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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dry-aging steaks at home - sort of...

What I did is not as long as a traditional 'dry age' process (which can be up to 3 weeks), but it is similar, shorter, and makes a big difference when using a good cut of steak. First, the steaks are dried with some paper towels, but don't rinse them. The idea is to remove moisture, not add it. Then I heavily salted both side of the steaks with kosher salt to pull the from the meat.

Then I put the salted steaks on a rack to allow air to circulate around the steaks, and but the rack in a pan to catch liquid. Put the pan in the back of the bottom shelf, where it will be the coolest in your fridge. Next is the hard part - waiting 6 to 24 hours. Six is a minimum, but 24 hours works the best, especially with thicker steaks. You will notice that the steaks have shrunk a little bit, appear a bit darker in color, and there is liquid in the pan under the rack that has been removed from the steaks. Remove all the salt from the steak before cooking to a nice rare/medium rare.

Removing a lot of the steak's water helps to concentrate the flavor, making it taste richer. According to one source, "It is excess water that can cause a steak to be tough and bland. When that steak is cooked over a 400f fire the water boils within the steak. This causes the meat to be tough and cooks away much of the precious fat. By removing the water, the steak will cook by the heat of the fire not the boiling water, and the only moisture in the steak will be the rendered fat that greatly adds to the flavor." I am not a meat scientist, but I so know a good steak when I taste it, and this can really help.

9 comments:

Carrie said...

Phew, for a moment, I thought you were going to take the plunge with a 5 week experiment! Have seen someone do this and live to tell the tale but it's not something I'd try to do. Your salting method sounds similar to the one Jaden Hair wrote about a while back on SteamyKitchen. She and I tried it once with steaks from the exact same subprimal, it can make a difference in flavor, indeed.

Mark said...

Carrie, thanks for your comments! I have done this for a while now and never been disappointed. I am learning that others on some forums I visit are doing it too. Maybe it's catching on!

Anonymous said...

I recently found this method of dry aging at home in my fridge that is clean, odor free.
You actually put the meat into a bag and vacuum seal it. The bag allows moisture to permeate and lets the steak dryt age. I recently dry aged a boneless ribeye and it came out perfect.
It seems impossible, but it works.
For this bag you do need a vacuum sealer. I used my Sinbo sealer. Here is the site I went to:
www.drybagsteak.com
They have pretty good instructions for sealing the bag and aging the meat.

Chuck said...

I just tried the method of dry aging a complete Ribeye loin. About 12 lbs. Rinsed off the loin and dried with paper towels to remove any moisture on the outside. Wrap the entire loin in White cloth towels (wash towels only in oxyclean) (this is not a commercial). Change towels each day. Placed my loin on a rack in the back of the fridge 38 Deg F, with a pan underneath to catch any drippings. Checked each day at towel changing for any smell (there was none). Cut the loin after 12 days and it was a beautiful burgundy color. Wrapped each steak individually and froze. I had the first steak 4 days after freezing by cooking in a cast Iron skillet at 500 deg, searing the first side by 3 min and the 2nd side by 2 min. I should have went 2 and 2 as it was a little more done than I like. The steaks are about 3/4 ". Peppered it before cooking and added some granular Sea salt after cooking and let it rest for 5 min. You could cut it with a fork and it melts in your mouth (little chewing required!) Received this recipe from some good friends. Love them!!!

Robert said...

After having left the T-bones in the fridge for five or six days, I tried "heavily" salting with coarse kosher salt about 6 hours before grilling to draw out moisture. My wife and I found this to make the beef far too salty for our tastes, but it was extremely tender. Won't be trying this method again.

mike said...

Damn Ribeye was soo salty my hound would'nt eat it.. maybe thats how you make a Texas Beef taste good but not Missouri beef. Ruined a good steak

I'm with Robert

Mark said...

Mike (and Robert),
I'm sorry you had a bad experience with this technique. In the meats I have used, I never noticed them being salty when finished. Is it possible that you just didn't remove all the salt? Just like when brining chicken or pork, I take care to rinse the meat well under running water, rubbing the surface to remove all traces of salt. Even when curing raw bacon for my smoker I have found that this strenuous rinsing removed nearly all the saltiness.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest leaving the salt for the final hour before you cook. Remove the meat from the fridge an hour prior to cooking. Add salt generously to both sides and allow to sit. The salt will pull water to the surface with some great flavor. Do not dab off the liquid that forms over the course of the hour (it is protein rich and will make a great seared crust).

Ian Henderson said...

I'm an Aussie. We love our steak down under, but when I came to the US last year, I had the best steak of my life. It was actually down in Mexico, Los Carbos at the Hilton Hotel. Since then I ran into a manager of our local Hilton and mentioned the steak. He told me the kitchen at his hotel, as well as throughout the world of Hilton, used a rock salt moisture extraction method, not far different from your process. Cheesecloth around the steak, a salt bed for the 'parcel' of steak in the cloth to rest on, moisture to be extracted to the salt. It works a treat and does not add saltiness to the meat. Needless to say, I find myself here on your blog checking out how to get the best out of the meat I buy. Thanks for the suggestions, great work. Keep cooking.