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Dry Aging Beef FAQ / HowTo

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Post Wed May 28, 2008 9:15 am
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
Dry Aging Beef FAQ / HowTo
Contributed by HND

My dry aging refrigerator (pics) MEAT PICS FINAL PRODUCT!!!

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i guess it seems pretty self explanatory. if you have any questions, fire away. Yes, it is working and yes it tastes real good.

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[ SmokyOkie ] I'm very interested in dry aging beef, but know very little about it. Can you expound on the subject, you know, take us to school. I'm thinking you're supposed to keep it @ 52* or 53* for three weeks or something like that, but that's all I know.

What is that little metal box with the electric cord sitting on top of the fridge?

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[ grilltender john ] Oooh, oooh, I know, I know. It is a power supply and fan from a computer and it takes the moisture out of the inside of the fridge.

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[ SmokyOkie ] If you take the air out, how do you keep the cool in? And if you want the moisture out, why is there a sponge in the bottom? What % humidity is ideal?

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[ rogerja ] For dry aging, you want a temp of 38 degrees and a humidity around 60-70 percent.

Best to go at least two weeks.

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[ SmokyOkie ] If that's the case, all I need to do is set my beer fridge a little warmer, and age it in there. What other rules do you need to follow? It seems like I've heard something about scraping every so often or something like that.

I buy whole ribeyes frequently, usually choice as opposed to prime (seems like if I hunt around, I can find choice that's =to prime in quality). It would be nice to dry age it before cutting and vacupacking.

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[ rogerja ] Not to hijack, but there are two ways of dry aging, wrapping in towels and replacing those daily and just letting meat sit (raised) and removing juices daily.

After a few weeks, trim the mold away. cut into steaks and grill or vacuum pack.

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[ BBQ'D Badger ] If this is not done very carefully are we not talking about some serious issues with toxins?

I saw on TV the other day where this chef from a famous restaurant in Toronto visited a meat wholesaler. This meat wholesaler offered dry aged meat. This stuff looks like it is straight from a morgue. After they trimmed it all up and served it, the meat looked as it should have and based on the comments of the people eating it the texture and flavors were out of this world.

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[ rogerja ] The only thing that looks worse than pre-trimmed properly dry aged meat in pre trimmed improperly dry aged beef.

Basically what you want is for the entire surface to develop blue and white mold. Generally, the mold you're developing should be a good mold (think blue cheese). This should be solid. When it get runny or turns green, either cut that part off or throw the whole thing out.

When you trim the mold off, you have delicious, concentrated beef.

You can lose up to 30 percent of the weight when you dry-age.

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[ HND ] roger is right...if your meat is green start carving right away....but you want a bluish-white sort of blue cheese thing going on....

its really not as dangerous as people make it seem because your body will automatically reject any bad meat approx .005 seconds after you bite it...trust me....its really really bad

yes the thing on top is a power supply....however....all it is doing is supplying me with power to the squirrel fan inside the fridge....

air doesn't have to be pulled out of the fridge....it just needs to be moving...the squirrel fan probably pushes 3-4 mph of air keeping it moving....you just don't want stagnant air...

the Tupperware thing had 3 sponges standing up. that is for humidity....to show you how well it works...we were at 55% humidity without them, with them and the air I'm at 75%....the ideal humidity lies 70-80%...you'll hear varying opinions on it but its what has worked for our situation.

next is keeping it somewhere between 34-38*....just above freezing really....if its too low the meat will freeze and not really age....above and your meat will rot....

i like to keep it at 34....

I've tried the just laying it on a pan with a rack...and that seems to work the easiest....I've done the "wrap it in linens thing" and while it worked, it was tedious work. use cotton linens and change them everyday....

i will also be using this fridge to make biltong later in the summer....its a dried South African meat that is preserved with salt peter.....that and dry voers....we are excited to try this....

we are starting 1/2 a strip loin in a week or so, I'll post pics as we go....

we started a strip loin. 5.5lb choice. which should yield 5-14 oz steaks after trimming.

