Dreaming of Dry Age
You bring home a steak, cook it perfectly, enjoy every bite, and go to bed hours later, only to wake up not thinking of anything but the day ahead of you. That is fine for a day-to-day lifestyle, but occasionally, you need to escape. You need to wake up in the morning after dreaming about the meal from the night before. One way to ensure that happens…. Dry. Aged. Beef.
If I could legally wed a food, it would be a proper grilled cheese (Which I will be covering in a subsequent article), wild boar loin or bacon, or a true dry aged steak. Sadly, it is forbidden, which is, I’m sure, a relief to my girlfriend.
Oddly enough all three could be described as having the characteristic of just melting in your mouth.
Where to get Dry Age
In all seriousness, dry aged steaks are a delicacy that should be experienced at some point in one’s lifetime. It comes with a price, but this is one of the rare things that follow the “You get what you pay for” colloquialism. The flavor, the texture, the presentation; It is truly perfection on a plate.
If you have read my previous writings, I touch on the process of dry aging beef in my introductory article “Raise the Steaks: Major in Meat, Part 1”. The process can take some time, but isn’t necessarily difficult. That being said, there are countless articles that talk about the option or ability to dry age at home, in your refrigerator. I do not recommend this.
There are certain safety procedures and protocols that need to be followed, as you are essentially letting a piece of meat sit there, in an environment that needs to be perfect to allow for aging, while not letting it spoil. It is a balancing act that if not followed correctly, can lead to a subpar steak, wasted food or worse, a dangerous finished product.
It is my suggestion that you don’t take the easy or cheap way out. Shortcuts only work in traffic and keyboards. Go to a butcher, ask to see their selection of dry-aged beef, ask about the length of aging, (to be considered a true dry age, it must go through the process for no less than 21 days, with the standard being 28).
Almost any cut/loin can be aged in this way, but typically, you will find Export/Ribeye, Strip, and Shortloin (T-bones & Porterhouses). A dry aged filet is hard to come by since it is a small loin to begin with, and the amount of lost weight makes the price borderline not even worth the butcher carrying.
If you go to a butcher like The Meat House in Chadds Ford, you will find those three common cuts. The Shortloin and Strip cut to your desired thickness, are very accessible as a foray into the dry age market; however, the export (bone-in ribeye) is for thrill seekers. Cut between the bones, frenched slightly, and marbled with that inter-muscular fat; it is a monster cut, able to feed up to 4 people, (or one 5-foot female manager at The Meat House).
First Step in Preparing Your Steak
*Repeated Advice* Let it stand. As with almost all steaks, take it out of the fridge and allow it to reach room temperature before cooking. This allows the center to get to the same temperature as the outside, making for an even consistent cook throughout the entire cut.
Seasoning Your Steak
Just don’t! Dry aged steaks have one of the most robust incredible flavors of any meat available. If you insist on adding a little something, salt, black pepper, and garlic, (aka Papa Joe’s Salt blend), is the only thing that should ever touch the meat.
Cooking Your Steak
This is where you need to pay attention. Dry aged beef takes some TLC. It’s easy to cook, yet easy to overcook. Because of the aging process, and the fact that it loses up to 30 percent of its moisture content, it cooks that much quicker. A strong sear can be all that an individual steak requires. If you normally cook a steak 6-8 minutes a side over medium high heat, you’ll only need 4-6 minutes for this style of beef, which gives you a doneness of medium rare.
Let it rest. Take it off the grill or out of the pan, and let it rest on the plate for about 5-8 minutes. This helps lock in the juices and cook just a little bit longer.
All that is left is enjoying this incredible cut and style of steak. Tonight, after you finish dinner, and lay your head down to sleep the night away, prepare yourself for the most pleasant of dreams. Not of sugar plums, but of Dry Aged Steak.
Eating is a necessary part of life, we might as well enjoy every bite. Sweet dreams.
*If you have any questions about the process, purchasing, preparation, or enjoyment of dry aging; feel free to call me at The Meat House Chadds Ford at 610-910-4030, Fill out the contact us / inquiry form on our website at www.themeathousechaddsford.com, or email me at Chaddsford.firstname.lastname@example.org*