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Aged Beef - at home?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
I've been hearing more and more about aging your beef for the best flavour, and how its done for 21 to 28 days in cool rooms.

Here's my question - could this be done at home? I'm not on an aged beef buying budget, and was wondering if its possible to any extent to do this one's self in the fridge. Assuming of course it's spotlessly clean and the meat has been purchased freshly, with a long use-by date and taken home in the minimum time etc etc.

Or is it not worth the risk/effort? Any ideas/opinions would be greatly appreciated - thanks! :)
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post #2 of 32
I don't have an answer but I do have an insight from a guy I chatted with a couple days ago.

His family had a restaurant in Hawaii, then moved here and they have a restaurant here. He said they figured out after a while that they had to let the beef age here to get the same as what they got in Hawaii the same day. (In Hawaii it was aged already in transport, maybe?).

Their food is really good, and this guy could tell the difference.
post #3 of 32
Well, I mean, you CAN do it, but you'd need the proper knowledge and equipment. It needs to be at a certain temperature/humidity, and it's a fine line between properly aged and spoiled rotten. I'm sure there has to be websites and things that talk more extensively about this...did you try a google search or something?

It is also my understanding that you need good beef to dry age (probably can't use the store bought "select" stuff) and you can't properly dry age a portion cut of beef. Like, you have to buy a sub-primal and dry age that, if that makes sense.

otherwise, I don't know what to tell you. Try a google search, see what comes up.
post #4 of 32
O.Y.
Aging beef is an art, not a science, however, scientific process definitely comes into play.
Personally, I would not recommend aging beef in your own home fridge.
Time, temp and humidity management are directly related to successful aging. Consistency in the latter 2 are critical.

For 28 day plus aging (assuming wet age process), 33 degree stable temp is important.

Dry aging requires stable temps as well, however the 39 degree range with lower humidity works better.

Cat Man
post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks Yeti for the insight. I guess meat only has a certain shelf life either way and if you store it well and keep it and use near to the end of its use-by date that it might have a similar effect. I prefer the aged beef to the stuff you usually get which hasn't hung much at all.

I have 2 fridges - one for everyday and another mainly for storage which doesn't get opened very often so the temperature is pretty stable.

I wouldn't try it with portioned meat - would get a "sub-primal" cut and no other. Will look into it further - although its probably safest to leave it to the experts hey :)

Thanks for your inputs

DC
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post #6 of 32
Hi DC,

The Cat is right about the aging process is not for everybody.

Aging, as already established, requires controlling humidity and temperatures but most importantly the size of the piece of meat is a factor. Half cows are aged, not individual cuts, making this practice a little complicated for the home chef.

Nonetheless, I often <age> roast beef in my fridge. Although it results in a slightly more tender and definitely more flavourful meat the results are not the same as prime aging for restaurants.

My suggestion:
Supermarket/butcher meat is already aged around 2 to 2 1/2 weeks (in Canada at least). Buy the largest prime rib roast you can afford (4 to 6 ribs). It must be freshly cut off the carcass or from the butcher counter (not wrapped in plastic). The meat should not be dripping wet like the ones in plastic wrap. Place the roast upright on a wire rack (meat up, rib below) so that air can circulate all around it. Leave in the fridge 4 to 7 days without it touching anything (no wrapping). You will notice that the surface and corners will dry up almost jerk like. Trim these dry spots before cooking.

For cooking: pan sear, without oil, the surfaces of the roast to caramelize. Smother your favorite rub (I use dijon mustard + HP sauce + salt + pepper), place the roast upright on a cast iron skillet in a 275F oven. Check with thermometer to your preferred internal temperature.

This aging process concentrates the flavour of the meat by drying it. Some natural muscle decomposition is also at work to tenderize the meat.

DO NOT use the meat if it has any puncture marks before aging and do not puncture it yourself. DO NOT use if it smells funny, becomes slimy or has any visible microbiological growth before and after aging.

The probability that a microbe will grow on the meat is reduced considerably by not wrapping the meat hence not creating a humid environment. Being exposed to cold dry air also decreases the chance of dangerous microbial contamination.

Luc H.
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post #7 of 32
I do something that sounds too easy to work, but it does give the meat a nice dry aged flavor or texture. Take a plastic container and drill holes in the bottom part, put the lid upside down in the fridge, lower level. Place a small rack on the lid, put the meat on the rack and place the container over it. Leave it there for a week. No, it won't be as good as aging for 20+ days but it works and I haven't had any problems with it. I always buy prime beef and of course that helps.

That aside, you got my curiousity going and I googled "home aging beef" and a lot came up. The one on the website themeatman was interesting but looked like a lot of hassle.
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post #8 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks Luc and Scotty - I'm really getting an education here :) I put the question here rather than just google it as people here have been a wealth of useful and pratical information in the short time since I've joined up - I feel I can get an answer from people who have experience and are willing to take the time to share it with others less experienced.

Thanks :)

DC
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
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post #9 of 32
Your welcome DC.

It is not an entirely scary scenario to age meat because in theory the meat interior is sterile (no microbes) assuming the animal was not sick which is what meat inspectors are payed to do.
Knowing that animal carcasses rot from the inside out because of the intestines and stomach get digested with bacteria and acid they contain, the rest of the animal is sterile so that when emptied a healthy slaughtered cow can be hung for many weeks (aging) without rotting. It is just a matter of keeping the insects away. At one point the cell structure of the muscles breakdown and causes the meat to brown (not good). Cool temperatures controls this degradation so that cells release enzymes that digest tissue rather then collapse making aged meat more tender (and flavourful). It was an art when refrigeration was iffy but now a regulated and rigorous modern technique.

