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Dry Aging Steak Need Some Help

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi so I want to try this based on the article I read at CI, it said to place on a wire rack in the back of fridge and wrap in chesse cloth for four days. Question is, is a rack just a rack or is there some meat rack I might want? also what type of cheese cloth? there are a lot of options. Thanks.

post #2 of 14

You can not "dry Age" meat in a standard home fridge. Your fridge is just a large de-humidifyer. You can certainly dry the meat by allowing some of the blood to evaporate but the process of dry aging is a completely different beast. If you've ever been in a steak house with a dry aging room you may have noticed that it's separate from the standard walk in cooler. Temperature and humidity is tightly controlled and some dry-aging rooms are even lined with salt. Dry aging takes at least two weeks to a month to get appreciable results. This simply can not be done at home in your fridge.

The notion of wrapping meat in cheesecloth or worse yet towels in your home fridge is a great way to grow bacteria. Of course all meat is decaying animal flesh and has some bacteria but I've seen the article your talking about and others and IMO it's just not a great idea for a home cook.

Having said that there's no reason not to allow beef to dry in the fridge for a few days. This really reaches a point of diminishing returns after a about three days. Flip the meat at least twice a day so both sides dry out and change or wash and dry the plate or what ever you have the meat on each time you do this.

If you buy sub-primal cuts such as tenderloin, rib eye or strip loins leave them in the cryovac for at least two weeks before you cut them into to steaks. This is wet aging and utilizes the enzymes in the blood to age the meat. Because the meat is air tight in cryo this is safe and a far better way to age meat at home.

I tend to wet age for three weeks and then allow the sub primal to dry in my fridge for two days before I cut steaks.

 

Dave

 

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi Dave that is what I meant to do just a couple days. What about my question of cheesecloth and rack??? thanks

post #4 of 14

If your just drying meat for a few days there is no need for cheesecloth or to cover the meat at all. I wouldn't worry about a rack if you don't have one. A plate etc is fine. If you have a rack like a bread rack or a roaster rack you can use that so air will circulate all the way around the meat. If you are drying individual steaks a rack is not necessary.

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

I wonder why Cooks Illustrated says to do it the other way? I joined their two week trial but so far unimpressed. I think their articles are very short with no explanation and there is no comments section where you can ask further questions. Tough being a beginner, many of you have a hard time relating to a complete beginner. I just can't figure out how to go about learning. Still having trouble even with a simple burger or a steak. I want to learn cooking techniques not to follow recipes because they often get messed up. I tried a burger last night and it stuck to the pan immediately. Steaks I seer the outside but the middle never gets done. Any advice for how the complete beginner can start learning proper technique? I'm frustrated. 

post #7 of 14

I'm not sure what you mean by "do it the other way". If you meant covering the meat with cheesecloth what they are probably trying to avoid is having the meat dry out. You can accomplish the same thing on an uncovered plate if you are doing individual steaks. In short some times the simplest method is just as effective. ;)

My personal view of Cooks illustrated is that they are a great source for the home cook with a few small caveats.

One is that they make $$ by trying to come up with new ways to improve classics. That doesn't always work out so well. A good example was their method of prime rib which is basically the classic way of cooking prime rib bass ackwards. The end result with the product is the same but their method violated health codes and the Cattlemens association had....a cow.

The other issue can be their subscription tactics but that's another topic.

The cookbooks are all very good and perhaps they will offer more in depth explanations for you.

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrdecoy1 View Post

I wonder why Cooks Illustrated says to do it the other way? I joined their two week trial but so far unimpressed. I think their articles are very short with no explanation and there is no comments section where you can ask further questions. Tough being a beginner, many of you have a hard time relating to a complete beginner. I just can't figure out how to go about learning. Still having trouble even with a simple burger or a steak. I want to learn cooking techniques not to follow recipes because they often get messed up. I tried a burger last night and it stuck to the pan immediately. Steaks I seer the outside but the middle never gets done. Any advice for how the complete beginner can start learning proper technique? I'm frustrated. 