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I’ll be updating with pics every couple of days....

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[ HND ] I put it in last night....i looked in this morning and you can already see it doing its thing...I’ll take a pic tomorrow morning and post it.

this one was a little less marbled than previous loins and it came off a small 10lb one (I’m used to 6-7lb half's) so I’m just as curious as you guys.....

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Day 3. looking fine

Day 7

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everything is going as it should. i'm not seeing anything weird going on yet.

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[ HND ]
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i did a few more.

that blue thing on the fat cap is a stamp that was on it originally...nothing that’s not supposed to be there....

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[ HND ] I’m far from an expert, I’d consider myself a novice as well....i just have this silly thing that i do where if i try something and i like it, I’ll go to ridiculous heights to try and recreate it....

i tried biltong a year ago and am working on creating a drying chamber for it...biltong is basically a strip of meat covered in coriander and saltpeter that just hangs out in the open and dries....its delicious....anyway...it sounds very unsanitary but i have to try...

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[ johnnyreb ] Are only certain cuts of meat useable for this or can you use any kind of beef. Would something leaner work too?

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[ HND ] the rule of thumb is high end choice, prime for meat quality. this one i think is std choice but should still be ok.

as far as cuts of meat....

most places usually do a filet, strip, or porterhouse (filet and strip) they are both pretty lean to begin with but age well.....i also do ribeye....i think its the best aged meat but i've heard it can be tricky...ours was fine...alot of guys age ribeye roasts and rib roasts in their fridge for 3 or 4 days...

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were a few days away....

now some of you are wondering where the white/blue crust is...that usually doesn't start until day 15-16...so you won't get to see it on this one....this is for a party on thursday....

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[ johnnyreb ] thanks for the answer HD. We usually do the whole loin thing from Costco so I was wondering if you could similarly age those like what you are doing here. Sounds like I might be able to provided I can build the rig similar to what you have.

This is hands down the most interesting thread I've ever seen on this board, and there have been some good ones :D

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[ FireDrake ] Filet/Loin can definitely be dry aged. One of the most expensive cuts there is if you can find it dry aged.

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[ Truckman ] I was at Wegman's the other day, and I happened to notice that they had dry aged ribeyes. $23.99/lb I believe the sign read. There was also another cut, I can't remember exactly what it was, but it was $29.99/lb. After reading this thread I thought about checking with my butcher to see if he had any dry aged steaks so I could try one. Hopefully he'd be cheaper than Wegman's if he has any. , At $24-$30/lb I'll take your word for it that it's good. If I liked it enough, I would consider building one of these contraptions.

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[ FireDrake ] Dry Aged can be difficult to find. Very few places do it anymore. Everyone's tastes are different but I would bet my firstborn it will be the best tasting steak you've ever had. If you can afford the price then don't waste an opportunity to pick some up.

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[ HND ] well if its dry aged, it very well may be prime beef, if that’s the case its a great deal....


today is the day....I’m excited to get it carved up this evening....I’ll hopefully have pics in the morning....either that or you'll never hear from me again... :D


fyi. it turned out great and it was delicious. unfortunately the pics are on someone else’s camera and I’ll have the pics sometime tomorrow morning....will post..

btw...it was 5.5lbs initially.

Trimmed part - 1.5lbs
Steaks - 3.2lbs
total - 4.7lbs

we lost .8 lbs to moisture loss.....

cost was $50 bucks for the meat. so technically it was $15.60 a lb for trimmed dry aged choice strip.

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I’ll have pics of the cooked steaks later (on another camera)

the steaks ranged from 8 oz - 12 oz. they were all an 1 1/4" thick. if it was a bigger loin I’d of gone thicker...

anyway, there you have it.

sorry I didn't get a better picture of the parts I trimmed off.

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[ grilltender john ] WOW those look awesome. I’m sure the pics don’t do us justice on how they tasted but they sure look great. Any considerable taste difference than say a fresh steak? Fine job you did there.

