Complete guide to dry aging beef at home

Jason Webster
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Overview of Aging Meat

Dry aging beef is a process of allowing the meat to age. Rarely heard of beyond the butcher world, dry aging helps develop the meaty flavor and chewy texture of steak and roast beef.

Dry aged beef has been gaining popularity and has been getting incorporated into some restaurants. Coming close to the dry aged beef at a steakhouse is now possible to make at home.

What is dry aging? – Dry aging is a method of meat preservation. It is the process of letting meat sit and age for 2 to 4 weeks at specific temperature and humidity level. It is a process where the meat’s natural enzymes break down the connective tissue of meat. When the meat gets contact with oxygen (air), this process of enzyme activity is accelerated.

Why age meat? – Some people believe that aging meat makes it more tender. Ageing does tenderize the meat but there is more to it. If the meat is to be used for roasting as opposed to grilling, the aging process can make it to taste great. Aging helps the meat develop a deep and meaty flavor and a chewy texture.

How ageing improves flavor – As the enzymes break down the muscle fibers of the meat, fat is exposed. As the fat becomes more exposed, it begins to oxidize. The fat that ages longer gets darker. This is when the meat begins to develop its characteristic steak flavor.

How Does Dry-Aging Work?

Dry-aging, or hanging beef, is beneficial to beef in many ways. Most restaurants use dry-aging racks in their walk-in freezers, but other techniques can be used at home.

Beef is aged using a process similar to hanging a side of beef in your own refrigerator, but for a longer period, allowing for more tender meat once cooked.

Beef becomes tender with age as moisture, enzymes and other substances develop and break down, making the beef more tender.

Most chefs agree that the "third-party" protein is the most flavorful product when it comes to dry-aged beef.

This is the protein that separates from vacuum-sealed beef when left to hang in a refrigerator. As enzymes, bacteria, and mold break down the muscle fibers in the beef, the protein sets off, preventing further aging and increasing tenderness.

During the first few days of aging, moisture generally begins to evaporate. Then, a crust will begin to form as the acids and amino acids in the meat begin to crystallize. By the end of a few weeks, the meat will have a dry exterior and the most significant change will include a drastic increase in tenderness to the meat.

This is due to the breakdown of natural enzyme, tendin, and elastin that leads to a gelatinization of the connective tissue, and ultimately, an increase in moisture in the muscle fibers.

Dry-aging beef has been practiced in western butcheries for decades. Unlike wet-aging, which steams the meat in vacuum-sealed bags and is done for a very short time to increase tenderness, dry-aging involves hanging carcasses in refrigerated air for weeks or more. This technique delivers meat with a unique flavor and texture, a process which has remained an art form for most butchers.

The meat benefits from the ambient dry air and this method is not only the best for flavor but also for tenderness. It’s also a great way to save money.

When should you dry-age your meat?

Dry-Aging is done to mature the meat. It can be an ideal choice for people who have tight schedules and cannot manage a wet-aged blend.

Most home or hobby butchers can dry-age meat rather than the wet-aging procedure with great results. Hence, you can also dry-age beef at home.

How Long Should Beef Be Aged?

When in the US you can only purchase aged beef. It will be grey and will have a crust on the outside from the dry aging process. In the UK and much of Europe you can get unaged beef or aged beef.

The process is actually very simple, as long as you have the right conditions. You need a sturdy enough fridge, with enough room for the beef, and a temperature of around -2 degrees Celcius.

Never go over this temperature as you risk ruining the meat. Way below freezing can be dangerous too, so you need to monitor the temperature.

Don’t worry if you live in an area where the temperature is too warm, however, as you can age a cheaper lean cut like a rump roast, and if you move to a different area and can’t get hold of it, you can simply thaw it out and have normal beef.

Dry aging has an amazing effect on the flavor of beef, and is a hobby that can save you a lot of money. There are whole websites dedicated to teaching you how to do it, so be sure to check them out before you start.

I will post some links at the end of this article.

Dry-aging beef has been practiced in western butcheries for decades. Unlike wet-aging, which steams the meat in vacuum-sealed bags and is done for a very short time to increase tenderness, dry-aging involves hanging carcasses in refrigerated air for weeks or more. This technique delivers meat with a unique flavor and texture, a process which has remained an art form for most butchers.

The meat benefits from the ambient dry air and this method is not only the best for flavor but also for tenderness. It’s also a great way to save money.

When should you dry-age your meat?

Dry-Aging is done to mature the meat. It can be an ideal choice for people who have tight schedules and cannot manage a wet-aged blend.

Most home or hobby butchers can dry-age meat rather than the wet-aging procedure with great results. Hence, you can also dry-age beef at home.

What Cuts of Beef Work Best?

It’s not hard to dry age beef at home and the results are pretty amazing.

The process works really well with the New York Strip or the T-bone steak. Both are thicker cuts that will hold in the moisture and won’t be affected by the drying process. It’s also worth mentioning that they both are rich in flavor and have the flavor of an aged steak.

