Have you wondered if you can dry age meat at home to achieve a similar depth of flavour, texture and experience, as you would in restaurants that offer dry-aged steak? If you have, the answer is a succulent, juicy, YES. You can prepare your very own dry at meat in the comforts of your own home, but it takes time and dedication to the process.
Before we break down ‘how to dry age meat at home’, let’s offer you a breakdown on what dry aging entails. When dry-aged meat occurs, 3 basic transformations happen to its structure – moisture loss, tenderisation and flavour profile. Dry Aged meat loses moisture and can drop up to 30% water loss, mostly on the out layers of meat, resulting in concentrated flavour. This is followed by ‘tenderisation’ when the enzymes present in the meat act to break down some of the tougher muscle fibers and connective tissues. Lastly, flavour change occurs from the enzymatic and bacterial action. The flavour becomes deep and nutty, with a distinct cheese-like aroma.
So what do you need to do to make it work at home? Equipment, dedication and time.
Let’s get you started….
To prepare, you will need your choice of meat, a refrigerator, a small fan that fits in your fridge, a tray, and a wire rack. It’s preferable to dry age your meat in its own fridge, independent of other foods to ensure the meat does not pick up other food flavours. For the choice of meat, it’s worthwhile to purchase high quality, a large piece of meat that’s on the bone for best dry-aging results. Once you purchase your meat, pat it dry with paper towels to remove excess liquid. Thereafter, ensure your fridge is at 1-3 temperature; grab yourself a digital thermometer to gauge an accurate temperature status. Set up a small fan in the fridge to maintain airflow and place the wire rack on your tray to catch any drips of blood from the meat. Make sure your rack is elevated, to guarantee comprehensive airflow of the entire area of your meat. Alternatively, if possible, you can hang the meat in the fridge, and ensure the meat does not touch any objects. Place your meat on the rack and in the refrigerator, then wait and enjoy the process.
You can dry age your meat anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks and even longer, depending on what you aim to achieve. If you want just tenderness, 2-4 weeks is recommended. For a profound, dry-aging flavour, 4-6weeks. For meat lovers who appreciate the funky aged flavour, 6-8weeks is suggested and if you want the aroma and taste of a blue-cheese, dry age longer than 8 weeks. Once you have reached your personal dry aging ‘sweet spot’ and are ready to eat, shave off the mahogany-colored rind, to reveal the juicy, red, dry-aged beef. Then it’s simply searing it to perfection.
If you are looking for ‘next level’ do it yourself techniques and indulgent meat-eating experience, dry-aging your own meat is a worthwhile process.