NICK SOLARES CORNER
#6 - ADVENTURES IN DRY AGING: THE SECOND BATCH
To say that the initial result from dry aging at home with the DRYAGER UX 500 was a success is an understatement. It radically changed my mind on what is achievable in the domestic environment, improbably rivaling the results attained by commercial facilities. To be frank, I was not expecting this, I knew that credible results can be achieved at home, indeed I have run several relatively successful experiments myself using non-specific equipment; but the DRYAGER UX 500 turned out such high quality beef that if I hadn’t aged it myself I would not have believe it came from a small domestic unit.
I kept things simple for the first batch, aging a single strip loin. Since it was my first foray with the cabinet of DRYAGER UX 500 I was a little apprehensive about ruining the beef. I need not have worried, not only where the results extraordinary, the ease of use was very straightforward. With my confidence boosted my second batch was loaded to bear! I stocked my DRYAGER UX 500 with 43.7lbs of Prime beef, a smidge under the units 44lb limit!
I procured four bones, cut from the front of the rib primal (so a big portion of the prized spinalis dorsi muscle). As with my initial aging experiment I went with fresh hanging beef, this time from Master Purveyors, one of NYC’s most storied and legendary butchers; who I visited for a forth coming interview for this series. I also rounded out the DRYAGER UX 500 with a strip loin from Certified Angus Beef (CAB), via the fine folks at DeBragga Meats, who are also the subjects of a future interview. The CAB strip loin was previously vacuum packed, so there was perhaps a week of wet aging on the beef.
I must say that with both primal portions filling the DRYAGER UX 500 the unit really did look the business! I’m not sure if its because the unit was up and running for almost two months when I loaded the second batch or perhaps because of the greater volume of beef, but the aging looked to be advancing more rapidly the second time around.
The once pink flesh and white fat turned increasingly darker shades of crimson and maroon respectively, as the beef desiccated and tightened up. Where as this transformation took almost two weeks my first time around, the aging was apparent in just 5 days with the second batch.
The only notable difference from an operational perspective was that I had to empty the drip tray more frequently during the first week, when beef tends top shed most of its liquids during dry aging. This was expected since I had twice as much beef in the DRYAGER UX 500. I didn’t have to bother emptying after the third week, there was just not an appreciable amount of liquid to warrant such action. And I decided to go for a longer aging cycle for my second batch. I aged the strip loin for 65 days and went all the way to 92 on the rib!
In my experience this is at the upper end of the spectrum of aging where the beef still tastes like beef, and not something beyond. Surprisingly, and paradoxically, both the strip loin and the rib maintained a level succulence that I would generally equate with a more standard aging period of 28 - 45 days. Generally beef that is aged for two to three months tends to be quite dry and in some cases can almost approach charcuterie in its texture. In terms of flavor too, the beef still had a fundamentally beefy taste, with a mineral rich, nutty finish. The DRYAGER UX 500 fridge appears to age beef at a marginally slower rate than a commercial facility, but with no less aplomb.
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