Aging meat

Discussion in 'Beef' started by dougbennett, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. dougbennett

    dougbennett Smoke Blower

    This is a little off topic, but there's no better place to gfine meat experts.

    I've got the itch to dry-age a big 'ol New York Strip (the wholke thing because you can't age individual steaks.

    Has anyone ever tried this? It seems simple enough -- a cold refrigerator and the daily chore of changing the white-cloth wrappings.

    I'd be interested to get your input. Thanks.
  2. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    If you can cotroll the humidity and the temprature then you have a half arsed chance at aging a primal cut. if you can't controll both these things you are wasting your time and a good piece of beef.
  3. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You will just dry out the meat.  Very few people have the facility and temp and humidity control, lt alone the correct microbial systems to really dry age beef.

    Many dry it out and think they aged beef, but they just dried it out.  (Alton Brown has a excellent method he calls dry aging that is really just dehydrating the meat)
  4. meat magician

    meat magician Smoke Blower

    Have not had time to really dive into the topic too deep but what about wet aging, packing the meat in a cryovac bag and allowing it to age in the fridge just above freezing? The meat does not dry out because the blood/juice/moisture can not escape the air tight sealed bag right. Will the lack of air in the bag stem or inhibit the growth of bacteria? Now mind you I am only bringing it up to see if there is more to it, and how safe it is. Basically when you buy a whole ribeye 7 or 8 lbs or another large cut of meat such as a whole brisket, full beef tenderloin and such it's the same thing right.
  5. bigal

    bigal Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Dry'n the meat out is loose'n some moisture/water so that the beef flavor is more intense.  If no microb activity then it won't be as tender as this scientific dry age'n.  If it only provides a better flavor, then what is wrong with that?  Most arent' that scientific and this is a general name for what people are do'n, dry age'n.  I don't know what it's supposed to be called, but I've heard it called really good alot of times.[​IMG]        I'm do'n an 11# strip and we'll see what the wife and kids say.  When I do a test I don't BS, doesn't do anyone any good.  If it tastes the same or like cat ____ or if it's good, they'll tell me.[​IMG]     Good info on the dry age topic, bally, thanks.[​IMG]

  6. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I don't think you are simply "dehydrating" the meat. If that were the case you would end up with jerky. It would take a very long time to make jerky using a large cut of meat kept in the fridge. Chances are it would rot before it became jerky. There is a science behind dry-aging, mainly being that you have to control the moisture and temperature, creating the right amount of microbial growth, but it can be done at home. "Aging" occurs naturally, that's just common sense, but to age the meat without it spoiling, which is more likely to happen than dehyrating, is the biggest hurdle to jump. Most of the newer home refrigerators do a much better job at controlling moisture than they used to making it easier to dry-age at home. I have done alot of research on this and even talked to several butchers who have shown me their setups. They told me it can absolutely be done at home. If you have an older fridge you may have to buy a small dehumidifier and a small battery operated fan comes in handy. If you weigh the meat every day you can easily tell if it's losing too much moisture. If the meat is consistently wet then you have too much moisture and it will begin to smell. I highly recommend you get a complete understanding of "spoiled" meat, causes and effects, before trying anything with food.

    Do some research, and if you are comfortable with trying it then go for it. I do experiments all the time, some work, some don't, but the key is to do your homework and understand the risks involved before trying anything. Never completely rely on what a handful of people on a forum tells you.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
    bigal likes this.
  7. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Your welcome.  I don't care if people do it... I just don't want it to be called Dry Aging.  Dry aging  is a complex Microbial induced change of starches, proteins and fats.

    Cannot call it dehydrating everyone thinks jerky.    But the real deal is the meat is drying so it changes the water activity of the cut.  That is the main reason for the perceived flavor change.

    Dehydrating does intensify the flavor.  Beef Jerky proves that daily.  But the real interesting change is the water activity in the cut while it is cooking.

    So they can call it anything but dry aging cause it ain't.
  8. bigal

    bigal Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I'm gonna call it dry age'n just to make ya mad.LOL[​IMG]   Just joke'n w/ya.....but you know I will do it.[​IMG]

    I hope I'm not ask'n que's that you've already answered, but I'll ask anyway.  What about the restaurants w/fridges just for dry age'n, like the five stars in NY?  Do they have the bacT to do the right job?  Where you butcher your meat, what do they add to make it dry age?  Did you say you only hang yours for 21 or 25 days?  Why not 28-35?  I hear of many people in this area that go near 35 days.  Just curious. After hang'n do you wet age?  For how long?   Do I sound like a 3 yr old ask'n every dang question about everything?[​IMG]


  9. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The butcher doesn't add anything. Aging is a NATURAL process. The process occurs whether we do anything or not. You can throw around a bunch of technical terms as well as the science behind the process, but the process will happen in my fridge as easily as some large setup in NY. For that matter it begins happening after the animal is slaughtered. The meat begins to decompose. The bottom line is that the piece of meat will age all by itself. By controlling the temperature and moisture we are doing nothing more than extending the length of time that process takes.

