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Dry Aged Beef at Home

Boo! Yes, very scary. For some reason dry aging beef has become this big scary ordeal, usually left to professionals and the insane. I am not a professional. But it is really so simple it is almost stupid. Oh. Please don’t sue me if it all goes horribly awry,  I don’t really know what I’m talking about.  Once you have dry aged steaks in hand, read my posts about how to cook a great steak over a fire, or indoors.

Trimmed Steaks

Why?

Aging beef tenderizes it, whether wet or dry aged. Natural enzymes in the meat, among them calpains and cathepsins, break down connective tissue and proteins over time. Not only does that make the meat more tender, but many of the breakdown products have flavors we would call “savory”, “meaty”, and “nutty”.  Dry aging beef also concentrates flavors, and helps forms a better crust.  Most people like those concentrated flavors, but some find it too much.

Why not?

It takes a lot of time and fridge space. You get “shrinkage” as water evaporates from your meat. You also end up having to trim away a substantial portion of meat when you are finished. You pretty much have to trim and discard the whole exterior surface of the meat, which is why you can’t dry age individual steaks.

 

Me and Meat

MY MEAT

Beef with Towel

SWADDLE IT LIKE A PRECIOUS BABY

 

Aged Beef

IN THIS CASE, DRY AND SHRIVELED IS A GOOD THING

 

Surface Mold

OH GOD, WHAT IS THAT?

 

Beef Trimmings

TRIM OFF THE NASTY BITS, AND YOU WILL BE FINE

 

How?

  1. Get a big piece of meat
  2. Keep it cool. No higher than 38º
  3. Keep it Dry. Wrap loosely in clean towels, and change them as necessary
  4. Make sure it has good air circulation around and below
  5. Wait for 14-24 days
  6. Trim off the dried outer surface, and any mold, then butcher into steaks

4 Comments

  1. jared seaton wrote:

    works awsome did it for a wine dinner using a strip loin came out beatuful after 16 days thanks

    Monday, April 8, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink
  2. cedar wrote:

    So pleased you enjoyed it!

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink
  3. Ryan wrote:

    Cedar, I used to cater a bit and always asked my butcher for “30 day hang” rib steaks, cut at 2″ thick. I have never tried to do my own aging. I will be trying this as there is nothing like a well aged steak…and yes, just trim the mold off, what lies beneath is the perfect steak. Thanks for this post!

    Sunday, June 16, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Permalink
  4. John wrote:

    I aged it in a camping electric fridge, after 2 weeks it developed a puss like layer around it. I thought it had gone off, so i trimmed all the outside off and it seems ok underneath. It only realy dried at the bottom which was closest to the salt base.
    Might be because the fridge is so small and the air doesnt circulate around. Im thnking of buying a wine fridge which you can control the temperature much easier

    Friday, May 6, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

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