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Any advice on dry aging beef?

2

Comments

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    eliminates moisture loss... heh heh

    it's better to think of "dry aging" as "drying" + "aging" .

    you can age beef without drying it. keep it in the cryo as steven said.  you get the same enzymes doing the same exact things to the beef: tenderizing it and creating additional flavors.  protein has no real flavor.  the enzymes break the proteins down, making them weaker and creating flavors.

    this happens in dry aging also, but dry aging additionally allows these flavors (plus the beef fat flavors) to be intensified by evaporating flavorless water.  a pound of dry aged beef has more 'beef' in it than a pound of beef not dry aged.  the only thing lost is water
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Stike,

    Would dry aging a primal ribeye or strip loin in the select grade help it at all?

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    you get the biggest bang for your buck from choice or prime, but you can age select.  you get some tenderizing and extra flavors, but since the dry aging aspect benefits most from included marbling, you won't get much in the way of that.

    but the drying will condense the beef whether it has fat or not.  and that will intensify the beefiness.  just not as much as if it had good marbling too.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • 55drum55drum Posts: 75
    We did a prime rib last month...threw it uncovered in the bottom of the fridge for a little over 30 days....it came out looking like the pictures you see...had the hard outside...threw it on the grill...we weren't impressed...there was some component of the flavor missing...but we gave it a shot...GL 
  • SqueezySqueezy Posts: 1,101
    @55drum could you explain what component was missing?
    Never eat anything passed through a window unless you're a seagull ...
    BGE Lg.
  • SqueezySqueezy Posts: 1,101
    @55drum could you explain what component was missing?
    Never eat anything passed through a window unless you're a seagull ...
    BGE Lg.
  • SqueezySqueezy Posts: 1,101
    @55drum could you explain what component was missing?
    Never eat anything passed through a window unless you're a seagull ...
    BGE Lg.
  • SqueezySqueezy Posts: 1,101
    @55drum could you explain what component was missing?
    Never eat anything passed through a window unless you're a seagull ...
    BGE Lg.
  • SqueezySqueezy Posts: 1,101
    Didn't mean to do multiples ... don't know what happened there?
    Never eat anything passed through a window unless you're a seagull ...
    BGE Lg.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited January 2012
    my standard advice to anyone who wants to try dry aging (and who doesn't)?) is to forget buying a whole primal and waiting a few months to try it.

    spend a stupid amount of money on a true dry-aged steak, raw, from a specialty butcher.  don't go to morton's or some other upscale steakhouse who purport to age their beef (it's barely 'dry-aged'.  14-21 days is no real big improvement). 

    when you have a raw dry-aged  steak in front of you, you'll become familiar with the looks and smell and feel of it.  that way you won't be wondering "hmmm, is this right?" when you do it at home.

    then cook the thing.

    frankly, you might not notice a diff.  i didn't the first time.  but i also couldn't have picked out the difference between a rib eye or strip steak at that time either.  that's my fault.  if i can't tell the difference between strip and rib-eye, how am i going to detect any improvement (or downside) to aged beef?

    if you like it, THEN drop 80-100 bucks on a whole rib eye and age it.

    it's not for everybody, but there is an undeniable difference.  not detecting any difference is another thing entirely.

    it's not necessarily an acquired taste, but it (like almost anything) improves with familiarity
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • 55drum55drum Posts: 75
    @55drum could you explain what component was missing?
    Close as I can get is it didn't have the "richness" I'm use to tasting in quality beef....
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Q:
    1.) have you ever had true dry aged beef?
    2.) where did you have it and how long was it aged?
    3.) how long did you age your beef?
    and lastly...
    4.) did you trim it before cooking? (Please say 'no', because if 'yes', then you trimmed off what was dry aged to begin with)


    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante

  • 4.) did you trim it before cooking? (Please say 'no', because if 'yes', then you trimmed off what was dry aged to begin with)


    Stike,
    Sorry for my ignorance.  You don't trim it before cooking?  Do you trim it after cooking?

    I thought the dry aging produced a hard crust on the outside that needed trimming before cooking/eating?

    Not so?