    Maintaing a humidity level is used to control the microbial growth. What does that mean? It means if the humidity is too high then you get excessive microbial growth, or speeding up the process of decay. Too low means the meat will dry out faster resulting in excessive weight loss.

    It is not an exact science. If you read alot about it you will see where some studies have shown an "optimal" temperature that ranges anywhere from 32F-40F with a relative humidity anywhere from 79-86 percent.

    Do you think they only started dry aging meat when refrigeration was invented? Hardly. While the percentage of spoilage has decreased with technology, it has been done well before then.
  10. bob1961

    bob1961 Smoking Fanatic

    not sure if this is on the line of what this threads is bout....when i get a deer in bone it

    out as soon as i get it home then all the meat goes into plastic shopping bags and

    into the fridge loosely closed for bout 4/5 days before i start cutting/wrapping/freezing....

    who has a walk in cooler the hang there deer in the needed temp of 40 degrees....

    the outside temps are just not that reliaible to even try it outside for the days one needs

    to hang/age deer....that's why i gave my fridge a try with the 38/40 degree temp's i can

    maintain for the time i need....been doing this with venison for years now without any meat

    loss to spoilage....the taste and texture is way better then just cutting/freezing venison.......bob

  11. diesel

    diesel Smoking Fanatic

    I use the Alton Brown method all the time.  It works great. 

    just saying.
  12. bigal

    bigal Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    How long have you aged some meat?  I'm do'n this bag deal and I've read where people will go 35-42(iirc).    Just curious. 

    I've watched that episode too many times, but I'm a big AB fan.  

    Any pix? 
  13. bob1961

    bob1961 Smoking Fanatic

    i have 8+ lbs of venison sliced up and ready for my marinade tue when i get supplies i need to get going, filters and some spices....i will have a full Q-view of whole process from start to finish [​IMG]  .........bob

  14. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Ok you can call it what you want... but it is not dry aging.

    There are a few restaurants that have USDA inspected coolers that allow them to get out to 21 to 28 days dry aging.  They do have the correct bugs.  In is not just bacteria, it is a combination of bacteria, molds, along with humidity and temperature control for slow decomposition of the meat.

    There is no addition to the meat to create dry aging.  What they have is a controlled environment, an understanding of the cover (fat cap) required insure the meats safety age, and the ability to keep a dedicated cooler just for aging.  To go longer then 21 to 25 days requires a lot more cover on the carcass.  For the frame of the animal we raise here (angus beafmaster cross and angus limosine cross)  I don't go much above 1250 pounds.  To get more days I would need to get to 1450 pounds.  That takes a lot of corn and we really start to lose money on the amount of feed to add that additional fat cap.

    The main reason we control is to prevent spoilage. (rancid)  We are controlling degradation of the carcass in a process that allows for different flavor profiles to develop.  Just like cheese making  certain "bugs" are good and certain are bad.  In the days of yore, certain ice houses had specific types of "bugs" that created a better aged beef then other ice houses, which created certain butcher shop flavor profiles depending on the ice house they purchased from for the cooling needs.  You can go on and on into the handling of beef and how to best alter and age its flavor.   

    I have heard of longer aging, but never tasted anything past 30 days.

    Wet aging is another TV induced myth.    Almost all cyrovac packaging is also gas packed.  So nothing grows for a long long time. Wet aging is not a follow on to dry aging, it refers to the process commercial packing houses use to prepare the meat available to the consumer.  Most commonly observed in the meat counter as vacuum packed cyro packaging.  They also pack primals and sub-primals like this so butcher shops can "custom cut" beef.  Which custom cut means, finish making the retail cuts out of primals or sub-primals.

    No you don't sound like a three year old, you sound like someone trying to get information to make a decision.

    This is a set of carcasses from our place.

    Last edited: Oct 30, 2010
  15. inowis

    inowis Newbie

    Age drying whole NY/Rib eye.... I use the meat draw, put a 1/2" of sea salt on bottom the place Microwave rack in. I have wrapped in cheese cloth and not. (change it after first few days). Wait two weeks to 8 weeks...... I don't buy meat for a party.... when the meat is ready I have a party.  Have fun, u b lookin for that mahogany color. Local store here gets 25 a pound.

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