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[T-Rex ] Please forive my ignorance as I have never done this or even eaten a dry aged steak. Seen them and seen the high price for em, but never had one.

Couple ?'s. Is there ever a problem with bacteria? Is there an off smell that can be smelled or tasted once grilled? I'm sure the flavor gets concentrated, but what is the juiciness of one of these steaks? Great story and process you took us through. Some great learning there.

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[ HND ] yes we compared them to 3 strips at the restaurant we were at. he gets his meat from the same place i did. they were all cooked exactly the same and seasoned the same (Canadian steak seasoning *just a bit*, butter)

compared to the dry aged the fresh just tasted a bit bland...it was still good but not as good....

I’ve never ran into a problem with bacteria or mold.

smelling the uncarved loin, it smelled somewhat sweet to be honest. and the steak really has a gamy odor to it...but not bad gamy..

the last one i did i did take a bit that seemed somewhat bitter....but it was like "oh bleh" and then i spit it out...it wasn't so bad that i was worried.

I’d say they are just as juicy if not juicier. IMHO..

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[ Bob-BQN ] I didn't notice any bluish-white growth on the meat, either I missed it or it wasn't prevalent. Maybe this doesn't always happen?

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[ HND ] we only did it for 16 days....and it was pretty sanitary....the bacteria never had a chance to give you the look you were looking for....which is good....that outside probably could be eaten like beef jerky to be honest....I’ll let someone else try it if they want....

if i did one for 28 days, I’d say you'd get a little bit more goofy stuff going on in the later weeks...

this next one will be a 21 day’er....

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[ 502mids ] Great info, thanks for letting us look over your shoulder. More information on dry aging here

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Last edited by Bob-BQN on Wed May 28, 2008 9:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

Post Wed May 28, 2008 9:16 am
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
Dry Aging again (updated with MANY PICS)

[ HND ] this time i'm aging a 13lb choice strip and a 15 lb choice ribeye.

will have pics up shortly....

just finished a half loin over 10 days. we had to stop early to start these bad boys for a party.

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day 14. cutting them up tonight.

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right now i've got 4 steaks in teh fridge vacuum packed....i want to know how long they will keep without freezing them....

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[ missing link ] Hnd were did you come up with plan for meat ager? I was think about it and wanted to ask yoi think it would work for dry age of sausage. (Like salami)

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[ HND ] well we were in Vegas, and had one....i also have had dry aged rib roast before, after talking to my grandfathers cousin (my grandfathers uncle used to do it all the time) he told me what they used and after also consulting the internet i decided i could do it myself.

basically installing a fan was pretty easy, and i also asked a guy i know who has tarantulas how he kept his cages humid...

i will be trying 2 things this summer.... dry aging some beef for sausage (i don't think i can actually make the sausage and then age it., as well as dry aging a brisket...

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[ Grilly_McGrills ] Coming from an Italian family, I can say that we never dry aged sausage in any special kind of contraption. Most of the time, our dry sausage or salami were cured hanging from nylon stockings in a cool basement or garage. The key is to how well salted the meat is....

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[ jamesstew ] HND is my hero, I always wet-age briskets and tri-tips but am too afraid to go the dry-aging route. Also it might put the boss at home over the edge after all the fermenting beer, sourdough starters, grills and smokers taking over the house.

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[ rogerja ] Dry-aged tri-tip is the best! Briskets, on the other hand, don't benefit too much from it. Keep wet aging them and don't worry about the extra hassle...

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[ CanadaBBQGuy ] Grilly_McGrills, I'll back that up. Until they retired, my former butchers all aged their dry sausages in a cool cabinet in their own shop (which was in a strip mall). They taught me a lot about sausage-making over the 15 years I hung around their shop.

As for salt, it's the key to good aging, but my old butcher friends also taught me that another ingredient in certain recipes that really helps preserve the sausages in the first stages is alcohol. A lot of their most popular recipes included brandy or some other spirits and the aging process concentrated that flavor as well.

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