    __________________________________________

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Gateway to the Hill Country

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited January 2012
    dry aging produces dry aged meat on the outside.

    most people have never seen a real dry aged steak, so when they do, they freak because it isn't 'supermarket pretty'. 

    "aging" is completely independent from drying.  dry aging is not simply aging, it is aging PLUS drying.

    the meat loses about 20% of its weight (all water loss).  that condensed beef tastes beefier.  as a thought experiment, open a can of condensed tomato soup and eat it straight. intense tomato flavor (if a little disgusting in concept)   now add water.  weaker flavor.

    so, we want to condense the beef and fat flavor.  we do that ONLY by drying.  the aging is again totally separate.  aging is enzyme breakdown, and enzymes don't care (much) if it's wet or dry aging.

    when yo uage, the exterior dries more quickly than the interior.  when you cut a steak, there will be a thickness of more-dried beef.  guess what? that's the dry-aged part.  sure, the interior is a little denser, but not by very much. in fact, the steak will still be juicy even after losing that much water (literal POUNDS of water lost). 

    the interior of a dy aged steak is wet-aged, having been protected from drying significantly by the exterior.  trim it off, and you have a wet aged steak, and are throwing out the condensed beef.

    when you cook an untrimmed steak, the exterior softens considerably, and so worries about it being 'hard' are erased.  it is firmer, and the fat drier (good), but it isn't at all like it is when raw (hard and over-firm)

    it may be personal taste, but that is after all the dry-aged part.  it is intensely beefy, and the fat on the exterior (having been dried) crsisps up incredibly.  if you like the crust on a roast (which is fried fat, dried from high heat), i don't get why a person wouldn't like the dried crust on a dry aged steak.  it's fried fat, and it has been dried even further.

    just as leaving a chicken in the fridge uncovered will give you incredibly crispy skin, dry aging beef will give you a wonderful crust too.  and it's got all the deep flavor you get from removing the water by dry aging.

    there are some who don't like that 'icky brown part', and that's fine.  but to a person of logic, i t seems to me that not liking the dry aged part is not liking dry aged beef.  better (much better) to simply wet age and get the same flavor in the middle of your steak all the way across the ENTIRE steak.

    to beat the horse to death...
    take a 2 pound dry aged steak and a two pound wet aged steak.

    decide you want to trim, and lose half the weight of the dry aged by cutting off all the dried part.  you are left with, say, a pound of wet aged steak (it aged, but is not condensed). 

    sitting next to it is a full two-pound wet aged steak which needs no trimming.

    if you trim, why bother drying it to begin with/ just wet age.  highre yield, and you get the flavor you want  in much greater amount.

    long time ago i used to collect watches.  had a watch from the 1880s with a gunmetal finish, oxidized purposefully to an even brown.  i didn't understand that that was the finish the original manufacturer intended.  i wanted it 'pretty', so i polished it.  i ruined it.  and i ruined it because i did not appreciate that some things are beautiful mainly because they aren't pretty.

    we've been sold pretty pictures of bright red beef for the last three or four generations.  but the butcher always takes home the one steak in the case that is brown.  but that isn't because he's cheap ;)

    "DRY AGING!!!" is hot these days.  everywhere.  on menus, in Cigar Aficionado Magazine, in the Food section of the Times.....  it sounds great.  sounds like you are getting back to "what real men eat"! what grampa liked!  BOO-YAH!  Scotch, cigars and driy aged beef.  and maybe a tattoo and a motorcycle.

    but show those people what a real dry aged steak or subprimal looks like, and they tuck tail. 

    salemanship has pushed it to the front, but most people still aren't truly sold.  like leasing a mercedes instead of buying one.  they want to get in the game without really committing to it.

    i'll tell you the truth, if i were going to trim a dry aged steak and throw anything out, it'd be the half-assed middle.  that, or i'd make carpaccio from it. hahaha
    this is 100 day carpaccio.

    image
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Stike doesn't like to trim... I have a 21 day coming out this weekend and a 28 day next... I like most others trim as i am not a fan of the hard exterior. In the end it is personal preference, then again i like ribs that fall off the bone, wouldn't win any contest but that is my taste preference and doesn't make it wrong. The enzymes are still at work on teh inside of you steak making it nice and tender while the moisture is leaving adding a more "beefy" taste. Stike was spot on when he said spend the money once on a dry aged piece-o-beef so you know what to expect

    After ruining almost all of my drybags and buying a different sealer I FINALLY got them to work. This is my first attempt with the dry bags and like Stike had told me in an earlier post it makes it wife friendly especially as it is finally starting to get that hard sometimes moldy crust. 

