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Dry Aged Beef questions

NewbsNewbs Posts: 188
edited November -1 in EggHead Forum
I've gone over the posts about dry-aged beef and I'm curious enough that I'm considering trying it on my own. I do have a few questions that the earlier posts haven't addressed. Hope someone has the answers I'm looking for.
The process calls for an unused fridge. Does it have to be unused because the aroma of the aging beef will affect other food items in
the fridge? I have a beer fridge in the garage but I sometimes use it as an 'overflow' fridge for food that we can't fit in the kitchen fridge. Will it be alright to continue to use the fridge for this purpose as long as nothing else is in the fridge during the aging process?
I've seen the pictures of dry-aged beef and the outside edges look...well...greenish-brown and basically a touch rotten while the
inside of the meat looks red and fresh. Do you cut away the outer edges of the steaks once they're cut from the primal or is it that outer aged layer that makes these steaks so tasty? What about the end cuts? The two outer edge steaks would have an entire exposed side. Do I trim away a thin slice to expose that fresh red meat?[p]Thats all I can think of for now.[p]Thanks for your help in advance.[p]John[p]P.S. Its my 1 year eggiversary. Got my large one year ago today. What a great ride its been so far!


Comments

  • Newbs,
    The reason you want a dedicated fridge while dry aging is that you don't want anything in there that can impart odors onto the beef coupled with the need to keep the temperature constant throughout the aging process. You don't want the door being opened any more than the time absolutely neccessary to monitor temps and humidity and to periodically reposition the meat. Keeping beer in the fridge won't hurt anything, but if you're gonna drink a six pack, take six beers out of the fridge, preferrably at the same time of day designated opening the door to monitor progress. Don't go back and forth for one at a time.
    You also don't want to have any open containers of chemicals in the general vicinity of the fridge, especially petroleum and solvent based products that can lend a nasty odor to anything inside the fridge.
    You do trim away all of the discolored outer layer, and if you choose to age a rib roast, go with boneless. I did a bone-in rib not too long ago for 21 days and the meat closest to the bone had a funky flavor that I did not enjoy at all.[p]Congats on your eggiversary,
    Sean

  • NewbsNewbs Posts: 188
    Citizen Q,[p]Thanks much Sean. Looks like I had it a bit backwards. I thought that the aging meat might funk up other stuff in the
    fridge not that the meat might get funked up. As for the six pack...you've been spying on me? LOL! Guess I'll have to move the lawn mower and the gas can away from the fridge.
    Roger the no bones and thanks on the eggiversary congrats.[p]Cheers,[p]John

  • Newbs,
    I follow Alton Brown's method. I have a tuuper ware container that I drilled air holes in an monitor the air temp w/a fridge thermometer.[p]Here's the routine from Alton:
    Remove any plastic wrapping or butcher's paper from the roast. Place the standing rib roast upright onto a half sheet pan fitted with a rack. The rack is essential for drainage. Place dry towels loosely on top of the roast. This will help to draw moisture away from the meat. Place into a refrigerator at approximately 50 to 60 percent humidity and between 34 and 38 degrees F. You can measure both with a refrigerator thermometer. Change the towels daily for 3 days.

