Dry Aged Beef

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by chef1x, Mar 2, 2004.

  1. chef1x

    chef1x

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    Hello all!

    I'm currently at a local 50 seat place with a fairly contemporary menu and trying to tweak it.

    I've been trying to find information about doityourself dry aging of beef and was surprised to not find very much information. What I did find recommends wrapping your beef strips in towels and changing them every day. Good refrigeration, low humidity, etc. I've been doing this with cheesecloth and aging ribeye and sirloin strips for up to 14 days and it seems to have a very good effect. Tender, juicy, slightly musty, etc. I trim the steaks as I go.
    Obviously a higher cost, but I feel it's worth it as it seems to have good buzz associated with it. Kind of the back to basics approach.

    One chef I worked with at a very large steakhouse operation used to just unwrap his strips and let them sit there for a few days. It seemed a little to crude to me, there must be something better.

    What I'm wondering is if anyone has had personal experience with this small-scale method. Most of the info I have found talks about big houses and/or unrealistic equipment. I want to age up to 8 strips at a time for about 2 weeks.

    I appreciate any and all suggestions.
     
  2. dano1

    dano1

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    Might wanna check in over at e-gullet.com and do a serach on this subject, there have been a few threads.
    Anyways a buddy of mine dry ages striploins in the walkin. First off to properly dry age the product must be fresh on the bone. Cryoed cuts can be "mock" dry aged but it will not result in a true dry aged product. The striploins are placed on open shelving or racks for air circulation-not covered. You want the cut to dehydrate in the low humidity of the cooler, concentrating flavor, enzymatic activity is also very important to the end flavor profile. A black fluorescent light is placed over the product-called bac-ban? i think-to inhibit bacterial growth. Age 3-4 weeks and enjoy :).
    hth, danny
     
  3. chefboy2160

    chefboy2160

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    Yeah dano1 , this is how I was taught to treat beef by my german chef when I was young . The science behind this is beef is mostly water and by dehydrating it a little and allowing the bacteria to slowly work on the protien fibers allows for a more flavorfull steak or roast and also helps to tenderize it ! it is much more work though and very few establishments practice this mentality today .
     
  4. chef1x

    chef1x

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    Thanks for the input guys, I really appreciate it.

    Now that you mention it, I have seen those black light things, although many years ago.

    I realize getting fresh bone-on is superior, but I doubt it's ever available in my market. So I am fine settling for "mock" dry aging and think it is still superior to a typical cryo strip. I will see whether I can get the bone on though. Sounds good.

    Chefboy, yes, it is much work, and very few people would use this practice, which is exactly the point. At this restaurant we also make our own bread and ice creams, which in our neighborhood is also rarely seen.

    Anyone else have suggestions?

    Thanks.
     
  5. dano1

    dano1

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    You should be able to find fresh on the bone meats most anywhere but you'll have to check your local meat purveyors- Sysco or US foods won't provide if they even know what your talking about ;).
    Reason for bone on is because of the enzymes from the bone that will help age the meat. Once a meats been cryoed its now "wet aged" and any benefits of being on the bone(as far as dry aging) are lost-aerobic vs anaerobic thing. You may just want to stick with boneless strips if going with cryoed meats depending on costs, ease of butchering between the 2. And yes even cryoed cuts aged for a week a or 2 are better than "fresh out of the bag".
    hth, danny
     
  6. chefkell

    chefkell

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    The whole idea of aging pasta day or two hang time has to do with texture and not so much flavor. Aging is basically a controlled rot to put it bluntly. basteria begin to break down the connective tissue making the protein more tender.

    I've done it in a few places on a small scale like your trying to do and the humididty was always the biggest concern.

    Use whole cuts. I don't think bone in is necasssary, but if they're there leave em. Fat on strip loins, short loins and tenders and don't trim a thing till it's done. The fat and outer edges will go greenish but if it gets slimey your humidity is too high.

    Make sure it's well venilated. Either on a rack or hanging from a hook. Don't put it on a sheet tray that'll retain juices.

    I put a small electric fan in my walk in blowing dead on the speed rack of meat covered lightly with cheesecloth and had sucess.
     
  7. wyoming

    wyoming

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    I agree with Kelly. That's pretty much the way I age my beef. We've been in business nearly four years now and have aging pretty much down. One thing I will add; we've determined that the following cuts require the following amounts of age for best flavor, at least IMHO.

    Ribeyes: 4 weeks
    Tenderloins: 2 weeks
    NY Strips: 3 weeks
    Ball Tips: 6 weeks

    Each packer dates their boxes with a pack date and our aging time is based on those dates.