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Old 08-01-2014, 06:19 PM   #1
Hammerhead
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Default Home Aged Beef

Not sure whether this belongs in this forum, or 'recipes', but thought I'd share the results of my research. By way of a little history, let me share my motivation by way of a brief backgrounder.

I love the flavor of real quality aged beef, having grown up in a family of discerning palates. At one time, my Grandfather was partner at the Press Box steakhouse which in its heyday (NY City on E 54th street of the 1950's-60's) was a place to see and be seen, enumerating among its clientele actors, authors, broadcasters and socialites such as Robert Young (Father Knows Best), Lowell Thomas (the man who turned TE Lawrence into 'Lawrence of Arabia') Bob Considine (noted author of '30 Seconds Over Tokyo')and Clementine Paddleford renowned food critic. My mother is a retired Home Economics teacher married three times (a German, a Greek and a Swede - if at first you don't succeed...) who experimented on me with any number of recipes. So, suffice to say, I've done my share of gastronomic globetrotting from an early age, without ever leaving home.

So, suffice to say when you've relocated to the nether regions of Northeast PA, getting to Peter Luger's is a bit of a trip.

So, I did some research prompted by this forum on if it's possible to home-age beef. After reading any number of articles, I found two - not surprisingly from the same source - that seem to make the most sense. Here's the initial 'quick take' from what I've read:
  • Aging individual steaks for flavor is possible, but does not improve tenderness, and does not improve the more esoteric 'deeper' flavors associated with deep-aged beef, but drying individual steaks helps with browning which (allegedly) seals in a bit of flavor and most definitely helps with presentation.
  • Using inexpensive cuts of meat will derive questionable results. Use cuts that are Prime or Choice. I strongly prefer beef from Costco because I've always been impressed with the quality of their produce and meats, but other reputable suppliers will likely deliver good end product. If you start with better inputs, you get better outputs.
  • Aging a larger side of beef will yield the desired results, but will require some proper observation, continuing care and monitoring, and involve some 'risk' (because we're talking about a $100+ investment) so if your refrigerator is 'dodgy', you may wish to reconsider.
  • Protection against odors emitted from, or absorbed by, the beef are a consideration.
  • Trimming will be necessary, but no surprises there. Expect a loss of yield. That's why this stuff is so expensive in the first place.
Right now, I have a 14# bone in roast ($125 give or take a few ounces) aging per the instructions located in the second post linked below. I'll report the results in future posts once the 'great experiment' is done, but here are the articles that I found most thorough, scientific, credible, and useful:

Serious Eats / The Food Lab: "Can I Dry Age Beef At Home" (individual streaks)
Serious Eats / The Food Lab: "Complete Guide to Dry-Aging Beef at Home" (large quantities)


Hang tight, y'all. I'll get back to 'ya in two or three weeks.
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