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    mauditebeerandribeye.jpg
    <p />Newbs,
    no expert here, but i have been chasing this stuff down long enough that i think i finally have it sorted out. i have done it myself, and i have also thrown out meat after trying it. my fridge was off-temp.[p]first, it should not look or smell 'rotten'. and SO then this is my BIGGEST chunk of advice. don't bother dry aging until you have had commercial dry aged steaks done properly.[p]for one thing, you may not notice a difference, frankly. when i got the egg i was so gung-ho i was cooking anything i could find and soon was getting nutty, which became "must-find-dry-aged-steak". i bought one from julia child's butcher (still making payments on it). at the time we said "so-so. not worth the money". part of that was because the steaks we'd been having from the egg were so much better than off the gasser, the difference was lost on us. we were still in the egg honeymoon phase.[p]now, maybe 4 years later eating BGE steaks, and finally being able to tell the diff between cuts, and we DO appreciate a difference.[p]so, here we go. a dedicated fridge (a spare fridge in the basement, etc.) is ideal, but not absolutely necessary. some good points in posts below explaining why. off-odors from other foods in the fridge, plus temp swings from open/closing. if you have a beer fridge, it's ideal. you cannot at ALL trust the thermo setting on the fridge. don't play around here. bacteria wants badly to grow, and it'll find a way. it MUST be kept between 34-38 degrees (gives you 2 degrees safe room from freezing and 2 degrees on the other end below the safety zone of 40 degrees). get a fridge thermo and let it go a few days as you check/adjust the fridge before aging. remember, aging starts to pay off on day 14 or so. some as long as 45 days. all you need is 4 hours of above-40 temps, and you risk squatting on the toilet and counting floor tiles for a day or so.[p]you do need to do the whole primal (or roast). you should cut all your steaks at once after aging if you can. that's so before slicing them, you can more easily trim off any moldy parts (if any), and anything overly dry and leathery. you don't have to trim all over to reveal 'new' flesh underneath. just remove anything that feels freezer burnt or is off color. ...that'll be a dicey call if you are unfamiliar with how it should look. [p]if you age it correctly, you will enjoy a certain 'funk' to the meat. for lack of a better description (and i don't ever count this word as a negative) it is 'gamey'. the smell is predominantly from the natural enzymes (not living things) which break down the tissue and produce great little ester by-product luvin which give it depth. you should be able to take a deep close sniff and think only, "that's different" rather than retch and hurl in the sink. [p]it should NOT get slimy AT ALL. the outside should be cold and clammy/waxy feeling, with no slime. slime is bacterial and it WILL make you throw up upon smelling. slimey? toss it.[p]this is why you should pay for a real dry-aged steak first, so you can taste it and SMELL it. you don't want to put a hundred dollar chunk of meat in your fridge and after 21 days, when your wife whiffs it, have to shrug when she asks if it's ok to eat. look at the above pic. that was last night's steak. would you eat that if it came out of YOUR fridge? that was from a butcher, aged 45 days. if the answer is 'no', well, then you may want to skip this experiment![p]alton's method is spot on, though on the show he does NOT use towels if i remember correctly though i think his posted recipe does. you don't need them if you are going for true dry-aging. in fact, they may wick water away from the meat, but they then hold it close to the meat. they can also be a breeding ground for bacteria (though if temps are ok, you would be ok). you want as much free air around it as possible. ideally, a small good dorm fridge (which holds correct temp) would be perfect. the bottom (coldest) portion of a lesser-used fridge, with the meat in that tupperware coffin (holes drilled all over for air-circ) which alton usues, is great. i have done them up on a wire rack in a roasting pan and uncovered (in my beer fridge).[p]good luck, but seriously, do not even bother if you haven't had a dry-aged steak to begin with.[p]if i may go all out on the know-it-all branch here, if you do go get a commercially dry-aged steak, try the rib eye first. a strip steak (un aged) for me is my go-to steak, but dry-aged, nuthin beats the rib eye. it has the most fat of all the cuts traditionally aged, and the fat gets literally hard, and condenses so much it is damn near butter (which is beef fat, essentially). tenderloin is already tender, and may get more so from aging, but it will gain flavor from the enzymatic action. i think a good old regular un-aged strip is so good, i don't bother with the aged ones any more.[p]oh, and use prime if you can. half of what you are doing is condensing the fat, and if there's not a good amount of marbling, you'll miss out. you also want a good fat layer on the exterior, as insurance against microbial ne'er-do-wells.[p]sorry for blathering, but this is something i am pretty passionate about and love to do/have.[p]a

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Photo EggPhoto Egg Posts: 3,293
    stike,
    Your post is A+.
    Thank you for all the time you put into
    the process and for sharing.
    Darian

    Thank you,
    Darian


    Galveston Texas
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Photo Egg,
    thanks. i hesitated, because more than a few times i have gotten the "you're no authority" comment. so maybe i am tripping over muself to say that I AM NO EXPERT here a bit too much.[p]i just know that i'm also not an idiot.[p]the guys behind the counter where i get my steak are just as enthused about what they sell, and they share the how-and-why and have demystified it all. they are the first to say it doesn't take a genius to do it, but that you need to know what you are doing and why you are doing it. it's not as risky as it is made out to be. it's going into it blind that makes it risky.[p]thanks again.

