My research into dry aging beef

Jeff in TXJeff in TX Senior MemberPosts: 1,565 Senior Member
I’m currently in the process of getting my fridge and all my pieces parts together to try my hand at dry aging beef. I thought I’d share my research into dry aging beef. I’ve done a lot of reading online on how to do this. In addition I’ve talked with guys who run the dry aged rooms at the Circus Circus steak house and Gallagher’s steak house in New York New York in Vegas. They gave me a wealth of information on the subject. Once everything they said don’t over complicated. It’s not hard to do, but you have to have the correct setup.

I’m planning on using a double sliding door soda fridge like you see at the checkout counters at the Wally World. I’m going to do a few modifications. First I was going to install two small fans for air circulation. Thanks to Fish Head I found that these refrigerators have air circulation built in.

Your fridge needs to hold temps between 40 and 42 degree Fahrenheit. Don’t worry about controlling the humidity as you can’t. It will vary throughout the aging process from very high to low. On the bottom of the fridge put a tray of Himalayan rock salt. In addition add a couple 8" X 8" solid salt panels half inch or so to the sides and back of the fridge. You don’t need to line the entire fridge but the salt panels collect bacteria. They never need to be replaced from what I was told. The ones in the steak houses have been there for decades, they just turn orangish over time.

Next I’m going to drill two sets of half inch holes through both sides of the fridge to put the ½” stainless steel rods through about 5” apart to put the meat on. A set towards the top and a set towards the bottom, giving me two sets of racks. I’ll also add a support brace in the middle to keep the rods from sagging.

Lastly I’m going to rewire the light to add a switch on the outside of the fridge. Using the glass front doors I'll be able to view the process. Also, you want to keep the fridge out of the house and in the garage or some place as the smell can get funky they say. I guess a lot of this depends on the fridge you use and how well it seals and how often you open the doors. One more reason I'm going with glass doors, not to mention I'll keep it in the barn.

As for the beef you’re going to age, use a bone in rib roast make sure it has a large fat cap on it. Don’t use a trimmed rib roast or meat. You need the fat cap. The fat cap helps protect the underlining meat from drying out and crusting over during the aging process. You’ll have more meat at the end of the process with a good fat cap.The fat cap and exposed meat will darken and turn into what they call the scab during the aging process. This gets trimmed off when the aging process is done. Make sure when you put the meat on the bars the meat is resting on the fat and not exposed meat. Don't put the meat on a tray as it will prevent air circulation.

It will come down to a personal preference on how long you age the meat for, usually 30 to 45 days is what folks do, though some have gone as long as 60 and 75 days. Since I’m going to have two 36” long racks (top and bottom) I plan on dry aging four rib roast. I’ll pull the first one at 30 days, then 35, 40 and 45 days to see what flavor we liked the best.

Best of luck to anyone doing this or have already done it. Post your results as well as tips and gotchas you've encountered.
Distance is not an issue, but the wind can make it interesting!

John 3: 1-21

Replies

  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,603 Senior Member
    Most all of those coolers have tracks on the interiors for shelf clips. The clips and the shelves aren't very expensive and can hold plenty of weight. Good looking adjustable shelves would be easier than drilling holes and rigging stuff. Also, I would seal or coat any metal that comes in contact with the salt. Disimilar metals and an electrolyte (the saline moisture) makes for a heck of a corrosive reaction. I always tell my customers to keep all of their acetic stuff in one cooler so they don't screw up all of them. Just the vapors from acetic foods and comdiments (lemon slices, tomatoes, ketchup,ect...) will rot out a cooler pretty quickly. Heavy salts will do the same.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,607 Senior Member
    Keep us posted - I am very interested in this subject.

    I wish you great success and I would rather learn from your mistakes than make my own. :tooth:
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,607 Senior Member
    Those sentiments don't necessarily apply to your project, since you have progressed beyond my own abilities and desires. I still want you to succeed, but I ain't settin' up no machine shop.

    Growing killer rib eyes in the garage sounds like something I might actually be able to do. :jester:
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,603 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    Ha!


    As fatty as a beef brisket is, I wonder how it would do aged? Tenderness isn't an issue unless your one of my idiot Texas(sorry Texans, every state has them...but you'd think they'd know better) in laws who cook brisket in the oven at 400 degrees for 3 hours. Yeah. That's what I said.


