Dry aging is the process of hanging cuts of meat in a temperature and humidity controlled environment that helps to develop tenderness and intensify flavor. A dry aged steak typically costs more due to the time the process takes, loss of yield and the risk of spoilage involved. To make your dry aging experience even better, we have put together some of the top tips for dry aging beef recommended by the leading dry age refrigerator brand and dry aging experts- Steak Locker.
How to dry age steak at home
Dry aging originated centuries ago as a method of meat preservation. Back then, caves and cellars were used because generally they had a suitable temperature and humidity level for dry aging. When refrigeration was invented, dry aging was no longer an essential method of meat preservation. However, dry aging is completely unique in its natural ability to amplify flavors in meat whilst enhancing tenderness and improving overall texture. This meant that dry aging switched from a conventional practice to a delicacy that is often only found in high end restaurants at a high price.
Steak Locker, founded in 2013 was developed to make dry aging more affordable, accessible and reliable. It applied handy integrated smart technology allowing you to monitor the progress of your meat whilst managing temperature and humidity levels.
It is recommended that when dry aging at home, even if you don’t have a dry age fridge such as the Steak Locker, that you still use an entirely separate fridge. The key reasons for using a separate fridge is that if you were to dry aging in the fridge where you store day to day produce, you are likely to regularly open this fridge and every time the fridge door opens, the internal environment changes. This can increase the risk of spoilage because effective dry aging should keep the meat at a consistent temperature and humidity level in order to achieve the best results. What’s more, dry aging in a fridge with other products can lead to cross contamination of flavors. This could lead to your meat tasting like gone off milk, or your milk tasting meaty, both are which do not sound particularly appealing.
The best cuts for dry aging
Typically, the most popular cuts of meat used for dry aging are sub-primals for the best effect. The most common cuts include NY strip, ribeye and sirloin. Please note that it is not advisable to try dry-aging single steaks because you will lose so much volume when cutting off the outer, dried layer that you won’t be left with much. Especially as the moisture loss caused by the dry aging process also makes the steak shrink.
The recommended time scale for dry aging
Many dry aging experts agree that the sweet spot for dry aging is between 28 and 30 days, before that, it is unlikely the meat will have developed a flavor profile typical of dry aged meat. Steak Locker are more hardcore so reccommend 30-45 days because at this point the moisture will have concentrated and the flavor will have significantly intensified.
It is possible to dry age beef longer than 45 days, some people have even gone beyond 90 days. Although it is definitely worth trying, be prepared for a truly funky flavor that you may not enjoy quite as much.
The right way to cook dry aged steak
When it comes to cooking dry aged steak, there are some key tips to remember.
- Dry aged steak cooks quicker than normal steaks
- Using a thermometer is an excellent way to ensure you do not overcook the steaks
- Remember you can always add cooking time to a steak but cannot uncook it
- Bring to room temperature before cooking
- Smoking dry aged steaks can overpower the dry aging flavours therefore it is best to sticking to grilling and searing
- Leave to rest
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