Complete guide to dry aging beef at home

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If you’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting a ribeye steak that has been dry aged for 4 6 weeks, you’ve been very close to meat paradise.

There’s something about the way the flesh tastes stronger and is more soft than a standard steak.

So, in this post, we’re going to go over everything you need to know about dry aging beef at home.

Overview of Aging Meat

Complete guide to dry aging beef at home

By the time you purchase meat, it has usually been matured in some way. This is understandable given that the calf had to be killed, processed, packed, and lastly brought to the grocery store for you to purchase it.

Aging meat is precisely what it sounds like: fresh meat is held in a temperature-controlled chamber (i.e., a refrigerator) for weeks at a time. The flesh undergoes amazing transformations as it ages. It starts to become delicate and delicious.

Meat may be aged in two ways. You may dry age it by allowing air to circulate around it, resulting in a crusty surface that will need to be cut before cooking.

We’ll go through the process step by step later in this tutorial, but this video does a terrific job of illustrating how to dry age beef.

How-To Dry Age Beef at Home – 42 Day Aged Ribeye

Watch this video on YouTube

You may also wet age beef by leaving it covered in its packaging. Don’t worry, we’ll go through the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy in depth later.

How Does Dry-Aging Work?

Complete guide to dry aging beef at home

When beef is aged, enzymes contained in the flesh begin to break down the tough muscle fibers present in the steak over time.

Furthermore, dry aging your steak will enhance the taste over time due to enzymatic and bacterial activity, as well as oxidization of the fat on the steak. Your steak will acquire a richer, beefier flavor over time. The steak will eventually get a strong, cheese-like fragrance as well.

How Long Should Beef Be Aged?

There is no set age at which you should aspire. When it comes to maturing beef, you have complete control. However, the longer you age your beef, the more softness and flavor changes you will notice in your final cooked steak.

  • You must age your beef for at least 14 days before you see any significant changes. Anything less than 14 days just isn’t long enough to break down the rough tissues or enhance the taste.
  • The texture will noticeably improve between 14 and 28 days, while the taste will begin to improve after 28 days. As you approach the 45-day mark, you will detect deep, rich flavors developing inside the meat.

Some people have strong preferences and this becomes a personal preference for them. Similar to how some individuals like smelly cheese. Remember that it’s OK if you don’t like it.Once you’ve gone over 45 days, your steak will start to smell funny.

What Cuts of Beef Work Best?

As previously said, aging is better with beef since other types of meat, such as pig, lamb, and chicken, do not benefit from aging because they are already rather tender raw.

  • In terms of beef, you’ll want to use a big subprimal cut, such as a full strip loin or prime rib.
  • You’ll need a big cut of beef since you’ll need to cut away the hard outer crust once the meat has matured.

In principle, you could dry age a single steak, but by the time you’ve cut it after it’s aged, you’ll have an exceedingly thin steak that will be difficult to cook to medium rare.

If you’re going to put in the work, you may as well make it worthwhile! So save money before going to your neighborhood butcher.

Wet Aging vs. Dry Aging

There are two methods for aging beef: wet aging and dry aging. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but they yield two distinct sorts of steak.

Dry Aged Ribeye vs Wet Aged Ribeye Steak

Watch this video on YouTube

Wet Aging

As previously stated, moist aging occurs when a big cut of beef is left in its vacuum sealed box inside the refrigerator. This is something that will happen to all cuts of beef you buy at the store for a while, but you may speed up the process at home if you like.

By maturing the beef within the cryovac packaging, you may get the advantages of enzymes that quickly break down the muscle tissue and make it soft. However, since the meat and fat cannot oxidize outside the container, this method will not enhance the overall flavor.

On the bright side, you won’t need any additional equipment to age beef in this manner. Simply store the cryovac packaging in your refrigerator and you’re done. You also won’t have to remove any tough exterior before cooking.

Dry Aging

We briefly mentioned it previously, but dry aging is the process of exposing a huge cut of beef to open air inside a refrigerator for an extended length of time. Enzymes will break down the strong muscle fibers within the flesh, making it soft.

At the same time, bacteria and oxidation will begin to change the taste of the beef, giving it a richer, deeper, beefier flavor. To put it another way, dry aging is a highly controlled decay.