    Are all of their teeth worn down to nubs?
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • Jeff in TXJeff in TX Senior Member Posts: 1,565 Senior Member
    Fisheadgib wrote: »
    Most all of those coolers have tracks on the interiors for shelf clips. The clips and the shelves aren't very expensive and can hold plenty of weight. Good looking adjustable shelves would be easier than drilling holes and rigging stuff. Also, I would seal or coat any metal that comes in contact with the salt. Disimilar metals and an electrolyte (the saline moisture) makes for a heck of a corrosive reaction. I always tell my customers to keep all of their acetic stuff in one cooler so they don't screw up all of them. Just the vapors from acetic foods and comdiments (lemon slices, tomatoes, ketchup,ect...) will rot out a cooler pretty quickly. Heavy salts will do the same.

    Makes great sense, would it be better using coated grates/rods or stay with stainless steel?
    Distance is not an issue, but the wind can make it interesting!

    John 3: 1-21
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,603 Senior Member
    The OEM shelves are either coated or plated but I've only seen stainless grates or shelves in steamers and ovens. They would be pretty expensive in a cooler but they would be best if they were available and you can afford them.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • MileHighShooterMileHighShooter Senior Member Posts: 4,768 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    I'd wager most in restaraunts don't get washed often as they should.....working in kitchens makes you not want to eat out...

    .

    Ain't that the God's honest truth! Several years of commercial pest control showed me that.
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    Once again, please refrain from cutting short any baseless totally emotional arguments with facts. It leads to boring, completely objective conversations well beyond the comprehension ability of many.
  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,244 Senior Member
    I age all of my deer hams and shoulders this way. Put them in the fridge, whole, for 14 days. They will smell a bit ripe. Take out, cut the hard leathery rind off, wrap and freeze. Venison has almost no fat so ageing is essential. You can cut it with a fork.
  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,244 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    From all I've seen you start with a big hunk O meat, with a good fat cap. Since deer (ours) a lot of fat, I wonder if one could grab some beef fat from the butcher and wrap around (tie it with string) a backstrap and age it that way?
    Did you mean to say they don't have a lot of fat?

    Putting fat on the outside won't do anything I don't think. You will lose a bit of meat when cutting the crust off but it's not much.

    I wrap fatty bacon around the back strap and grill it. That does add to the flavor.
  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,244 Senior Member
    Even "fat" deer are very lean. This is one reason why people can't cook venison, they cook it to death.
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 9,684 Senior Member
    Buffco wrote: »
    Even "fat" deer are very lean. This is one reason why people can't cook venison, they cook it to death.

    Truth
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,137 Senior Member
    I've dry cured (salt cured) hams, takes maybe 12 days of salting the hell out of them until they will no longer accept salt. They were delicious.

    The best venison I've had was 40 days or so in a refrigerator at about 40 degrees. Very tender and delicious...for venison.

    Don't see any reason for salt at the bottom, but Himalayan rock salt probably would absorb moisture and help in the drying factor. But it's a long way from GA salt. I'd try pickling salt before going to a very expensive alternative. Sea salt?
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • RocketmanRocketman Banned Posts: 1,118 Senior Member
    Gene L wrote: »
    I've dry cured (salt cured) hams, takes maybe 12 days of salting the hell out of them until they will no longer accept salt. They were delicious.

    The best venison I've had was 40 days or so in a refrigerator at about 40 degrees. Very tender and delicious...for venison.

    Don't see any reason for salt at the bottom, but Himalayan rock salt probably would absorb moisture and help in the drying factor. But it's a long way from GA salt. I'd try pickling salt before going to a very expensive alternative. Sea salt?

    I was just gonna ask this. My granny from the Appalachians used to store meat this way before fancy fridges and freezers. People lost their roots or just the family teachings?
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,603 Senior Member
    When I was on a hunting lease in Alabama I harvested at least six deer a year and my hunting buddies and I experimented quite a bit with the handling of venison to see what worked the best. We determined that hanging the meat made it the most tender but packing it in ice tasted the best. We would just quarter the deer, place it in a cooler with a drain and the plug removed, and pack it in ice. We would then prop the cooler at a steep angle so that all the water would drain out quickly and we would add ice as needed to keep the meat covered. This method by far made for the best tasting venison.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
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