Dry-aged beef is delicious, and rare to find. Only a few high-end restaurants and butcher shops sell it, and it’s relatively expensive. If you’re thinking about aging beef at home, we say go for it! Imagine how many “cool points” you’ll gain at your next get-together when you tell your guests that you’ve been preparing their steak for the last 45 days.
Interested in learning more about the dry-aging process? We’ve come up with a list of commonly asked questions and answers to give you a better idea of what you’re getting yourself into.
1. What is dry-aged beef?
Dry-aged beef is beef that has been hung or placed on a rack to dry for several weeks. As the beef sits, the meat begins to change dramatically. It gains flavor, and becomes more tender.
2. Does aged meat taste better than fresh meat?
That’s really up to you. Most people prefer the tenderness of slightly aged meat. Others are intrigued by the cheese-like flavors that develop with meat aged between 30 and 45 days. We personally like the taste of steak aged for 60 days. After that, the flavor becomes too overwhelming.
3. Can I really try this at home?
Contrary to popular belief, yes! If you don’t have the cash to purchase aged beef at a high-end restaurant or butcher shop, you can dry-age it at home with this dry-aging meat locker.
4. What cut of meat works best for aging?
Choose a large piece that works well with quick-cooking methods. This makes standard cuts like rib steak, New York strip, and porterhouse ideal for aging.
5. Can I age individual steaks?
In short, no. It just doesn’t work that way. To dry-age the correct way, you need larger cuts of meat. It’s also imperative that you age them in open air. The best way to go is a primal cut (specifically a rib section) from your local butcher shop.
6. What causes flavor change and tenderness?
Moisture evaporates from the muscle, resulting in a greater concentration of beef flavor. The beef’s natural enzymes then break down the muscle, resulting in a more tender texture. Also, a certain fungal (mold) develops during this period that assists with the tenderness and flavor of dry-aged meat. Don’t worry, the mold is cut off before cooking.
7. What sort of setup do I need at home?
Honestly, all you’ll need is this Steak Locker.
Otherwise, you can purchase a mini fridge, a fan (battery operated), a wire rack, and an airtight vacuuming system.
8. How long should I be aging my meat for?
Typically, we suggest 14-28 days to start. Any less will provide minimal results. If you’re feeling a bit more daring, you can go as long as 60 days. The flavor and tenderness will be at its absolute best around that time.
Any questions? Contact us at BBQ Island, or visit one of our three locations in the Valley.