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Unread 04-17-2009, 11:23 AM   #1
OliverRanch
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Default The Merits of Dry-Aged Beef

First new thread *gnawing on fingernails*

I'm wondering whether anyone uses dry-aged beef in competitions (e.g. brisket, steaks or other for "open" categories). How about at home? Would love to know why or why not.

Now, I've learned that the world isn't so black & white - dry-aged vs. wet-aged is a huge oversimplification - but it costs a lot of extra $ to dry-age a whole carcass vs. just some primal cuts (e.g. rib or NY/KC).

Also, I have definitely noticed that some rubs or sauces pair well with steaks or burgers from one farm better than they do from another. So as I start to learn BBQ vs. Grilling, I'd love to know if dry-aged beef, in general, is a plus or minus in BBQ.
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Unread 04-17-2009, 12:09 PM   #2
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I would love to use dry aged beef in comps, but the availablity and price keeps us back. I know some teams spend big bucks on the meats, ie Wagyu.

Now for home use, I'd love to get ahold of some dry aged ribeyes to cook up on my Egg. You need a person to give a review on some beef? ;)

edit: BTW, welcome to our forum. Head over to the cattle call if you haven't yet!
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Unread 04-17-2009, 12:35 PM   #3
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I agree with Jason.
Cost and availability are problems.
1. Brisket is not exactly a premium cut of beef. Dry aging brisket is, in the normal world, a monumental waste of time. Then it is slow cooked to "death". That's not to say that it wouldn't taste wonderful.

2. Steaks (all varieties), on the other hand, truly benefit from dry aging. We used to dry age prime rib and other cuts in the restaurant. This was mainly for the managers.

3. We have wet-aged brisket with some success and have been pleased with the results. We usually timed out the aging for 40-50 days.
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Unread 04-17-2009, 12:41 PM   #4
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Great thread, of which I know nothing. I am all eyes.
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Unread 04-17-2009, 12:53 PM   #5
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Wouldn't you have to cut most if not all of the fat off of the brisket after dry aging it?
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Unread 04-17-2009, 02:47 PM   #6
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What is the difference between the taste of dry-aged and wet-aged beef? I have never even seen any aged beef, much less tasted it, to my knowledge.
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Unread 04-17-2009, 03:06 PM   #7
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I googled it and found a somewhat informative article.

http://www.goodcooking.com/steak/dry_aging.htm

Can't vouch for the accuracy since I don't know much about the subject, but it sounds reasonable.
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Unread 04-17-2009, 03:23 PM   #8
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I think think wet aging is better and less waste!
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Unread 04-17-2009, 03:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bentley View Post
I think think wet aging is better and less waste!
You think it tastes better or that it is better because of some other reason?
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Unread 04-17-2009, 03:46 PM   #10
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I think dry aging beef for a contest would be a very bad idea. Not everyone likes the flavor of dry aged beef. It is concentrated and distinct. Out of 6 judges, I'd bet money that at least 2 of them don't care for the flavor of dry aged beef at all.

Wet aging brisket on the other hand is important because it takes time for the rigormortis to break down. I've not noticed a change in taste from wet aging, just a change in tenderness.
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Unread 04-17-2009, 03:48 PM   #11
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Carrie,

I have never personally dry aged beef. To me, that process is obviously for the real pros.
I have eaten dry aged Prime steaks and they are "To Die For".

I / We wet age all of our briskets using the guidance by the legendary DRBBQ found here:

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...hlight=brisket

The smell and flavor when removed from the Cryo are just as he described---full beef flavor.

Hope this helps.

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Unread 04-17-2009, 06:28 PM   #12
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Wow, this is great information and feedback, thanks!

Livins - I think you would have to trim a lot off of a brisket if you aged it as an individual piece. If it's aged as a whole or half carcass, I'd expect the amount wasted to be lower, but I'll ask a really talented butcher what he thinks. I had some Charolais beef Dry-Aged by the half and then made burgers out of the front of the cattle, including the brisket. Looking back, it's a shame I didn't have the brisket reserved for a little taste test.

Chad, 40-50 days, that beef must smell something awful when you take it out of the cryovak! But I bet it's really tender.

HeSmellsLikeSmoke that's a great question, what's the difference. The Pickled Pig is right that the key benefit of aging (dry or wet) is to offset rigormortis and to frankly make the meat more tender, period. He's also right that flavors can get concentrated with dry-aging - the meat is literally shrinking, I think of it as similar to reducing sauces.

I have learned in a few years of being a nerd and tasting different beefs side by side that in general, Dry-Aged beef tends to be more adventurous in flavor overall. You know how some wines or beers have more going on in them, you can taste layers of flavors and sometimes some really interesting "notes"?

All that said, I've had some Wet-Aged beef that is to die for bursting with different flavors, so it's not so simple.

That's what makes me curious about using Dry-Aged beef in slow cooking including BBQ. I'd expect it could go both ways, depending on how well the particular sauce or rub or woods used matched the flavors in the beef itself.

I'll stop here, love to learn more.
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Unread 04-17-2009, 06:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Kapn View Post
Carrie,

I have never personally dry aged beef. To me, that process is obviously for the real pros.
I have eaten dry aged Prime steaks and they are "To Die For".

I / We wet age all of our briskets using the guidance by the legendary DRBBQ found here:

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...hlight=brisket

The smell and flavor when removed from the Cryo are just as he described---full beef flavor.

Hope this helps.

TIM
I agree that in general, Wet-Aged beef has a very "beefy" flavor (when cooked, at least ) I also wouldn't dare Dry-Age beef on my own. I bought a steak at a farmers' market in Seattle a few weeks back that had clearly been aged by someone who was NOT a pro. If I hadn't know what to do with all the black mold and funk (trim it off and sear the heck out of it), I would have either tossed the steak into the trash or come down with a rich case of food poisoning - it was gross!
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Unread 04-17-2009, 07:13 PM   #14
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if i plan ahead, i will buy my steaks and put them in the spare fridge un-covered for a couple of days prior to cooking. placed on a round rack over a plate. this extra aging is spectacular and simple to help with taste and texture.

in my opinion it never hurts to amend the aging that is done prior to purchase of a steak. i have not however aged any larger piece such as a brisket.

cheers,

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Unread 04-18-2009, 12:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeSmellsLikeSmoke View Post
You think it tastes better or that it is better because of some other reason?

I think it takes the moisture out of the meat more evenly producing a better tasting and better textured meat. By allowing wet aged meat to essentially sits in its own juices, the steak composition breaks down, the toughness goes away and the flavor seeps in.
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