    I may have to post some pics this weekend... Let us know how yours turn out and most importantly remember temperature control, i also have mine near the fan in the fridge on a baking rack to insure air flow all around the beef.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited January 2012
    @upinsmoke:

    i implore you to try one where you simply wet age.  i get that some don't like the dry aged part of dry aged beef.  but it brings up the question: why not simply wet age?

    your trimmed dry aged steak hasn't gained anything from the drying. you toossed it out.  it's not beefire through condensing, because the middle barley condenses at all.  it's still mostly water.  it will have the extra flavors and tenderness that aging (wet or dry) impart, and you won't have to go thru the shenanigans of drying and trimming and bagging. 

    seriously.  if you try one primal simply left in the cryo for the same period of time, the interior of your steak will taste just like the steaks you have now,but so will the rest of it including the exterior.  and you'll not need to waste time with the drying part.

    i maintain that, before people started drying at home, dry aged steaks never were trimmed.  it's a result of our collective un-ease with 1.) things unwrapped in fridges 2.) not understanding why i can keep meat in the fridge for weeks past the 'sell-by' date 2.) the thing doesn't look like a bright red steak so it makes me nervous, etc.

    we're all victims of it. 

    i DO understand it's personal preference, but there is an option.  simply don't dry it.  because you're just eating wet aged steak anyway.  you aren't benefiting from the dry aging.

    saying it as someone in full support of a person's right to not like the drier part.  but asking why to dry it if that is the case?

    age it.  sure.  age it.  but WET age it, if you don't like the dry-aged parts of it
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 15,927
    when you cook a 45 day untrimmed steaks there is nothing crusty or chewy, it looks like it would be as it sits untrimmed uncooked, but  not afterwards.

    image
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited January 2012
    keep preachin baby.  it won't stick.
    hahahaha

    my 60/40 steaks were hard as a rock (exterior) when raw.  after cooking, they gave way just like a fresh steak with a push of the finger.   why?

    fat.  cold fat in the fridge is solid.  usually there's so much water that it is soft.  but after dehydrating, that fat is like wax.  but heat it up over a 1200 degree fire, and that stuff fries a bit and certainly melts.

    look at the fat on top of this strip.

    image

    image
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited January 2012
    ...photobucket is apparently in the crapper today

    anyway. ignore that other thin slice to the right in the first pic (and in the back of the second). that's the end. quite a bit like jerky, but entirely edible. I'd never suggest anyone eat THAT part (except me i guess).
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • crghc98crghc98 Posts: 1,006

    I remember in college working for a food distributor who also had a meat packing plantand butcher shop.  USDA inspector actually told the butcher he couldn't sell the steaks cut from a primal because the primal had gone two days past date.  Butcher cut it open, sliced the steaks, hung up a sign that said wet aged xx days and jacked the price up a dollar a lb........USDA guy said, oh, ok..................

     

    Butcher then went out back after he left broke open the one a month past the date and cut himself and all of the truck drivers a steak for the weekend.  The ignorance of the guy who was supposed to be the "safety " guy was amazing.....and so was I until the butcher educated me....

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited January 2012
    i hate teachers (or in that case, your inspector)  who don't understand what they teach, and only remember the words (not the concepts).  biggest impediment to learning is a teacher who won't relearn or unlearn, but just parrots.