When your beef has matured, it will resemble a raisin and have an extremely hard shell. Unfortunately, that portion will be inedible and will need to be removed non order to access the delicious flesh underneath.

Dry aging is more difficult than wet aging since you will need a specific room in the refrigerator (or, better yet, a separate bar fridge) as well as some other basic equipment.

How to Dry Age Beef at Home

Dry aging beef is more than just putting a steak on a platter and putting it in the fridge for a few weeks. To accomplish it effectively, you’ll need to invest on a few tools.

Perfect Home Setup

  • The first thing you’ll need is a specialized refrigerator that can hold 36 degrees Fahrenheit. Sure, you can use the refrigerator in your kitchen, but as Steven Raichlen points out, it’s not ideal since meat absorbs aromas from other meals and vice versa. A small bar refrigerator would be the finest and cheapest choice for this.
  • You’ll also need a tiny wire rack and a baking sheet. The meat would be put on a wire rack to allow for air circulation, with a backing sheet beneath to collect any drippings. You can get away with simply a baking sheet if your refrigerator has wire shelves.
  • Finally, you will want a small electric fan to be placed underneath your meat to guarantee sufficient air circulation. If you have a dedicated refrigerator, you might build a tiny slot in the refrigerator seal to accommodate the electrical connection.

Step by Step Guide

  1. Purchase a big bone-in rib roast or other subprimal piece of meat. Look for one that still has the fat cap. That way, when you trim your finished product, you’ll just be taking the fat off the top.
  2. Place the meat on the aforementioned wire rack on top of the baking sheet inside the refrigerator, or if you have wire shelves inside the refrigerator, place it directly on them with the baking sheet beneath.
  3. Turn on your little fan beneath the meat on the wire rack. This allows air to flow around the meat.
  4. You must now wait at least two to four weeks for the enzymes to penetrate the cut of beef and make it more soft. If you wait 4 to 6 weeks, you will notice changes in taste and the beef will take on a deeper, beefier flavor. Anything more than 6 weeks may cause your meat to acquire strange smells and odors.
  5. dark rind and probably a little mold. Trim the fat cap and any hard exterior with a sharp knife before carving the roast into thick steaks. This steak would benefit from being at least 1.5 2 thick.Finally, after the beef has matured for the required period of time, take it from the refrigerator. The façade will be painted a rich crimson.

Special dry-aging bags may also be used. Check out our step-by-step approach on dry-aging beef in a bag.

How to Cook Dry Aged Beef

This is where all of your hard work will be rewarded! There are various methods for cooking a beautiful thick steak, but the steak that has been dry aged to perfection deserves the finest method: the reverse sear.

Traditional steakhouses would sear steaks over screaming hot broilers that reached temperatures of up to 700°F to give the meat an incomparable outside crust. They would then finish them in a slightly colder oven. The final product was a streak with a wonderful crust on the outside and a nice medium rare interior.The reverse sear turns it on its head and entails cooking on a low temperature first before concluding with a high sear.

Reverse Searing, Steven Raichlen: Godsend or gimmick?

Nobody had heard of reverse searing when I first began smoking meat 25 years ago.

Nowadays, you can’t go on a barbeque website without being persuaded to try it.The approach reverses the typical way of cooking a steak or roast (hot sear followed by slow roast).

Start by smoking the meat low and slow until it reaches an internal temperature of around 100 degrees, then char it over a hot fire to elevate it to the appropriate temperature, finishing with a crisp smoky crust.

There are many benefits to grilling a steak in this manner. You may gradually raise the internal temperature of the meat to just below your target doneness before hastily sear it at the end.

You may prevent overcooking the inside of your steak or the dreaded bullseye finish by using the reverse sear.

Step by Step:

  1. heat.Set your grill to 275°F and set the steak on the indirect side, away from any direct flames.
  2. You may check the inside temperature of your meat with a leave in a digital thermometer until it is roughly 15 20F below your target finishing temperature. So, if you want to cook your steak rare, take it out when the internal temperature hits about 105F.
  3. Tent the steak and set it aside while you get your grill as hot as it can physically bear, preferably over 500F.
  4. Place your steak back on the grill and flip often for 1 2 minutes, monitoring your interior temperature every 30 seconds or so. Remove the steak from the grill 5 degrees below your chosen finishing temperature (that’s 135 degrees for medium rare), rest for a second, and serve.

