Grand Scale wrote:
There's been alot of talk recently about aging beef yourself. I'll admit this is something I've yet to try. There was a great post a while back about dry aging at home that went into some more details and setups but I still didn't go for it. I know/understand/and have experience the difference between aged and unaged. My question is this how long is too long. I can hear my mothers voice in my head saying that if is a week old its no good. Does the aging "process" extend the life? Or is it alright to just let those steaks in the fridge for long periods, and how long is too long.
Hopefully someone smarter than I has some good answers and experiences, and maybe even a little science to explain it.
You certainly can age beef at home with little or now problems at all. I do it all the time. Here is the short and basic list of knowledge you should know....
Some people do it in the kitchen refrigerator. I happen to have a spare fridge in the garage I use for making my own beer that I also use for dry aging beef. I have a special thermostat connected to the fridge that maintains a perfect 34-38 degrees.
You can not dry age a single steak. Don't waste your time. Also you can not dry age cheap grades of meat. You can only dry age the best grades of USDA Prime and some grade 1 or 2 of USDA Choice. You can only dry age a complete roast such as a complete rib roast or loin.
The science of it is simple. Its controlled rotting to put it bluntly. You place the meat in the fridge and wrap in clean dry cotton cloth. Naturally occurring enzymes begin to break down and tenderize the meat. It also develops a more meaty beef flavor.
Depending on the cut of meat, size and weight, you can age beef from 3 days to 6 weeks. Generally for home aging you can look at 21 days.
Dry aging is not cheap. You generally will lose up to 20% volume during the aging process as the meat begins to break down. A crust will form on the outside of the meat which you trim away and then cut the roast into steaks. You loose about another 25% here. So as you can see, what you start off with and end up with in the end is near the 50% mark. That being said, though the 50-55% you are left with are some fantastic steaks / meat which you will never be able to buy form your supermarket meat case.