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Old 12-23-2008, 05:16 AM   #11
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The people who say you can't do it are *dead wrong*. I'm sorry, but it's true. I'm presently aging my Christmas roast right now. Same process I've used for the last 8 years or so.

How I do it is simple. I went out and bought a tupperware cake container. I don't know what to call it specifically. But it's 2 pieces. A flat plastic bottom and then a plastic dome that can clamp onto the platter underneath.

Then, I pulled out my drill and a 3/4" drill bit and I drilled a bunch of holes in the dome (for promotion of air flow).

I used some lifters on the platter, and then put the prime rib in there so that it's not touching the bottom. Then you take a tea towel and put it under the rib roast, and place a paper towel over the top. Paper towel gets replaced daily.

Attach dome. Throw it in the fridge for at least 1 day, up to 5. I wouldn't go much more than 5, but that's just cause I hate to think of possibly ruining a hundred dollar piece of meat. After 5 days, trim off any leathery parts, and cook away.

Is it professional dry aging? Absolutely not. But it makes a ton of difference in terms of the quality of the roast and is absolutely safe and proper.

Edit: Just went to the fridge to look at the apparatus. It's made by Sterilite. Doesn't say specifically what it's called but it's meant for hauling cakes. All said and told I think I paid like 7 bucks for it, and it's served me well for almost a decade now (though obviously aging is all it's used for)

Edit Edit: Found it online: http://www.housewaresandbeyond.com/p...er--White.html . They cost 12 bucks now these days I guess :P.
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:33 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Poppinfresh View Post
The people who say you can't do it are *dead wrong*.
Let me amend what I said then. Yes it can be done at home. That does not mean it should be done or that it is a safe practice. As Jenny said, it is basically controlled rotting and if any of the variables are off then you could be dealing with very dangerous and potentially fatal results.

I will use the same analogy I always use in situations like this. You can drive without a seat belt for 40 years and never have a problem. that does not mean it is safe. that one time you get into an accident you will be sorry you were not wearing your belt. Just because you have done something for years with no apparent ill effect does not mean it is a safe practice.
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Old 12-25-2008, 09:57 AM   #13
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I agree completely with GB on this. Anyone who's seriously considering aging beef at home should first read the article I referenced in my earlier post. After reading it, I was absolutely convinced that it is an unsafe paractice in most home kitchens and, to me, it's not worth the risk. Here's a brief excerpt from the article, but please read it in its entirety.

"Aging needs to be done at precise temperatures and humidity under controlled circumstances. The average family refrigerator just doesnít have what it takes to properly age beef. It is very easy to get a good colony of bacteria going in that meat during the couple of weeks it takes to age a piece of beef.

"Worse still is this recipe for a trip to the hospital thatís been floating around the Internet. Take your prime or choice steaks, unwrap them, rinse with cold water, wrap in a clean kitchen towel and place on the coldest shelf of your refrigerator. Every day for 2 weeks take the steaks out and change the towel. At this point you are promised a fantastic steak, provided you live though the digestive process after eating it. What you need is the experience and knowledge to know when spoilage first starts. There is a definite change in smell and color of the meat so very close inspection is required during the aging process to insure that it doesn't go bad.

"The biggest risks to any piece of meat that you buy from the store and attempt to age are all the things that happened to that meat before you picked it up. Any exposure to bacteria during butchering, packing or shipping can make that meat unsafe to age."

Source: http://bbq.about.com/cs/beef/a/aa030301a.htm
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Old 12-23-2011, 06:46 PM   #14
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If you have a dedicated full size fridge it is easy.

Sterilize fridge.
Place temp(28-38f) and humidity gauges <40-50
turn to 28-30 degrees
insert beef directly on wire rack several inches above bottom.
NO TOWELS! You want air to move.
Open fridge, exchange air 2 times a day for 2-3 days.
Turn temp to 36 degrees.
Open fridge once a day for 7-10 days.
Open fridge once every other day, until ready.
You will encounter some smells not pleasant but not bad.
Color should be burgandy/red outside and normal inside.
Odd odors or coloration can be a sign of a problem, not worth the risk.
Trash it.

I have dry aged beef in this manner for 2 weeks with no problem. I do this in the winter so humidity is ez 2 control. You might need dessicant during summer.

It is easier to maintain in a full size dedicated fridge, lots of air and more stable. Using a cake container is asking for trouble, terrible idea. I guess some people really shouldn't try to dry age at home.