Knowing then that meat rot from the surface inwards, there is an old French technique of control rotting of a Chateaubriand or filet mignon that consisted of intentionally letting a chunk of meat rot on the counter (for days/weeks) until molds covered the whole piece. It was a matter of slicing off the whole surface to exposed the pristine raw meat which, once roasted was like beef icecream. (I have never tried it because I don't know how to prevent flies from visiting). Legend says the mold and bacteria would tenderize the meat but that is, I think, untrue since none would burrow in the meat. I think it had more to do with room temperature aging.

Be safe.
Luc H
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post #10 of 32
That's interesting, but no matter how good it was after you slice away the mold I would still have this impossible to rid myself of a memory of a piece of meat laying on a counter covered in mold. Wouldn't the inspectors just love that one?
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post #11 of 32
< Participant is not yet authorized to post links. >
Goin' where the sun keeps shinin'
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Goin' where the weather suits my clothes
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Goin' where the sun keeps shinin'
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post #12 of 32
Thread Starter 
Luc - that does sound like russian roulette a bit hehe but its fascinating. I guess the human race survived for a long time hanging slaughtered meats without refrigeration - even with the flies - so it makes one wonder sometimes. Some didn't survive though and thus we learn.

Scotty - yeah the inspectors would be jubilant. Close you down right now


P.S. Scotty to post a link on here you need to get your number of posts up to I think 15 and then its ok

Thanks again

DC
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
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post #13 of 32
< Participant is not yet authorized to post links. >
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post #14 of 32
Weird - I didn't post a l--k in either message. Maybe just the word l--k gets the message dropped even if you don't put in an add--ss?
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post #15 of 32
Forums are quirky that way. I moderate several and the settings/software isn't perfect.:eek:
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One time a guy pulled a knife on me. I could tell it wasn't a professional job; it had butter on it.- Rodney Dangerfield -


'We're ALL amateurs; It's just that some of us are more professional about it than others'. - George Carlin
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post #16 of 32
I guess that what the reasoning behind the saying: Live and learn!!! (because if you die somebody else learns)

Luc H
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post #17 of 32
I don't understand the fuss about aging beef. Is beef different than pork or poultry in the way it ages. For generations people have been hanging their hams to cure in Parma with no refrigeration (although properly prepped), and years ago I made "air dried" duck from a technique learned from Paula Wolfert. The results were just fine. Again, no refrigeration. Essentially the duck breasts were wrapped in cheesecloth, hung from a light fixture in my living room, and set to cure for about 10 - 12 days. I just needed to keep the air circulating by using a few fans.

Shel
post #18 of 32
Shel,

we are talking about fresh meat (beef) here not salted nor cured meat as with hams.
Parma hams are salted before hanging.

The only meats that can improve with aging (hung) is beef, pheasant and venison (deer) and similar (caribou, moose and the like). (I think that's it).

I made an air dried duck breast once that was called Duck prosciutto that was salted with pepper and thym wrapped in cheesecloth and hung to dry (in the refrigerator). not bad.


....Is beef different than pork or poultry in the way it ages?...
Yes. Pork cannot be aged because it gets rancid. neither poultry.

Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #19 of 32
Almost any degree of aging at home will help. I would say that with something like a beef tenderloin you can actually notice a change for the better after only a couple of days of aging in your secondary fridge.
post #20 of 32
Thread Starter 
I agree - I try and buy quality whole cuts of meat that has a long use-by-date on it -and keep it as long as I think I can. Haven't had any bad results and it improves the flavour. There's been some great advice in this thread and I go by what's been said. Not gonna risk any nasty outcomes!
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #21 of 32
When I buy beef from a supermarket I usually buy the stuff that's reduced in price for having been in the store more than a couple of days. I prefer it that way. It's also easier than aging it at home. I'm not talking about ground meat.

One of my favorites, beef tongue, seems to never be on sale. It wasn't long ago that beef tongue was a bargain. Good old days :D
post #22 of 32
Thread Starter 
Tongue - that brings back memories. (Oi! mind out of the gutter please!) We had an aunt and uncle and cousins that lived in the country when we were kids, and used to visit them pretty often on a weekend. She'd bake the bread and have a big spread of fresh produce on the table - one plate of which she called sliced meat whenever we youngsters asked. It was delicious! I'm one of 6 kids, she had 4, so economy was an issue, and we'd all tuck into it.

One day - I overheard her saying to mum it was tongue - although I loved the taste, I never ate it again. The idea just grossed me out at that age. Silly really - but when I've gone shopping with my mob these days and we see corned tongue - they WILL NOT let me buy it. Dang, I should have got in earlier with it. :p

DC
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #23 of 32
DON'T LET YOURSELF BE DEPRIVED--BEEF TONGUE IS YUMMM

sorry for the caps
post #24 of 32
AND i cook it with corned beef seasoning
post #25 of 32
Thread Starter 
No-one else in the family would eat it - one whole tongue for 1 person? I'd have to freeze the rest. Maybe corned pressed tongue sliced and frozen....would last a while :)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #26 of 32
freeze the leftovers Thinly sliced. In a sealable bag, and with some sauce around it if you like.
post #27 of 32
Chipotle chiles come to mind for a seasoning, but only a touch of them.
post #28 of 32
Warm it before serving.
post #29 of 32
You can't age meat in plastic supermarket trays. In order to age meat there needs to be some air circulation - or so I've been led to believe.

Shel
post #30 of 32
That is completely true. Meat that has been sitting in the store is not aging. You need to get it out of that plastic wrap, pat it dry, and put it on a rack on the top shelf of your fridge. If any of the meat becomes dry just cut it off. You will lose a little meat in the process but it is worth it. Try to give it at least 48 hours. Any length of time beyond that and the meat will get better and better to a point. One week is the longest I have aged at home but I could have gone longer.
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