One of the questions we get asked a lot when it comes to dry aging is ,”How do you know when it’s ready?”. This is a great question as dry aging beef in your refrigerator is very different than dry aging beef in a designated chamber with controlled humidity and temperature.
The product that I use and have really fallen in love with is the dry aging steak wraps by the sausage maker. This “membrane” keeps the meat from drying out too fast but it also allows the enzymes and bacteria to do their thing. After all Dry aging beef is nothing more than controlled spoilage.
The most interesting thing happens once you begin the process of dry aging. At different stages you will notice that the beef will become more tender, the flavors start to intensify, the aromas become strong and funky (in a good way). So how do you know when it’s ready?
In this food experiment I’ll be taking a Strip loin and dry aging it for 150 days. At days 30, 45, 60, 100, 125, and finally 150 i’ll cut off a steak. Using these wraps allows me the possibility to cut a small piece of wrap off to act as a band aid as I continue to dry age this strip loin. So I have to take a second to mention that the reason I use these wraps is because of their versatility and their ease of use. I know that there are several options to choose from when it comes to dry aging at home in your refrigerator but for me not having to worry about vacuum sealers, dunking in water, or all sorts of shenanigans carries a lot of weight. I want things to be simple with little to no fuss. I’ve dry aged everything from 16 pound roasts to cow tongue (very interesting) and even a few ingredients that are too controversial to mention in 2020. The world isn’t ready yet!! In addition to dry aging beef I can also make things like pancetta, coppa, lonzino, duck proscuitto, and all sorts of Italian charcuterie with these wraps. So it’s a no brainer for me.
Since dry aging meat at different stages has it’s own subjective flavors, what i’ll be able to offer you is a general guideline that’s just about fool proof. The first thing you want to do is dry age a roast that has some bulk to it. The bigger the better. Also if you can get bone in with a fat cap that’s even better. All of these factors help regulate how the moisture is released during the dry aging process. With that out of the way here’s my suggestions.
If you are looking for tender, juicy, beefy, and a curiously enhanced steak i recommend dry aging between 21-30 days. Preferably 30 days. If you are looking for a steak that’s tender, juicy, even more beefy, slightly cheesy, a little funky, and very interesting I would suggest dry aging 45-50 days. At this mark your steak will start to take on very unique flavor characteristics caused by the mold, bacteria, and enzymatic processes. It’s not overwhelming but at the same time you’re not having to look for it. It’s complex umami flavors are memorable and quite enjoyable.
Here’s where it gets interesting though. Dry aging at home in your fridge starts to have adverse effects on the texture of your meat at around 65-70 days. The low humidity in the fridge continues to draws moisture out the longer the steak stays in. So what does this mean? It means that the flavor of your steak will continue to develop but the texture will slowly start to degrade. You beautiful steak will start to shrink and turn into what will look like prosciutto (at 150+ days). The reason this does not happen in a special dry aging room is because the humidity is so high and the drying is considerably slower.
So if you go down the road of dry aging at home (and I highly suggest that you do) try to keep your projects under 50-55 days. You’ll be glad you did.
Enjoy the video as i take you through this process. If you have any questions let me know
If you want to see all the items we use in our projects like humidifiers, temp controllers, and all that stuff be sure to check out my amazon storefront. I have everything listed under it’s very own category. If you buy something from my storefront I get a very tiny %. This helps me make more posts and share more information. I greatly appreciate it.
12 thoughts on “How Long Should You Dry Age Your Beef?”
I just got some 100% grass fed beef from a local AZ ranch The did actually dry age the primals for 2 weeks I suppose that is better than nothing.. as far as I know they are the only local to do that.. not tried a steak or roast yet..but the GB is not dry aged and it is the tasty bight red I will try a steak and see how it tastes and let you know..
I’ve been making Copas with the sausage maker collagen sheets and netting. Outstanding results. Is that what is in the “kit” for the dry aging ?
No. These are a different material. They don’t have micro-perforations like the collagen sheets do so they dry the meat a little slower. Better for the refrigerator. The collagen sheets work great for a dry curing chamber.
What can you do with the Pellicle? Hate to throw it away. I’ve read you can grind it into fresh beef for an interesting take on burgers, but I’ve also read that it has a high bacterial load and that may not be a safe option.
Thoughts? Experience? Experiments?
I’ve used it in burgers and it was pretty tasty. I’ve also used it to make salami and the bacterial load actually helps ferment the salami. Never had a bad experience yet..
Thanks. I’ll have to try it in some burgers.
I would love to see some videos where you use the DrySteak wraps to do the final drying/cure of solid meat charcuterie for those of us who do not (yet) have a drying chamber. As a beginner it will be a while before I get all of the equipment I will ultimately, need so being able to defer making a curing chamber by using the DrySteak wraps and refrigerator drying will allow me to get a grinder and stuffer sooner.
Check out my Coppa post, Spanish Lomo post, and Calabrian Tenderloin post…
Thanks, Eric I found them. I’m a newby, and I’m doing everything in a beer cooler to avoid refrigerator smells. It has a temperature control. So far my first project is dry-aging a NY strip loin roast using the dry-age wraps. I have the temp set at 36F. And I have a pork tenderloin that I will be starting on as soon as I have gathered a few things I don’t have. The beer cooler is pretty small (3.2 cu. ft.) and I was wondering if there is any value in putting a pan of water into the cooler to raise the humidity and slow the drying?
I’m completely hooked on your videos. Every time you make something and taste it my reaction is, “I need to make that!”. So, thanks for opening this world to me in such an entertaining and understandable way.
LOL. Thanks!! Putting a water pan in the cooler will help slow down the drying. Might be worth a shot
I have a tomahawk ribeye that I want to try Dry-aging. I’m in Denver where it’s usually dry and I plan to dry-age in my basement fridge. I also have a keg-erator down in my basement that I could use. Any thoughts on the two and the temp? Also what about dry-aging some filets? I know you suggest bigger cuts of meat…would filets be too small?
for dry aging it should be below 40f with high humidity, so I suppose either would work as long as those conditions can be met. As far as small cuts like the fillet or single steaks, it can be done but the trim is going to be excessive. It might leave you with a smaller steak than you hoped for. Either way though it’ll be tasty!!