Other good cuts include short loin, rib eye, and sirloin. I cut any of these steaks into thick pieces instead of traditional steaks. I want to be able to dry all sides of the meat, so I cut them into pieces that are anywhere from 1 to 2 inches thick.

I also recommend you get the meat cut at your local butcher. If not, at a local supermarket. If you are barbecuing or grilling, you can get the meat cut into 2-inch squares. This will help keep the meat from drying out.

Dry-aging beef has been practiced in western butcheries for decades. Unlike wet-aging, which steams the meat in vacuum-sealed bags and is done for a very short time to increase tenderness, dry-aging involves hanging carcasses in refrigerated air for weeks or more. This technique delivers meat with a unique flavor and texture, a process which has remained an art form for most butchers.

The meat benefits from the ambient dry air and this method is not only the best for flavor but also for tenderness. It’s also a great way to save money.

When should you dry-age your meat?

Dry-Aging is done to mature the meat. It can be an ideal choice for people who have tight schedules and cannot manage a wet-aged blend.

Most home or hobby butchers can dry-age meat rather than the wet-aging procedure with great results. Hence, you can also dry-age beef at home.

Wet Aging vs. Dry Aging

If you’re a steak lover who has never taken the time to learn about dry aging beef, you’re missing out. Dry aging is the process of allowing beef to age naturally, which results in some absolutely amazing flavors. There is a big difference between wet aging and dry aging, and this article will help you determine which is best for you.

The purpose of wet aging is to age beef quickly. It is done in a vacuum-sealed environment, which allows any excess moisture to be removed from the beef. This process is done prior to packaging the beef for sale.

Wet aging beef yields increased tenderness. This allows beef to be sold quicker. If the meat is going to be used for grilling or searing, this process is the right one to take.

Dry aging takes place at a temperature that is between 38-40F and helps to break down the proteins in the meat, thereby developing flavor. Dry aging requires that the beef be aged at least 10 days. During this process, dry ice is used to provide the aging environment. This slow aging allows for the natural breakdown of fats and proteins so that the beef becomes more tender.

Dry-aging beef has been practiced in western butcheries for decades. Unlike wet-aging, which steams the meat in vacuum-sealed bags and is done for a very short time to increase tenderness, dry-aging involves hanging carcasses in refrigerated air for weeks or more. This technique delivers meat with a unique flavor and texture, a process which has remained an art form for most butchers.

The meat benefits from the ambient dry air and this method is not only the best for flavor but also for tenderness. It’s also a great way to save money.

When should you dry-age your meat?

Dry-Aging is done to mature the meat. It can be an ideal choice for people who have tight schedules and cannot manage a wet-aged blend.

Most home or hobby butchers can dry-age meat rather than the wet-aging procedure with great results. Hence, you can also dry-age beef at home.

How to Dry Age Beef at Home

How to Cook Dry Aged Beef

High-quality dry aged beef is a treat to eat and a courteous host should know how to cook it.

Dry Ageing Beef

There are plenty of steps to take to make sure that the meat you use is of the highest quality possible. This includes buying quality meat, having it aged to choice, and having it cut the way you want.

You don’t want to ruin the meat by searing it or grilling it too long, so I’m going to go over some tips for you.

The older the beef the risk of it becoming bitter and dry.

Older cows are hard to raise so they tend to have a slightly higher chance of having healthier fat and meat. The fat, however, is the same amount chunkier in older cows than the younger ones.

The meat is also likely to be somewhat stronger more fat and more blood because these aren’t drained out with processing.

So that’s why older cow meat is the best to dry age, but you want to inspect the meat before it’s dry aged to see if it’s worth it.

Dry Aging Myths

Dry aging beef is an old-fashioned way of preserving meat. Most modern refrigerators can keep meat fresh without the special treatment of dry aging. If you have a basement with a finished room above it, you have the potential to dry age meat at home without creating a stink.

Some people have all the elements required to dry age meat at home while others don’t. Dry aging is a process that is easily tainted by non-performing elements. You must have a quality refrigerator with correct temperature and humidity controls.

You will also need to plan the space required to dry age the beef.

Lastly, you must have the will to take on a long term investment when drying ageing beef. Now I will address some of the main myths and facts about dry aging beef. You will find that after this read, most people will think of you as a beef aging expert.

Aaron Franklin Barbecue MasterClass Review

Barbecued meats are one of the most popular dishes in the world, because grilling meat brings out the best flavor in a steak.

Grilling meat doesn’t always have to take a long time, but if you are planning to put a lot of time and effort into your cooking, it can be very satisfying. To most people, slow-roasting meats for many hours leads to the best result.

As you get interested in the finer details of cooking, you’ll find that there are a lot of ways you can focus on. One interesting facet is wet and dry-aging beef.

In the video below, Brady tries to offer a primer on the technique, and it’s an interesting start for the technique, but it’s hard to follow what he is saying.

To make it easy, here is a step-by-step approach.

First, you’ll need to pick out the best cut.

Second, you’ll need to decide what temperature range you want.

Third, cut it yourself.

Fourth, let it hang out.