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Aging and Curing Fridge?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

After all the discussion about aging beef I had a thought.  I have a large (small) fridge that gets little use.  I saw a food channel story about Lugers Steak House I believe in NY>  They had a cold room lined with Salt blocks for dry aging their own beef in.  I thought about using some small salt blocks on the back wall of this fridge and dedicating it to aging and curing.  Any thoughts?  What is the proper aging temps.  I know curing is between 33-40 F.  Would that also be true for aging beef?

post #2 of 13

From Wikipedia:

 

 

Dry-aged beef

Dry aging beef at Gallagher's Steakhouse in Las Vegas

Dry-aged beef is beef that has been hung to dry for several weeks. After the animal is slaughtered and cleaned, either an entire half will be hung, or prime cuts (large distinct sections) will be placed in a cooler, also known as a "hot box". This process involves considerable expense, as the beef must be stored near freezing temperatures. Also, only the higher grades of meat can be dry aged, as the process requires meat with a large, evenly distributed fat content. For these reasons one seldom sees dry-aged beef outside of steak restaurants and upscale butcher shops. The key effect of dry aging is the concentration and saturation of the natural flavor.

The process changes beef by two means. First, moisture is evaporated from the muscle. This creates a greater concentration of beef flavor and taste. Second, the beef’s natural enzymes break down the connective tissue in the muscle, which leads to more tender beef.

Dry aging of beef is rare in super-markets in the United States today, due to the significant loss of weight in the aging process. It is found in steakhouses and certain restaurants.

The process of dry-aging usually also promotes growth of certain fungal (mold) species on the external surface of the meat. This doesn't cause spoilage, but actually forms an external "crust" on the meat's surface, which is trimmed off when the meat is prepared for cooking. These fungal species complement the natural enzymes in the beef by helping to tenderize and increase the flavor of the meat. The genus Thamnidia, in particular, is known to produce collagenolytic enzymes which greatly contribute to the tenderness and flavor of dry-aged meat.

[edit]Wet-aged beef

Wet-aged beef is beef that has typically been aged in a vacuum-sealed bag to retain its moisture. This is the dominant mode of aging beef in the United States today. Wet-aging is popular because it takes less time (typically only a few days) and none of the weight is lost in the process. In contrast, dry-aging can take 15–28 days, and will see up to a third or more of the weight lost as moisture.

[edit]

This is not saying it can't be done but you need to probably have more room than a small fridge to be able to remove moisture and grow the right molds on it.
post #3 of 13

Dry Curing is done at around 55*F way too warm to Dry age Beef... Here is a link on Dry Curing that is really good and the guys equipment design is straight forward and can be done easily.

http://mattikaarts.com/blog/charcuterie/meat-curing-at-home-the-setup/

 

I can't find build instructions for a Dry Aging Refrigerator...JJ

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

Ok I understand the info.  What about just using it to age my beef and hold my bacon cures.  Simple enoeph if careful.  I currently do this in the house fridge but just not enoeph room.  I think I could hold 4 slabs of bacon dry rub  curing in it at 33-38 F without a prob.  When not curing I can buy say whole rib eye logs and age them.  If I remember correctly there is someone out there selling anti microbial bags designed to age meat in.   A dry aging chamber will have to wait till I get the storage building done down the road. 

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Proposed experiment:  Fridge set to 35 F.  Pan of water on bottom.  Beef to age middle rack, top rack silica dioxide,  .  Placing a humidity reader with a memory on second shelf with a cheap roast. 

Record humidity readings over 3 days.  Question:  Can a product similar to dry aged beef be produced in a abreviated time frame and a consistant humidity level of 70-80% be maintained during the process? 

post #6 of 13

I have my fridge, Crane humidifier, Dayton Humi control,Didital humidity, Johnson A419, 4 cfm fan. Just my fridge is being used for a garage fridge. Hopefully soon i can get it all back up and running.

post #7 of 13

Here is some helpful info on temp and humidity, including results for a varying number of days...I don't think there is any way to Speed the process and still be 100% safe...You proposed setup should work just let it go 14 or more days, a small Fan would help as well...sounds interesting!...JJ

http://www.beefresearch.org/CMDocs/BeefResearch/Dry%20Aging%20of%20Beef.pdf

 

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef JimmyJ View Post

Here is some helpful info on temp and humidity, including results for a varying number of days...I don't think there is any way to Speed the process and still be 100% safe...You proposed setup should work just let it go 14 or more days, a small Fan would help as well...sounds interesting!...JJ

http://www.beefresearch.org/CMDocs/BeefResearch/Dry%20Aging%20of%20Beef.pdf

 

Well a small fan not a problem.  This is a experiment for sure and I would be very careful about t his.  The idea was to come up with a low cost low tech method.  I got the idea of using a desicant after t he comment about lack of space and airflow to control moisture levels.   
 

 

 

post #9 of 13

Shooter, evening... Guy Fietti has "dry aged" large cuts of beef on one of his shows... He wraps it in 2-3 layers of cheese cloth.. changes after a couple of days... re wraps... don't know his temps.. 

I have used his method for no longer than 5 days, wrapped and on a wire rack... at normal fridge temps (34 deg around here).. I think it does some good... then I oil the "bark" that forms and cook... Dave

post #10 of 13

I gotta check out that link from JJ...

but I've dry aged in my fridge just as you proposed keeping temp between 33-38 for 7-21 days (about 10 days seemed to be the 'sweet spot')--though, your garage WILL smell, lol!

Alton Brown did a show where he did a make shift dry age in about three days...I'm looking for a good time to try it...

...I've also heard good things about the dry age bags...

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the info guys.  I am on hold with this till after the holidays but will try it for sure.  I am thinking once I get a good method down I will use a whole choice ribeye and slice after into steaks.  From there who knows.

post #12 of 13

My equipment....Now i gotta get my wife to get her shestuff outta my fridge.

 

Controls

 

 

Humi/Temp thermo.

DSC00400.JPG

 

 

Humidifier, plugs into the dayton.

DSC00401.JPG

 

post #13 of 13

looks good nepas!

 

 

Quote:
I will use a whole choice ribeye and slice after into steaks

 

 

 

...that's what I do!

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