Dry aging beef at home with DryBagSteak.
A few weeks ago, I was in contact with DryBagSteak. It’s an American company who developed a way for the civilian cook to dry age beef at home, thus saving loads of money as store bought dry aged meat is quite expensive. I asked them if I could try their technology and they kindly accepted. I received those bag some time ago now, but didn’t find the time to get to the testing, but now is the time.
Dry aging meat is the process of aging beef in a temperature controlled environment some say up to 4 months. This develop tremendously the flavour and help tenderize the meat. The best steakhouses or restaurants in the world use this technique to serve amazingly tasty beef. You can also find this kind of meat in most high end supermarket or good butchers but there is a price to this kind of quality.
One solution is to use a crude aging technique, consisting in wrapping a piece of meat in kitchen towel and leave it in the lower part of the fridge, changing the towel everyday, replacing it by a clean, dry one. It can work, but it can go very wrong also, and given the price of a good piece of meat, you don’t want that to happen.
That’s when DryBagSteak comes in. The key behind the technology is a specially designed vacuum bag. This bag is extremely fine, so fine that it allows moisture out of the bag, but prevent bacteria and other nasty thing to get in the bag, reducing greatly the chance of wasting good meat. For more information about the specific of how it works, go to their website: DryBagSteak. I wouldn’t want to say stupid things, you can also contact Thea through the website, she is the most helpful person.
Let’s get back to my testing. I bought a piece of organic sirloin approx 1.4 Kilos worth. I have to say it’s a pretty sight. The next step was to vacuum seal the meat in one of the special bag that they kindly supplied me with. Although DryBagSteak recommend the use of a snorkel vacuum sealer that they usually provide in a pack, I wasn’t ready to shell out money for yet another vacuum machine, so I decided to try and use my La.Va 300. The problem with that is that usual channel bags are designed to let the air out using their embossed texture. The dry age bag is a smooth bag and can only be used with a snorkel or chamber vacuum sealer. I scouted the Internet looking for an answer to my problem and found a guy who used a sleeve of an embossed bag inserted at the mouth of the DryBag allowing the air to be sucked out and the bag to be sealed, this was my solution.
First thing to do is to place the piece of meat in the bag, DryBagSteak recommend to snug it out in a corner for optimum contact, it’s what I did. Depending of the size of the piece of meat you’ll need to trim the bag to allow only 4 inches of space between the meat and the mouth of the bag.
Then, for the vacuum cheat. I cut a 4 inches sleeve out of one of my La.Va. embossed Bag, which by the way was a perfect fit for the DryBag, and placed it at the opening of the DryBag leaving an inch or so sticking out. I stuck the whole thing in my vacuum machine and sealed the whole thing. I have to say I had to do it three times before I got a proper vacuum and seal, so I would recommend the snorkel vacuum sealer to anyone serious about aging beef at home with this technique.
At that point it is wise to leave the bag for a couple of minute and check on the seal to make sure that no air is still present in the bag and that the steak is in snug contact with the bag. I did so and it was perfect.
Last step, place the bag in the bottom of your fridge ensuring air circulation above and bellow. I realised at that point that my fridge has glass shelves not wire. It was a bummer, but I couldn’t let that being a problem. The solution was an oven rack that luckily fit perfectly in the fridge. I placed the meat on that makeshift shelf.
Now it’s the waiting game. I’m going to leave the meat in the fridge for the next 21 days, I will take pictures every other day to show the evolution of the aging process. I will post some from time to time and I will write again at the end of the 21 days, when I’ll open the bag, cook and taste the meat. I will compare it to a non dry aged piece of sirloin and let you know my finding.