    USDA states very clearly that there is no such thing as a "sell-by" date requirement on any food except baby food.

    but people are convinced that such a date on things is some type of safety related thing.  it is a date determined by the seller, and its sole meaning is to imply that there is a date (whether there is or there isn't) after which the product is at less than peak.  not unsafe, just that at zero-hour your prouct is less than perfect, according to the manufacturer.

    it's like those charts people throw around saying that meat 'x' will keep a year in the freezer.  that's completely wrong.  it will keep forever.  well, maybe not forever.  but it will keep SAFE for at least a few thousand years.

    quality? freezer burn? different thing.  but if you can package it properl;y, there is nothing at all unsafe about a ten year old pot roast in your freezer.  again, forget me.  i'm an idiot.  that ain't me talking, it's the USDA

    and they are far more conservative because they need to be.

    getting back to inspectors...
    i had a building inspector give me grief because a guard rail wasn't 42 inches. i told him i didn't even need a rail, because it was 18 inches to the ground.  he said "i want the guard rail to be 42 inches".

    i reminded him that it was a private home, and that i didn't need one to begin with.  was just a detail we wanted.  still got some grief.

    i finally asked why it was ok for me, in order to get the building permit,  to stand on a subway platform 48 inches high, without a guardrail, a bajillion amp third rail just feet away, as a train came into the station four inches away from me travelling 40 miles an hour, but i needed a 42 inch rail in a private home....
    he stamped the set and i said "thank you"

    frigging Fallingwater is the most visited private home in the United States.  Literally hundreds of thousands of visitors a year go out on the balcony, twenty feet above a waterfall itself a further twenty feet high.  40 foot drop to bedrock.  the rail is about 22 inches high, max.  ...and this guy unable to answer why I need a 42 inch rail on a porch.

    knowing something is not the same as understanding it. :-S


    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • @stike
    all the steaks i buy  at my butcher and eat immediately are wet aged minimum of 28 days. i can tell a difference between the two. i had missed a spot while trimming in the past and did not care for it... i will purposefully cook an extra untrimmed one this weekend and if i like it i will be the first to tell you i was wrong. again, personal preference does not make it right or wrong but i guarantee there is a difference in dry aged trimmed and wet aged steak. remember i am using the bags for the first time too.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited January 2012
    trim away.  but i reserve the right to say a silent prayer for the stuff in the trash can.
    :(  ( :) )
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • lmao, i will mail it to you if i dont like it when i try it.
  • Great explanation, Stike.  By Jove, I think I've got it (with a British-Texan accent).

    Thanks !


    __________________________________________

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Gateway to the Hill Country

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    @upnsmoke:

    the bags initially cause slower evaporation of the waterthan the exposed beef, so you may get less of the dried exterior using them.  at longer periods, like 45 days or more, i think (from what i understand) it starts to even out as compared to commando-style (i.e 'naked' dry aging)

    keep in mind that the exterior is basically a form of jerky.  dried beef.  don't let yourself get wigged out by it if the texture is too firm.  i actually find a very similar flavor to bresaola i make, although that is jam packed with herbs, too.  the bresaola is air dried (cured) beef, which condenses also and loses almost half its weight.

    fwiw, the drying of the exterior is one of the things which helps keep the meat safe, since the dry surface is inhospitable to bacteria (along with the cold).  that's why the vacuum bags can work safely (they are air permeable and create a dry surface), but wrapping in towels is a bad thing
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • So all this talk of dry aging and wet aging has me thinking..
    I buy most of my meat at Costco and because there is only two of us I freeze most of it.
    Have already been slightly dry aging steaks (5 days) but always freeze the rest after vacuum sealing.
    How long could/should I keep them in the fridge after they are sealed as freezing does change the meat, also how about Pork...
    This has been a great thread.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    long term freezing is only an issue (a quality issue) if the manner in which the meat is wrapped is sub-par.  vacuum packed and frozen, the meat won' lose any quality for years.  it never becomes 'bad' as in 'unsafe'.  you would be concerned with freezer burn.  but high quality vacuum packaging should virtually eliminate that concern.

    if your freezer temps vary a lot (which would be bad) or you freeze/thaw/refreeze, then you'd lose quality.  but freezing quickly, around 0 degrees and under vacuum... you aren't going to notice any issues from freezing

    not sure what the question is about pork, but (and don't tell anyone, because they won't believe you) yes, you can dry age pork too.


    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,167
    How bout chicken?

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • billyraybillyray Posts: 1,116
    I cooked some ribeye's the other day that I had vacuumed sealed in the freezer dated July of 2007. I waited until my wife told me how good they were, before I told her how old they were!
    Felton, Ca. 2-LBGE, 1-Small and waiting on a mini
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