Try it with a cheap cut first. after 7-10 days cut it in half. Leave the other half in fridge until it goes bad, you'll know. Trim off leathery/jerky part. Mushy grey sections will be visable, toss it.

IMO, if your not going to dry age don't buy prime rib.
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Old 12-23-2011, 07:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BUMPY
NO TOWELS! You want air to move.
You don't want the air to move atop the fat cap, which is why you put the towel on top of it. You want the air to flow freely along the actual meat.

Quote:
Using a cake container is asking for trouble, terrible idea. I guess some people really shouldn't try to dry age at home.
- (Fast forward to the 5 minute mark)
Someone forwarded that to me after this topic ran its course. Not sure when the video is from.
But you're right, I"m sure the Food Network lawyers didn't properly vet this at all, and exposed themselves to liability by recommending people do this. Mmhmm.

Or I'm sure the guy I originally got the idea from a decade ago now - who, incidentally, has a James Beard award and more than one Michelin star under his belt - was wrong too.

Or another James Beard award winning chef I know that I gave the idea to, and who now does this in HIS home.

Or the instructors I had when I went to culinary academy on a lark a few years back and had this very topic come up.

Noooooone of these people have a clue what they're talking about. Mmhmm.


BTW, aging it below freezing is a fantastic way to cause damage to the actual meat.
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:51 PM   #16
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Your post is suggests exactly why most people, including me, do not dry age at home.

Too much equipment, too much trouble.

You can achieve close to the same results by wet aging, which is very doable at home.

Purchase a whole strip or ribeye in Cryovac. Be sure it is sealed and not leaking. Place in referigerator for several weeks.

I will agree that the results are not quite as good, but they are very close.
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:19 AM   #17
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For the last 13 years, I've made standing rib roast every Christmas. And I make it the way my dad, who was a butcher by trade, always made it. That is, he aged it for several days in the fridge. There was no special equipment involved.

This is all I do:
  • Buy the best piece of meat you can afford. I buy mine from a butcher that I trust, not the supermarket. Generally you want something that is well marbled and where the fat is distributed evenly. Also look for meat that is bright red in color. Darker meat usually comes from older cattle.
  • When you get it home, unwrap it right away and pat the surface completely dry. Wet meat promotes mold.
  • Put the roast on a rack and set it in a pan to catch any drips. My dad would always put a clean towel over the roast and change it every day. For the last several years, I've used paper towels. It seems to work just as well and, in my mind at least, it seems more sanitary.
  • Change the towels (cloth or paper) daily. You also want to inspect the meat when you do this. It should start to change color and begin looking drier on the surface. Smell it. It may have a slight air of "funkiness" but shouldn't smell rotten. Check for anything that looks like mold. If you see anything questionable, take a knife and cut it off. Rub the area down with a brine solution and pat it dry. Put a clean towel over it, and pop it back in the fridge.
  • You can safely do this for up to a week, though I wouldn't recommend any more than 4-5 days in a home fridge, which doesn't have ideal conditions for longer aging.
At the end of the aging period your roast will look visibly smaller in size. Take a sharp knife and cut away any leathery bits.

That's really all there is to it. I've done it this way for a number of years now, and have never had a single bout of food poisoning. Just remember that back in the days before refrigeration, people almost always ate meat that would undoubtedly seem a little dodgy by today's standards.
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:54 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Steve Kroll View Post
Just remember that back in the days before refrigeration, people almost always ate meat that would undoubtedly seem a little dodgy by today's standards.
Just remember, back in the days before refrigeration, life expectancy was half what it is today
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Old 12-24-2011, 01:22 AM   #19
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Just remember, back in the days before refrigeration, life expectancy was half what it is today
Well, I'm still here. So are the dinner guests I've served over the years - or at least those who didn't die from other causes. My dad, who was a trained butcher and also aged meat the way I described, lived well into his 80s. I guess I'll take my chances. The rest of you aseptically sterile types can eat the way you like.
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Old 12-24-2011, 01:25 AM   #20
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I don't want this thread to take a turn for the worse , I can see that my comment was abrasive and I apologize.

Btw, meat freezes below 28 degrees.

Do not touch your roast with a paper towel! {insert Charlie Brown scream }

I think we are operating on different time scales, I am thinking weeks not days.

Ok, I conceede, people should not age meat at home.
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