Here is how to DRY AGE BEEF at home using a DIY Machine that sits right in your fridge, using limited budget and equipments.
If you want to dry age beef yourself too, I strongly advise you to to watch 2 videos first : What is dry aged beef ? and How does Dry Aged Beef taste like ? , as they contain lots and lots of advices and useful informations to succeed in this adventure. I recently learnt new tips, I will share along this Instructable.
Step 1: Using Your Existing Fridge, or Not.
From the outside at least, Dry aging beef, It’s just a cooling and drying process in a controlled environnement IN SHORT we need to start with a fridge.
2 options : You can ( A ) buy a dedicated fridge : A brand new one, it’s gonna take some room, it’s gonna be noisy, it’s also gonna be expensive, especially if you still need to pimp it afterwards. Or you can ( B ) use a second hand fridge, which is definitely a bit shabby especially if you want to dry aged beef inside in proper conditions.
Using your existing fridge could be a good idea because : It’s cheap, as you probably already own one, and it’s clean (hopefully), Sadly, there are 2 main reasons for not using it :
1 . Temperature : opening and closing the door several times a day, make for the least stable temperature ever.
2 . Smell : Even if you do it right, DRY aging beef produce a specific smell, which doesn't smell bad but strong, which will permeate the rest of your food , and vice versa, your meat might end up smelling like bananas.
Unless you can build a dry aging machine inside your own fridge. A fridge inception if you like.
Step 2: A Styrofoam Box ?
Found this STYROFOAM box in a shop nearby, it’s great cause It’s super insulating
and also it’s pretty cheap : 7$. The only thing is that it’s a bit bulky but no big deal, I can feed on ramen for a few days.
We need to pimp that box to make it Dry-Aged Ready.
1 : HOOK
Meat can not be resting on a plate inside, otherwise the part facing down is never gonna dry. It has to be elevated on a rack or even better hanging onto a hook, which is the solution I am going for.
Step 3: Installing a Fan & Sensors
2 : FAN
Just mentioned it, but the meat needs to dry out evenly, meaning that we need an air circulation inside, at least for the first 2 weeks, or until a crust forms on the outside. For that : I am using a small usb fan, which I am installing upside down.
3 : SENSORS
I must be able to monitor the beef cut without actually opening and closing the door. SO I am integrating in the door, a small temperature and humidity sensor.
Step 4: Handle, Closing Mechanism & Drippings
4 : HANDLE & SEALING
I will still have to open that door from time to time, so to make it more practical : I am adding a handle, a few hinges and a high-tech-sealing-mechanism consisting in 2 rubber bands.
5 : DRIPPINGS
As There could be some drippings, let’s install a Drippings collector aka Plastic container lined up with kitchen paper
Step 5: Drying & Air Flow
6 : DRYING
In order To further dry the air inside, i am adding a few silica-gel packets,
7 : AIR CLEANING
And finally to purify the air inside, and also to absorb the smells, I am adding 2 bags of activated charcoal.
8: Air Input / Output
I still have a few bags left of activated charcoal , and as they are a common filtering agent for kitchen extractors, i am using them to filter the input and output.
Step 6: Which Beef Cut to Dry Age ?
You need a pretty big cut, that will allow being trimmed at the end. Also you need the best beef money can buy, there’s no interest in dry aging a low quality piece. I am going for a Prime Ribeye with intense inner fat marbling and also with the fat cap still on : It will protect the meat during aging.
Step 7: Let the Dry Aging Begin...
I insert the machine in the fridge, and set it to maximum cold. ( 5/ 5).
My goal is to dry age that Beef ribeye for at least 45 days, you need to monitor it often during that period, so unless there's a problem, // why would there be any problem ? #haha // the next dry aged beef episode should a Tasting Session. I will keep you guys posted.