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Photo EggPhoto Egg Posts: 3,293
    stike,
    This is a great forum with some of the most giving and smartest people in a very wide range of subjects. I do understand your point related to "expert". I have seen some very nice people get jumped on in a very short period of time for making comments (most of them seemed true) that were taken to one extreme or another. We all have good and bad days.
    Keep up the good posts,
    Darian

    Thank you,
    Darian


    Galveston Texas
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Photo Egg,
    thanks man....[p]

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • BrayonBrayon Posts: 24
    First of all, wow nice post. I still have some steaks to eat to match you guys.[p]So you are a Maudite drinker? wow I wasn't thinking this great liquid was being sold over the border. Fits well with a Dry aged Steak I guess ;-)
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Brayon,
    yeah
    good stuff. first time i had it was last night.
    the store where i got the steak sells it (and their other productions), plus lambic, top-shelf wine, cheese, etc. amazing shop. [p]it was very good. i never got to the steak. hahaha
    it was maybe 9:30, i'd had that beer and some wine and we called it quits on eating steak at 10.[p]how do you pronounce "maudite" anyway? it's quebecois?
    means "the damned" or some sorta general cuss word, right?[p]anyway, good stuff.

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Newbs,
    I follow Alton Brown's method. I have a tuuper ware container that I drilled air holes in an monitor the air temp w/a fridge thermometer.[p]Here's the routine from Alton:
    Remove any plastic wrapping or butcher's paper from the roast. Place the standing rib roast upright onto a half sheet pan fitted with a rack. The rack is essential for drainage. Place dry towels loosely on top of the roast. This will help to draw moisture away from the meat. Place into a refrigerator at approximately 50 to 60 percent humidity and between 34 and 38 degrees F. You can measure both with a refrigerator thermometer. Change the towels daily for 3 days.

  • NewbsNewbs Posts: 188
    stike,
    Thanks for the in-depth answer. Most of what I've read on dry-aging was from posts that you'd written and I was hoping that you'd chime in. Glad ya did. I have tried a dry aged(28 days) strip at a restaurant and I loved it but I didn't get a chance to see it un-cooked. I haven't been able to find a butcher up here that carries dry-aged meat and I sure won't pay the kind of prices that you described earlier. I'll do my fridge monitoring to see what kind of temp variance I have and then I'll try to age a small ribeye roast. I'll let you know how it goes.[p]Thanks again,[p]John

  • stike,my father-in-law gave me a Maudite a while back and and told me the legend behind the word. You are correct it is from Quebec folklore, very interresting story, not bad beer either.[p]Cheers

  • NewbsNewbs Posts: 188
    stike,[p]Yes "maudite" is a naughty word used by Quebecers. It means "cursed" or "damned". It is a tricky word to pronounce. The general sound is Mo Dit or Mo Deet depending upon regional dialect. Here is the tricky bit...the "d" is sounded almost as if there was a "z" behind it but its subtle...kinda like you couldn't decide whether to use a d or a z. I used to hear this word all the time when I lived in Quebec. It was nearly always proceeded with the word "Anglais" as in Maudite Anglais which must be some sort of French greeting because I heard it alot. I think it means "handsome English dude".[p]Cheers,[p]John
  • NewbsNewbs Posts: 188
    tminNC,[p]Thanks much. Appreciate the help.[p]John
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Newbs,
    if you can find the dry-aged stuff, keep in mind that part of the price is due to the fact that it's prime. the other is that it has lost maybe 15%-20% of its weight. so a pound started out as maybe 18oz maybe.[p]the kicker is, it is so much denser that my wife and i will have one steak instead of two. that steak in the pic was $25 i think. down here, two decent regular old strips might run $25. so a meal costs us the same. and frankly, i don't NEED to be eating a giant steak by myself, even though i wanna, and sometimes do. URP![p]$20 a pound is what i pay now, versus 30 in boston

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Smokin' Wolverine,
    it smelled like wort, like there was a lot of residual unfermented sugar, but it wasn't too sweet at all.[p]they had maybe four beers from that brewer (i think they were all from the same brewer, anyway), and i'll try them all. hard part will be getting out of the store for under a hundred bucks. i'll need to go in with blinders on.[p]

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stike,
    Excellent. Thanks for taking the time to share.

  • stike,[p]
    Blanche de Chambly for me. Excellent summer beer.[p]Ottawa_egger

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Ottawa_egger,
    duly noted!

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    SouthOfI10,
    no problem. do as much research as you can![p]plenty out there

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Newbs,
    excellant pronunciation explanation, there.[p]i'm a cunning linguist myself, so i thank you for helping me nail it. my new favorite swear word!

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
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