dry aging meat

I am now investigating a process for dry aging beef, using a Food Saver and Umai Dry Bags.
The process involves these space age bags that allow moisture to escape, while protecting the meat from invading bacteria that rots the beef.
Simply put, you seal the meat inside the bag, and age it in a refrigerator at 34-38 degrees F for 40-60 days. Once cured, you trim off the dark, hard flesh, and cook the rest. Adds much flavor through water loss, and tenderizes the beef in the process.
I have made fresh rib roasts in the past, and they were absolutely delicious. I can buy a whole 7 rib roast for 140-150 bucks. A dry aged 14 lb 7 rib prime rib sells for between 379-450 bucks. Tripling the value, and from what I have been told, increasing your dining pleasure 5 fold.
Has anyone ever dry aged beef before?

If you’re going to do it at home I definitely recommend the dry bags. Personally, I think dry-aging is a little overrated, but definitely something everyone should try at least once. If you haven’t personally cooked dry aged at home I would recommend investing in 1-2 thick dry-aged ribeyes from whichever grocery store sells them locally(probably Whole Foods is your best bet unless you are surrounded by premium choices) just so you can get a feel for how the rhythm of cooking dry aged goes. They cook pretty differently and your temp is going to move differently compared to standard or wet-aged beef. It’s worth the investment to practice to make sure you don’t accidentally overcook on game day.

I have never aged beef myself, but I do cook aged meat, and the difference is amazing. Beef flavors way more concentrated, and the meat is way more tender.
I realize you haven’t been around me very much, but if it can be eaten, I can cook it, and quite nicely, I might add.
But, I have never cooked a dry aged Prime Rib. I plan on aging the first one around 28 days, and increasing each subsequent roast, until I find where I like it best.
I’ll be smoking the rib roasts, and grilling the steaks. I’ll use pecan wood, on about 205 F until internal temp is about 125 F, then reverse searing it at 450 degrees until it is Med Rare. Puts a nice crust on the roast.
And I’ll grill the steaks over medium coals, until the internal is 138 F, once rested, they should be a perfect Medium rare.

Yeah, reverse sear is definitely the way to go. I did mine pretty much the same way, but after smoking brought them inside and seared on the cast iron. Go a little more rare then you do, but it’s pretty close.

When I did the dry aged bags I used the bottom of my beverage fridge and moved the temp probe into the drawer with it and set it at 38. Kept the humidity controlled as best as I could. 5 weeks later and it turned out pretty good. If I was going to do it again I would half my roast ahead of time and take the half I want to make individual steaks out of and age it for maybe 20 days and then hit the one I want to be a traditional prime rib roast for maybe 35-40 days.

Sounds like you got a good handle on this.
I have a dedicated fridge I’ll use and it maintains temp very well. I am a bit concerned about the humidity. Did you use any sort of desiccant?
The way I understand it, minimum time for aging beef should be 21-28 days. I am reluctant to cut my rib roast prior to aging, because of the possibility of bacteria. I plan to remove it from the original vacuum bag and place it straight into the dry bag, using surgical gloves. I want to keep the surface proteins in tact, for a better seal.
I would cook mine a bit more rare, but Mrs. Tiny won’t eat it if I do. This first one I may actually cut it all in steaks. We’ll see. I like Cowboy Steaks, and would also like some boneless, about 1 inch thick, because I can grill one in just a few minutes, if needs be. I’ll be doing it twice more in the not so distant future.
I really appreciate your input.

My problem with humidity was more from me just not knowing what % was good for aging. I’ve read anywhere between 60% and 85% with ~80% probably being the most standard number given for best aging. This Report Has Some Interesting Information regarding humidity.

As for my experience with it, I had the humidity too low at first and actually put a bowl of water mixed with humidifying solution(like you would use in a cigar humidor) and it kept things at around 70%. A couple weeks in, the % was creeping up enough that I pulled the solution out, probably because the meat was letting off enough moisture by itself at that time. So I dunno. Airflow is thankfully less important for us using the bags than it is for commercial meat locker operations, but that’s also something to consider.

That’s probably the smartest thing to do to be safe.

Anyway, make sure you update in here so I know how it goes, I may have to give it another try in the future if yours turns out really nice. Now I’m getting hungry :confused:


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Well, there it is. I’ll butcher it up on 7/3/15 and cook it for the Fourth.
I can’t wait.

I find the dry age a bit too much flavor for my cooking style. Dry age really concentrates the flavor and is fine for those who like their beef cooked more than I. The reason why its become popular over the years is the beef has so little flavor anymore. Like chicken. Want to wake up those taste buds. Raise a few chickens (from eggs), free range (we feed once a day in the eve to bring them back to the coop for the night. Now go out tot he chicken yard and wring a neck and cook that up, chicken like most have never tasted…tastes a lot like Bullfrog wild caught.