Dry Aging Myths

Dry aging, like grilling, is riddled with myths and fallacies. Here are some common misconceptions to avoid.Like almost everything else, BBQ

1) You may age an individual steak in your refrigerator for 7-14 days.

This is a regular occurrence. The idea of it is that you can accomplish the same outcomes as conventional dry aging by purchasing a great, large, thick steak from your butcher, placing it on a plate, and leaving it in your refrigerator for a week or two.

As previously stated, it takes more than 14 days for any significant improvements in flesh softness to occur, and it would take much longer to enhance flavor. Sorry, but it’s as easy as putting a steak in the fridge for a week.

2) Wet Aging = Dry Aging

Some people believe that wet aging beef is the same as dry aging, however this is simply not true. Sure, there will be some gains in softness, but the meat and fat need to oxidize in order to increase flavor, which can only be accomplished by allowing air to flow around the meat.

3) You Can Dry Age in your Home Refrigerator

Technically, you may age beef in the same fridge as yesterday’s tuna casserole, but you shouldn’t. Dry-aged beef may quickly catch up on the scents and tastes of the other meals it is stored alongside. That is why we (and many others) advocate aging your beef in a separate refrigerator.

Finishing upWe hope you found this post interesting. Have you ever dry aged beef yourself? What did you like and dislike? Do you believe we got it right in this article, or did we leave anything out? Please share your ideas in the comments section below!

Now, go to your local butcher and get a great cut of top grade rib eye and start experimenting with various cooking times to see how aged and weird your ideal steak is!


Can you dry age beef in your own refrigerator?

The goal of dry-aging in a home refrigerator is to optimize the drying benefits while avoiding the introduction of microorganisms that might ruin the meat. While beef held in a dry-aging refrigerator may safely sit for a month or longer, Adams advocates additional care in a home refrigerator.

What is the best amount of time to dry age beef?

The minimal dry-aging period for the enzymes to begin breaking down the aged meat is 14 days. However, it takes around 21 days for the meat to acquire the nuanced tastes you need. Most specialists think that the ideal duration for dry-aging is between 28 and 30 days.

What temperature do you dry age beef at home?

The aging environment should be kept at a temperature of 34 to 36 degrees Fahrenheit, with a relative humidity of 85 to 90 percent and an air flow of 15 to 20 linear feet per minute at the product’s surface. At all times, the aging chamber should be clean and devoid of any smells.

Should you salt beef before dry-aging?

Increase the dry-aging effect by adding salt.

Salt is the only salt that permeates food consistently and efficiently, providing flavor, tenderizing, and taking away excess moisture. Before maturing meat, I always liberally sprinkle it with sea salt.

How can you tell if dry aged beef has gone bad?

A sticky surface coating that you may see or feel on a piece of steak is a tell-tale indicator of rotten meat or spoilage. It will be clear or yellowish in color, but it will give the steak a shinier appearance than normal. When you run your fingers over it, it will feel slick or sticky.

How long is too long to dry age beef?

If you like the flavor of dry aged beef but don’t want it to be too strong, we suggest dry aging your beef for no more than 45 days.

How long can you age beef in the refrigerator?

We advise resting the cut for at least 28 days and up to 75 days. This is because the longer the beef matures, the more complex and powerful the flavors get, and hence the tastier it becomes. At 28-35 days, delicate mushroom and umami tastes emerge, and at 45-75 days, powerful blue cheese overtones emerge.

Can I use frozen beef to dry age?

Is it possible to dry age previously frozen beef? Dry-aging previously frozen meat is not recommended. According to a 2019 research, the freezing technique generated too much moisture loss for the beef to be a desirable candidate for dry-aging.

Why doesn’t beef go bad when dry-aging?

Because of the level of environmental control applied to dry-aged beef, it does not spoil. Moisture levels and bacteria are closely monitored to ensure that only “good” germs thrive and aid in the drying of the beef.

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