Aging beef helps to bring out its flavor, and there are two different ways you could do that. Wet aging is a relatively new process, but dry aging is the tried and true classic method.
What Is Dry Age Steak?
Before piece of beef is cut and trimmed down to make a steak, it may be dry aged.
This can occur over a period of several weeks or even months and helps the meat to develop its flavor, bringing out the umami accents that create a rich and complex flavor.
This also makes the steak very tender, so it doesn’t need to be cooked as long to make it palatable.
The question that comes up about how to dry age steak is whether it can be done at home or not.
For many people, it’s impractical to dry age large cuts of beef in their own home, simply because of the time involved and the space it requires. Most people don’t have a large area they can set aside for big beef cuts.
That said, I am going to show you how to dry age steak at home, but you’ll have to figure out where to make space for it.
How to Dry Age Steak
Choose the fridge you want to use to dry age your steak in and set up an electric fan inside that can help keep the airflow stable. From there, prepare a wire rack on a tray. That ray will help catch any drippings from the steak.
Ensure that the rack is elevated on the bottom so that air can flow all around the beef.
Once all that is set up, you can put your beef cut on the wire rack. Put the tray with the rack and beef into the fridge and wait for several weeks.
If you let it age for two to four weeks, you’re making the beef more tender. If you give it four to six weeks, you’ll be properly dry aging the beef and helping to bring out all the complex flavors.
If you let it rest there for six to eight weeks or longer than that, you’re going to get some incredible flavor.
One thing to know about how to dry age steak in fridge is that you don’t want to keep opening and closing the refrigerator door, if you can help it. It’s best to choose a fridge that isn’t in use much, perhaps one solely dedicated to dry aging beef.
That’s because every time you open the door of the fridge, you’re messing up the temperature and humidity stability. You’re throwing off the level of moisture, and you’re also allowing in odors you don’t want.
You’ll get a better flavor and purer dry aging if you leave the fridge closed as much as possible.
When your cut of beef has aged for enough time, you can take it out of the fridge. The outside of the steak should be a purplish, brown color or it may be deep red. It should have some mold on it and should have a dry appearance.
You want to get rid of this exterior color as well as any fat on the outside. These are parts of the beef that will detract from the flavor and texture of the steak. Then, you can cut the beef into steak pieces, however you like.
Keep in mind that thinner steaks are easier to cut through and to cook. They won’t take as long to cook because of their size, so consider cutting your steaks small for your convenience.
How Long to Dry Age Steak?
It’s up to you how long you want to age the stake for. The longer you let it age for, the more the flavor will develop. 16 weeks is as long as it needs to age, but you can get some really good flavor before that, with anywhere from four to six weeks of aging.
If you don’t let the steak age for at least four weeks, it probably won’t be very flavorful, or at least not as flavorful as it would be if it dry aged properly.
However, dry aging the steak for just a few weeks can be enough to make it really tender and easier to eat.
How to Dry Age Steak with Vacuum Sealer
You could use a vacuum sealer to age the steak, but this isn’t actually called dry aging. Because the steak will be aging or marinating in its own juices, this is known as wet aging.
It’s a great way to bring out some of the flavors of the steak and make it taste better, but it’s not technically dry aging.
You won’t need to prepare a pan under the steak if you’re wet aging it with a vacuum sealer. Just seal it using the airtight plastic bag and a vacuum sealer tool and set the steak to the side.
Remember to set up your fan for airflow and keep the fridge closed as much as possible during the aging process.
You can treat the steak the same way you would if you were dry aging it, giving it about the same amount of time to bring out the proper flavors.
Why Dry Age a Steak?
If you want your steak to ask plenty of flavor and to be tender and juicy, there’s no better way to do that than to dry aging. This doesn’t take a lot of work, but it does take a lot of time.
It really brings out the best in the steak and gives you that high-end steakhouse experience that most people don’t get at home when they make steak themselves.
If you’re willing to go through the lengthy process, you can get incredible tasting steaks that are as good as you would get at steakhouse simply by dry aging it at home.
The dry aging process is not something quick in simple, and most people won’t be able to do it simply because of the resources required, but if you can pull it off, you’re in for a great experience.