My steak pref is what is sometimes called Pittsburg style. Sear the outside at very high temp, leaving the inside warm. I do a Texas style Steak Tartare like that. Coarse ground beef, egg, onions, salt to tase, coarse ground pepper, mix well, pack tight and sear on each side at high temp (less than a min) eat like a king.

We have an account at the big restaurant supply in San Antonio and they stock Elk, Bison, Venison, Feral Hog, most is under $5.50 per lb, its ALL hormone free, from free range animals. This is our daily eat. If you are not eating free range, hormone free meat then you are wasting your time and money and if you have access to it you don’t need to concentrate it as the flavor is there.

To each his own, I suppose.
Sometimes, people “over age” their meat. At 28 days, the flavor is a bit concentrated, but it is not yet undergone the “earthy” transformation. Yet, the enzyme activity softens the muscle fibres, and the water loss concentrates the flavor. I have a thing about eating tasteless, or nearly so, water.
I try to buy my meat from local farms. This piece, however, came from a Big Box Store. Wasn’t my call, as my Boss has half interest in this first venture.
Have you ever eaten a sous vide steak? This is accomplished by vacuum sealing a steak, and immersing it in 130 degree water for about an hour, then searing at 700+ on the grill. Awesome buttery and tender.
I like aged beef. Always have. Oh, I don’t mind fresh, or what they call “wet aged” beef, but I prefer it to be dry aged, though not overly so.
28-35 days. Whole Foods sells 28 day steaks for about 22-25 bucks a pound, whereas I can buy the whole rib, age it 28 days, for about 9 bucks. On a 17 lbs rib, that is a savings of about 255 dollars.

I have eaten plenty of the dry aged, mostly at Capitol Grill and a few other high end joints when I was in corp America. Best steak house has got to be 'Del Frisco’s Double Eagle, especially the first one over on Lemon Ave in Dallas. Who sez you can’t money in the small restaurant biz, when he sold the place and the rights he walked with $43M in his pocket. Been to most of them NYC, Miami, Chicago, San Fran etc as my travels took me to all the key cities in the US. They are all good, today there are a plethora of them, most I don’t even recognize the name. I am old school, want my beef with some chew to it. Fork tender steak, just does not have the mouth feel for me…not tough, but give me something I can chew. Aging, in the old days an aged steak was less than 7 days, just did not need it, it was so flavorful.

While we are on taste: Best piece of meat on that steer is the “skirt” steak. Sits just below Flank steak. Long the domain of the poor and where I am from the Mexicans. Butchers threw it away, you won’t find more flavor. Not much of it on a cow, but ask your butcher if he has or can get you some. Make SURE they don’t try to pawn off Flank steak for skirt steak…skirt is the lowest part and almost always cut off the flank steak. Head over to a Mex food store or meat shop to find it, I grew up eating it and would take it over any other cut. 2nd best is Rib Eye!!!

I have always hated it since they started adding water to ham. One Christmas, we had one of those “water-added” hams. I cooked it too long - and it was the best ham I had had in years, because I had cooked out all that excess water.


Well. 6 days in and it appears to be aging properly.

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Well, here is the result of my patience. I’ll be “hot tubbing” a couple of these darlings on the Fourth. We’ll see how good it is then.

Wonder how that would work for venison? Not that I expect to have any any time soon, just curious. Venison is never marbled, and the fat is very waxy, so you don’t even want any of it.

Not too well, from what I am led to believe. Not enough fat content. Beef tenderloin doesn’t age well, over five days. Five days will make it more flavorful, through loss of tasteless water, but it is already tender.

I always cooked my venison steaks on a grill after slathering them generously with BUTTER. It’s true that venison fat is “waxy” and has to be trimmed completely off. BTW, the wife just bought one of those new, Char-Broil grill/smoker/roasters advertised on HSN.

[quote=“Pappadave, post:17, topic:46765”]
I always cooked my venison steaks on a grill after slathering them generously with BUTTER. It’s true that venison fat is “waxy” and has to be trimmed completely off. BTW, the wife just bought one of those new, Char-Broil grill/smoker/roasters advertised on HSN.
[/quote]If I may be bold, what did it cost on HSN. I was contemplating buying one at Lowes.

She paid $149 plus shipping and got a cover and a recipe book with it.

[quote=“Pappadave, post:19, topic:46765”]
She paid $149 plus shipping and got a cover and a recipe book with it.
[/quote]WOW! Just Wow!
249.00 at Lowes.
I have the Big Easy Infrared Turkey Fryer, and it works Marvelously. Enough peanut oil to coat the bird, up to 16 pounds, and it is crispy skinned, just like a deep fried bird.
No danger of fire.
No 35.00 bottle of peanut oil
No real chance for failure, unless you don’t know how to operate an instant read thermometer.
Guess I need to get the Missus to start looking on HSN
Thanx Dave.