In addition to reading, you might consider taking some classes.  Local kitchen stores and cooking schools sometimes offer technique classes which can be very good.  I took a series of hands on classes offered by local kitchen store and taught by the recently retired head of the local county technical college cuisine program.  Sauces, soups and stocks one night. Vegetables and starches one night.  Meats and poultry one night.  Seafood one night.  Etc.  Everyone actually had to prepare certain items, as opposed to simply watching a demo like a lot of "cooking classes".  3-4 hour classes and everyone ate at the end of it.  We brought the wine.  Offered in two series of 4 classes each, as I recollect, with the second series being advanced techniques.  Also took a baking series that was similar and taught by a local pastry chef.  All hands on and technique oriented.  Wouldn't prepare me to work the line, but I learned a lot.  You might inquire around for something similar.

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks looking into that already. 

post #10 of 14

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the detailed response.  I've tried this a couple times with prime steaks, but only for a few days.

So the results I've tasted have more to do with drying than aging?

 

In any case, I wrapped the roast now and will keep it in the fridge until roasting time on Tuesday.  I hope I haven't

ruined the thing...never tried it on a whole roast before.  The outside is still somewhat soft, but it certainly has

taken on a new rigidity.

 

Thoughts on roasting? 

 

Many thanks

 

Doug

Denver

post #11 of 14
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #12 of 14

I doubt you've ruined any thing just don't let the roast get overly dry. If it starts to get a point where you are worried about that wrap it up tight with plastic wrap. Drying is as much as most home cooks can do and IMO it's certainly a step worth taking. FWIW if you have a dedicated fridge there are ways to convert them so you can control temp/humidity. This will allow you to get a true aging process going. Some butcher supply stores sell the kits so you could always Google that if it's of interest. Some have had favorable results by using half sheet pans of salt with the meat on a wire rack directly over the salt but again the results will be best with whole sub-primals and not smaller pieces of meat. 

Roasting needs to be adjusted to some degree by the size of your roast and if it's bone in or boneless and if the cap is still on or not. The half boneless standing rib roasts with the cap off that I see so often at this time of year are a bit more of a challenge as you can't get that long low and slow hold time that's ideal. Once you sear the outside you can always prop your oven door open with a wooden spoon to help keep the temp lower.

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
post #13 of 14

DuckFat-

I was wondering if you knew of any place that hosts demonstrations opr classes for dry aging beef? I am seriously considering doing it at my restaurant but want to learn/witness it first hand before i do. I believe i have done as much on line research as i can possibly stand.

Thanks

post #14 of 14

JB -

 

if you've done some serious internet research, you should have learned that there is no "standard" course / method / procedure for dry aging beef.

 

you can of course internet search the "famous" places - eateries or purveyors - and contact them for an internship.  from the stuff I've seen the temps are pretty much the same, but the relative humidity and "days of aging" varies quite a bit. 

 

to the best of my knowledge, there is no USDA / FDA protocol for dry aging beef.  those folks stand pat on the "must be wholesome" and the rest is between you and the moldy meat surface .....

 

when some salesblurb talks about "we age our beef from 10 to 75 days depending on . . . "  all I take away is: "total BS." - it's completely meaningless.

 

there are studies "reported" where "taste panels" could not distinguish between 21 day wet aging and dry aging at 7, 14, 21 days.  of course, when one looks at "who paid for the research" one could become slightly suspicious that the results were pre-determined before any "taste panel" met.

 

>> you cannot dry age beef in the home refrigerator

uhmmm, yes you can - with limits.  recently one professional reported his boss's experiment hanging a mega-chunk of beef tenderloin in the walk-in for 45 days.  they got:  beef jerky.

 

RH for dry aging is often cited at 70-85%.  a walk-in / home fridge is more like 35%

 

the point of dry aging is to allow time for the natural enzymes / etc to tenderize the meat before the bacteria make it "spoil"

 

if the meat gets too dry (i.e. low RH) all those processes stop.

 

I routinely "dry age" top cuts in the fridge - on a plate, cleaned / turned daily, loosely covered.  max ten days.  ymmv.

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