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Aging beef...

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Pros and cons?

Buy, or do it yourself?

Have friends and family that only buy Black Angus/dry aged meat. I 've had it with them many times, and "most" times the meat seems more tender and flavorful, although sometimes seems tougher than grocery store fresh beef. We all know the downside to dry aged, very expensive (at least in my budget), so are there alternatives???

Have been doing a little research, and I'll post a couple of finds for opinions. I've come to the conclusion that "dry" aging is not an option for the home frig, even if cold enough, it going to pick up odors IMO.

The other option seems to be "wet" aging, which sounds fairly safe for the do it yourselfer, but even this, is it worth the risk for the outcome???

Have noticed it the past that some vacuum packed meats bought seemed a little more tender than regular packaged meats, but figured this was more likely from additives opposed to aging
Have to admit, when shopping I always check out the "green meat section", at least that's what I call it I won't usually buy anything but beef in it, unless it really looks good, and I'm cooking it that day. But beef, I buy quite a bit of here. It's usually on the day or day before "posted" selling date, and I find it more tender than the fresh cuts. Besides the fact that it normally 1/3 to more often 1/2 price, plus they have kept it refrigerated for me that week

Here are a couple of few that I found that gave me reasons for reconsidering doing this:

Seven Steps For Aging Beef At Home

"SEVEN STEPS FOR AGING BEEF AT HOME
Master Recipe
Dry aged beef is really difficult to find in our butcher stores, and not necessarily common in steakhouses, either. Some meat producers (and well-known mail-order houses) vacuum pack meat in plastic, then refrigerate it for several days or even weeks. This Cryovac-wrapping is called “wet aging†which produces a tender, soft steak, with little shrinkage - but the flavor is mild - not to say bland. A dry aged steak is firm, yet tender, with a nutty, robust, richly beefy flavor - but is very expensive because the dry aging process causes a dramatic loss of weight (as much as 15-20%) due to shrinkage and trimming.

A nationally known butcher named Merle Ellis discovered a technique for dry aging beef at home. We discussed it on my show last week, and created so much interest that I'm printing here the complete directions he offered, some years ago, for this technique. Be sure to follow each step carefully, for safety's sake.


1. Only the top grades of beef can be dry aged successfully. Use Prime or heavy Choice (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, allow it to drain; then pat it very dry with paper towels.

3. Wrap the meat in immaculately clean, large, plain white cotton dish towel(s) and place it on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator - which is the coldest spot.

4. Change the towel(s) each day, replacing the moisture-soiled towel(s) 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, (enjoy!) 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 bloodstains. 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.]"

"Aging in vacuum packages
With the advent of "boxed beef" and more central processing of beef into primal cuts by packers, aging of beef in vacuum bags has become common. Beef can be successfully aged in a vacuum bag. However, an important precaution must be taken to ensure no loss of vacuum has occurred in the bag. If there is a loss of vacuum, air will be present in the bag surrounding the meat and aerobic microorganisms will grow and cause rapid spoilage."

"Wet Aging

The less expensive alternative to dry aging is called wet aging. Meat is shipped from packing plants to butchers in vacuum packaging. Butchers can set this packed meat aside in their refrigerators and allow them to age. Since the meat is packed in it's own juices the enzymes will breakdown the connective tissues and make it more tender. However, because there will be no fluid loss the concentration of flavor that you get from dry aging won't happen.

So why not save yourself some money, and age your own beef? Take that vacuum packed primal cut (from which market cuts are taken) from the butcher and put it in the refrigerator for 2 weeks and you'll have a really tender piece of meat, right? No. Aging needs to be done and precise temperatures under controlled circumstances. The average family refrigerator just doesn't have what it takes to properly age beef. It is very easy to get a good colony of bacteria going in that meat during the couple of weeks it takes to age a piece of beef.

Worse still is this recipe for a trip to the hospital that's been floating around the Internet. Take you prime or choice steaks, unwrap them, rinse with cold water, wrap in a clean kitchen towel and place on the coldest shelf of your refrigerator. Every day for 2 weeks take the steaks out and change the towel. At this point you are promised a fantastic steak, provided you live though the digestive process after eating it."

And this is just a paragraph from:
"Dry-Aged Beef: Try a Little Tenderness"

That sounded like a interesting way to try at home, although I think the gas grill on high would still give better results.

"In addition to using better beef than most of us can get, top steak houses have another advantage--broilers that reach blast-furnace temperatures, up to 800° F at Smith & Wollensky. To simulate steak-house cookery at home I followed a method suggested by Evan Lobel, vice president of Lobel's. First, disconnect your smoke alarm, then put a cast-iron skillet 5 to 6 inches from the flame of a preheated broiler. Heat the pan for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, season the meat with coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly cracked pepper, rubbing the seasonings gently into the meat with a little olive oil. Put the steak into the heated skillet and cook 5 minutes on each side (for medium-rare)."


Your feedback, as "always", would be most appreciated. Always looking for a better way


This one sounds a little less intimidating, and I'm guessing it would at least help the quality:

"Beef, particularly steaks, should be aged"
post #2 of 2
Can't comment on the aging questions, but

Quote:
Have to admit, when shopping I always check out the "green meat section", at least that's what I call it I won't usually buy anything but beef in it, unless it really looks good, and I'm cooking it that day. But beef, I buy quite a bit of here. It's usually on the day or day before "posted" selling date, and I find it more tender than the fresh cuts. Besides the fact that it normally 1/3 to more often 1/2 price, plus they have kept it refrigerated for me that week
For the 10 or so years I worked in the supermarket, every meat manager I worked with always wanted the "green" beef (and yes, in this case, it was almost literally green/grey).

Everyone of them said it was the best meat in the case.....
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