright idea to put beef in vacuum-sealed plastic bags before it left the slaughterhouse. In this hermetically sealed environment the meat aged in its own juices, hence the term "wet-aging." Wet-aged meat is not exposed to air, so it doesn't lose much moisture. Nor is there a thick crust to be heavily trimmed as with dry-aged meat, so the meat is considerably cheaper. This helps explain why close to 99 percent of beef--including the meat used at many well-regarded steak houses--is wet-aged. [p]Beef tenderloin, the large tube of meat from which filet mignon is cut, is usually not dry-aged because there is no fat covering, as there is with the strip loin, to protect the meat from spoiling during the aging process. But to add more flavor to that natural tenderness, Schaub's Meat, Fish, and Poultry in Palo Alto, Calif., ages its tenderloins when they are attached to and protected by the fat of the larger whole loin. [p]Some think dry-aging isn't worth the time and expense. "There is a whole romantic fantasy behind dry-aged beef," says Todd Allen Hatoff, vice president of Allen Brothers in Chicago, which sells 99 percent of its beef wet-aged and has Morton's of Chicago and Ruth's Chris steak houses as customers. "But dry-aged beef is not higher in quality than wet-aged. You get more juiciness from wet-aged than dry-aged [beef]." [p]Aidells calls wet-aging "a crock," however. "The meat sits in its own juices, blood really, and that doesn't help the flavor at all. Wet-aged beef tastes wet, not juicy. Dry-aged beef tastes succulent and concentrated." [p]To find out for myself, I compared Lobel's dry-aged New York sirloin, rib and porterhouse steaks, and ground beef made from dry-aged chuck, with wet-aged sirloin and rib steaks and ground chuck from a Food Emporium supermarket in Manhattan. I also tried a wet-aged porterhouse from Balducci's gourmet food store in Greenwich Village. [p]The wet-aged sirloin did, indeed, taste "wet." The dry-aged beef was more buttery, fattier. The distinction is akin to the taste difference between skim milk and whole milk. The dry-aged sirloin was also more tender and had a more pungent aroma. This aroma, says Hatoff, may seem "off" to those who have never had a dry-aged steak, but for my money, it's what good beef is all about. If you are partial to game meats, you'll love this kind of beef. [p]The Food Emporium rib steak was tender and of good quality and would have been perfectly fine without any competition. But the Lobel's rib steak was beefier and more tender, though I saw fewer differences between these two steaks than I did with the sirloins. The wet-aged porterhouse showed decent flavor but the dry-aged version was richer, fattier and more tender. A hamburger made from the wet-aged beef seemed to dry out more quickly and had a somewhat chalky texture, while the dry-aged meat was richer and more moist. [p]In addition to using better beef than most of us can get, top steak houses have another advantage--broilers that reach blast-furnace temperatures, up to 800° F at Smith & Wollensky. To simulate steak-house cookery at home I followed a method suggested by Evan Lobel, vice president of Lobel's. First, disconnect your smoke alarm, then put a cast-iron skillet 5 to 6 inches from the flame of a preheated broiler. Heat the pan for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, season the meat with coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly cracked pepper, rubbing the seasonings gently into the meat with a little olive oil. Put the steak into the heated skillet and cook 5 minutes on each side (for medium-rare). [p]For a perfect steak at home, you'll need a piece of meat about 1 1/2 inches thick, which gives you 1 to 1 1/4 pounds of New York sirloin strip on the bone (I think steaks on the bone have more flavor and juiciness). A smaller cut won't allow you a good crust outside to go with the medium-rare inside--let's not even think about well-done. Porterhouse steaks take longer to cook because they are essentially two steaks in one: a fillet and a strip. So the meat should be about 2 inches thick and weigh 2 to 2 1/4 pounds. Invite friends. [p]Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines are perfect for steaks. I prefer a plusher, riper California Cab to a more austere and elegant Bordeaux. An Aussie Shiraz isn't a bad idea, either, but you should choose a serious one. Dry-aged beef is serious business. [p]Sam Gugino, Wine Spectator's Tastes columnist, is the author of the recently published Cooking to Beat the Clock. [p]HOW TO GET IT
    For dry-aged steaks, figure on paying at least $15 a pound and as much as $26.98 a pound (for porterhouse from Lobel's). Here are some sources. Mail-order is available unless otherwise noted.
    Allen Brothers Chicago (800) 957-0111. Mail-order only, with a lead time of several weeks. Limited to porterhouse and New York strip steaks.
    Balducci's New York (800) 225-3822
    Dean & DeLuca New York (800) 221-7714
    Lobel's Prime Meats New York (800) 556-2357 or
    Schaub's Meat, Fish, and Poultry Palo Alto, Calif. (650) 325-6328. Retail only.
  • sprintersprinter Posts: 1,188
    The Naked Whiz,[p]Done, check the link. Cant do any pictures as I don't have a camera but if you're ever in Southern IL there's an open invitation to document the whole process in any way you see fit.[p]Troy
    [ul][li]Steak Recipe[/ul]
  • sprintersprinter Posts: 1,188
    Fairalbion,[p]Great article, thanks for the information. They hit it right on the head when they say the meat tastes more concentrated, almost buttery. Great description for what we tasted. Definitely worth a shot if you want to try it. I didn't use the prime cuts of beef for mine, I just had a whole ribeye cut to the right thickness. I got it from a very good butcher shop here in Mt. Vernon but it wasnt prime beef.[p]Troy
  • sprinter,
    Thanks! Let's see. 10 days to age the steak. If I start now, will I be ready by supper time? Hmmm, I'm gonna have to plan this one out a little better....[p]TNW

    The Naked Whiz
  • sprintersprinter Posts: 1,188
    SSDawg,[p]My friends father who owned the butcher shop years ago said that he would have customers come in and have him butcher a cow with instructions to let it hang for 30 - 40 days. They would come back at that time, look at it and either let it go for a week or so more or have him process it at that point. He washed off what mold he could, cut off the rest, and packaged it and they took it home. I know the mold wont hurt the meat but I didn't want to have to waste the meat if I didn't have to. The steaks were not that large to begin with for the number of people I had to feed with them.[p]Troy
  • SSDawgSSDawg Posts: 69
    sprinter,[p]Definitely don't dry age smaller cuts to that point. I was trying, rahter unsuccessfully, to be humorous. ; )
  • sprintersprinter Posts: 1,188
    SSDawg,[p]Gotcha. Missed the humor part there, sorry. hehehe[p]He did advise me that there MAY be some mold on the meat depending on how long I let it go. The towels help keep the airborne yeasts and bacteria away from the meat, thats their main purpose. Without the towels the beef is open to whatever may be lurking in the fridge. They also help retain a bit of moisture as home refrigerators are not humidity controlled enough to allow for long age periods. The towels help retain a bit of moisture in the meat as well. I would not have been surprised to see the mold but I was hopeful that I would not encounter it.[p]Troy
  • KennyGKennyG Posts: 949
    <p />sprinter,[p]Great idea! Therefore, rosemary infused olive oil marinated NY strips for the Queen and I tonight. Only one caveat - my restaurant supplier was sold out of dry aged Prime. I had to buy these from Sam's Club, although still very good meat.[p]K~G

  • sprintersprinter Posts: 1,188
    KennyG,[p]Sure are a couple pretty hunks of beef. Have a great evening and hope the steaks turn out well for you.[p]Troy
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