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Dry-aging beef at home

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I started to wonder about this today as dry-aged beef is not widely available in supermarkets. If they were, they're in the neighborhood of $25-40/lb. Frankly, I can't eat that all the time on a student's budget. So, I've looked online and found this guide:
1. Only the top grades of beef can be dry aged successfully. Use USDA Prime or USDA Choice - Yield Grade 1 or 2 (the highest quality of Choice) only. These have a thick layer of fat on the outside to protect the meat from spoiling during the aging process. 2. Buy a whole rib-eye or loin strip. [You cannot age individual steaks.] Unwrap it, rinse it well with cold water, and allow it to drain; then pat it very dry with paper towels. 3. Wrap the meat in immaculately clean, large, plain white cotton dish towels and place it on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator - which is the coldest spot. 4. Change the towels each day, replacing the moisture-soiled towels with fresh. Continue to change towels as needed for 10 days, to 2 weeks. (See Step #7 for cleaning towels.) 5. After the desired aging time, you're ready to cut off steaks from each end, trim as desired, and allow the rest to continue to age in the refrigerator. 6. If, after 21 days, you have not eaten all the meat, cut the remaining piece into steaks, wrap each steak in freezer-proof, heavy-duty plastic wrap, and freeze. The steaks will keep for several months in the freezer. 7. To clean the towels for re-use, soak the soiled towels, immediately upon removing them from the meat, in cold water overnight. Next, soak them in cold, salted water for 2-3 hours to remove any blood stains. Then launder as usual. [In olden days, butchers used to cover sides of beef with cotton "shrouds" during the aging process - this is essentially the same thing.
This site also contains pretty useful information about meats. A good article on dry-aging here. So, have you try to dry-age your own beef at home?
post #2 of 4
I've watched Alton dry-age beef on his show, but I'm far too impatient to do it myself. I can plan 3,4 hours ahead, maybe, but that does nothing as far as aging beef.
post #3 of 4
I've dry-aged standing rib roasts and other primals according to Alton's recommendations (paper towels and plastic bins), but for no more than 3-4 days; time and fridge space become issues. It seemed to work pretty well: I get around 1/2 lb to 1 lb of moisture loss from 10-13 lb cuts, and the meat is noticeably darker.
post #4 of 4
I'm currently reading The River Cottage Meat Book, which I think every cook should read, and I'm lucky enough to have several "gourmet" grocers around that have good meat. I can understand not wanting to pay for it though. Do the Alton Brown technique, check every day for spoilage, and since you have to age with a giant chunk of meat you can trim off the grody bits if it takes a nosedive. I don't see the point in aging beef unless you have the best, and you might want to shop around, because there is probably a local butcher that can do this for you. Do you live in a huge college town, or is it some small isolated area? Even if it's in the middle of nowhere, it might have a farmer's market. Keep in mind I'm a moron, and everything I say is likely to be criticized by someone whose knowledge in the field of butchery expands beyond that of someone who read one book on the subject.
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