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Dry Aging Steaks at Home

February 17th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments
cooked steak

The Final Product

I’m a big fan of dry-aged beef. At least compared to wet-aged beef. But I was always under the impression that individual cuts couldn’t be aged by themselves — whole primal cuts were the smallest that could be safely aged at home.

But in the March 2010 issue of Cook’s Illustrated magazine, they talked about a method of aging individual steaks at home (membership required)  by wrapping them in cheese cloth. From their article:

To try replicating these results at home on a smaller scale, we bought rib-eye and strip steaks (each $10.99 per pound) and stored them in the back of the refrigerator, where the temperature is coldest. Since home refrigerators are less humid than the commercial units used for dry-aging, we wrapped the steaks in cheesecloth to allow air to pass through while also preventing excessive dehydration and checked them after four days (the longest length of time we felt comfortable storing raw beef in a home fridge).

I thought I’d give this a try, at least for a couple of days at first, rather than four.

aged steak

After 2 Days in The Fridge

And believe it or not, it worked well. I took a nice organic t-bone steak, wrapped it up in cheesecloth, and put it in the back of the bottom shelf of my refrigerator. I left it for two days and then salted it and cooked it up. And I felt that it was comparable to dry-aged steak that I buy from my local Whole Foods. It was definitely richer and more tender than a regular steak. As Cook’s said:

Sure enough, four days of dry-aging in a home fridge gave the steaks a comparably smoky flavor and dense, tender texture. As long as you remember to wrap the meat in plenty of cheesecloth, place it on a wire rack for air circulation, and store it in the coldest part of the fridge, you can skip shelling out extra money for commercially aged cow.

I will definitely do this again — in fact, I may never eat another steak without aging it for at least a little while. I suggest giving this a try if you like dry-aged beef.

Update 6/5/2010

Alton Brown recently aired an episode of Good Eats (“Porterhouse Rules”) where he described a similar method. Only he made  a home made rig to hold the steak using pie plates and wrapped it in paper towels instead of cheese cloth. But with two of my favorite sources of food information agreeing that this will work, I’m satisfied that it will work. You can find the recipe for the episode here.

Now What?

Get out there and grill some steaks! Yes, that is a picture of my own grilled porterhouse at the top of this post. Interested in grillmarks? Read about my opinion here.

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Post Revisions:

  1. February 17th, 2010 at 22:23 | #1

    Dry Aging Steaks at Home – via @twitoaster http://robsrants.havasy.net/2010/02/dry-

  2. Ron F
    July 3rd, 2010 at 20:36 | #2

    I had been thinking of this since before the Cooks article. I also saw Alton Brown. I now do a1 1/2 -2″ Rib eye (about 1.5 pounds). I buy them at the supermarket USDA choice $7.99 on sale. wrap in cheese cloth for 5 days. Let is set at room temp for at leas 1 hr. trim the edges. season with salt, pepper, Montery steak seasoning.

    Feels like it lost about 1/4 lb or more. outside like an oil tanned boat shoe. do a lite trim of the fat. the edges and sides will sear in a hot pan in seconds!. Leave it in the pan and under the broiler for 2.5 min /side for med to med rare. put on a cold platter and tent for 5 minutes with the pan juices. I have been doing this weekly since the Cooks article. 3 of the steaks would rate in my top 5 best ever! and I’ve been to Kobe, Japan.

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