Here's the final post in the dry-aging steaks at home saga. What follows is my honest opinion on the results, as well as a fairly pointless video showing me finishing the project.
Admittedly, there isn't much to learn from the video, but since some of you seemed genuinely interested I figured you'd want to see the finale.
By the way, if you read my last post you know I'm in Vail, CO being wined and dined by RockResorts, so I did this voiceover in the hotel room with a voice you only get at 8,000 feet.
When I first considered how to test my dry-aged steaks, I was thinking of the standard "taste it with an un-aged steak and compare" method. Seemed logical, but then I thought of something even better -- why not taste it next a higher-grade, professionally dry-aged steak?
This would be the true test. Would my steaks have the same taste and texture as the real deal? As I've already stated in previous blogs, there's really no debate about whether a dry-aged steak is a superior eating experience to a conventional steak, so it seemed anticlimactic to taste them side-by-side just to say, "hmmm…the steak aged two-weeks is more tender and flavorful." What a shocker.
So, instead I bought a thick, well-aged steak from the same butcher, using the same beef as the whole loin I'd bought. Not only that, but I decided to make it even more of a challenge and bought "Prime" grade steak. The battle was on. Would my home-aged, "Choice" grade steaks match up against a "Prime" grade steak aged by an expert?
First of all, the Drybags clearly worked exactly as advertised. The surface was hard and leathery, as you can see in my short video, and the meat had definitely undergone a slow, controlled drying process.
The loin smelled exactly like the aged steak I've worked with in the past, which is to say it had a faint, meaty musk that I would describe, as strange as it may sound, as very pleasant. After trimming off the hard, dried exterior, the color of the meat was a beautiful deep, dark red. As promised the bag allowed moisture to escape, yet sealed it from the outside environment, so no spoilage occurred.
The steaks were coated with freshly ground black pepper and allowed to come to room temperature. After a generous application of kosher salt, they were cooked over charcoal to medium-rare (internal temp of 130 degrees F). After resting, I sliced up the "Prime" dry-aged steak from the butcher. We tasted, and it was predictably fabulous.
We then cut into my steaks, and I'm happy to report the results were pretty impressive. I found the meat tender and flavorful, and comparable to the professionally aged beef. Lenny and Denise from ChezUs joined us to assist in the tasting, and along with my wife Michele, we had four experienced palates on the case.
The final verdict was; two of us though the steaks were comparable, one thought the quality of the butcher's steak was slightly better, and one definitely preferred the home dry-aged steak more.
So, there you have it. As to whether the Drybags are an effective way to age your own steaks at home, the answer is a definite yes. Should you get one? I can't answer that -- these are matters of taste -- while I feel strongly dry-aged steaks are better, you may not.
If you love dry-aged steak, and want to eat it more often, without the expense of the steakhouse it may be a good investment. It's worth noting that it also comes with smaller bags for regular vacuum packing, so that could factor into your decision.
Thanks to Drybag Steak for letting me test the product out. It was a fun experiment, and the final product was quite luxurious.
If you want more info, or have specific questions, please refer to the Drybag Steak website.
Professional food bloggers do not live by old beef alone! In addition to the steaks you see here, the rest of the menu included:
- Frog Hollow peach, basil, and mozzeralla fresca crostini
- Prosciutto and argula on baguette
- Roasted cipollini onions
- Watercress salad with marinated early girl tomatoes
- Sottocenere truffle cheese and lobster mushroom pomme dauphinoise (I filmed this, so stay tuned for that video soon!)
- Two sauces: classic Bordelaise sauce, and not so classic "Béarnaise" aioli.
First Three Photos (c) ChezUs