Monday, April 15, 2019

Dry Aged Ribeye Steaks

[FTC Disclosure] I received the steak knives as a gift from Certified Angus Beef® Brand.  

I have been having some fun with dry-aged, ribeye steaks over the past month.

Dry-aged ribeye steak with crisp potato stack

I had the steaks because I had dry-aged a Certified Angus Beef® Brand whole ribeye to make this dry aged ribeye roast.  It was one of the final recipes that we shot earlier this year for my new book coming out in July 2019.  

Dry aged smoked ribeye roast from The Offset Smoker Cookbook

I like to use UMAi Dry bags for dry aging because I don't have a dedicated dry aging refrigerator.  These bags are semi-permeable and let air and moisture pass out through the bag but won't let aromas from other foods in the fridge get to the ribeye.

I placed the ribeye into the bag and then vacuum-seal the end with a special membrane (supplied in the kit) in place. One problem we ran into was our vacuum sealer.  After burning through sealer after sealer, we finally found a durable one that we like and has lasted a few years.  The problem is to seal these bags with a ribeye in it, we actually needed one that opens up like a clamshell, so we had to buy another cheap one, just for this.

Dry aging a Certified Angus Beef Brand ribeye using an UMAi Dry bag
Ribeye in the fridge. Notice that it is on a raised rack so air can circulate around the entire ribeye.  The sweet spot for dry aging is 33-36°f, so I kept a refrigerator thermometer near the ribeye to make sure that it was staying in that range.  I also kept an eye on relative humidity (65-70%) with a cheap hygrometer and put a small battery powered fan near the ribeye.
I dry aged this ribeye for 30 days.  During that time, a couple of things happen.  Moisture evaporates from the meat, which is going to concentrate the flavor much like reducing a stock.  Also, natural enzymes in the meat break down the meat, making it more tender and flavorful.

dry aged beef ribeye before trimming
After about 2 weeks, the exterior of the meat will start to darken, and by 30 days, it will look like this.  I use a large butcher's knife to trim most of the exterior and then use a small boning knife to get the little bits left behind.

dry aged beef ribeye after trimming
Here is the same ribeye after trimming but with the lip still on.

Dry aged, Certified Angus Beef Brand ribeye.  Trimmed on the left, untrimmed on the right.
Before and after comparison of another ribeye that I aged.
The price of a dry aged steak at a butcher shop or restaurant can be a bit shocking, but it ultimately makes sense when you look at the loss due to evaporation and trimming.  Look at this ribeye as an example.

Weight (lbs) Percent of original weight
Starting weight 16.83 100%
Finish aged weight 14.55 86%
Post trim weight 11.94 71%

Dry aged, Certified Angus Beef Brand ribeye steaks
After trimming out the ribeye roast, I had enough dry aged ribeye leftover for seven thick ribeyes and one little deformed one from the end piece.  These are the steaks that I have been enjoying.

Firing up a Big Green Egg Mini-Max using a MAPpro gas torch
I've been using my BGE Mini-Max a lot for these steaks.  Now that it's often just Alexis and me at the house, a small kamado grill like this is perfect for cooking one or two steaks, chops, or chicken breasts. It burns a lot less fuel to run a smaller grill.

My set up for steaks on a small kamado is one of two ways.  For either way, I start with a full Kick Ash Basket of hardwood lump charcoal.  A fully loaded Mini-Max doesn't leave much room between the coals and the cooking grate.  One setup that I use is to raise the cooking grate using a Woo rig.  Then I just put a cast iron grate on top of that.  

dry aged ribeye steak
For the first steak that I did from the batch of dry aged ribeyes, I lightly oiled it with avocado oil before seasoning it with my NMT Umami Steak Seasoning recipe.

dry aged ribeye steak on a Mini-Max kamado grill
I grilled this steak and the end-cut until they were an internal temperature of 124°f, right at 4 minutes a side at 500°f.  

resting a dry aged Certified Angus Beef Brand ribeye steak
I always rest our steaks on a rack so air can circulate.  If you place a steak on a plate to rest, the heat is trapped between the steak and plate.  This creates a steaming effect that results in the loss of more of the meat's juices.

Dry aged ribeye steak
I hit this ribeye with some more finely ground NMT Umami Steak Seasoning as a finishing seasoning.  I always try to finish my steaks with one last seasoning.  It can be as simple as popcorn salt (extra fine), finely ground steak seasoning, compound butter, or a board dressing.
The next night, I grilled us
Grilling a dry aged Certified Angus Beef Brand ribeye steak on a small kamado grill with cast iron grates
The next night, I grilled us a dry aged ribeye steak about the same way except.....

I made a blue cheese compound butter for the finishing seasoning.  I did about equal parts of butter and blue cheese and then seasoned it to taste with my NMT Beef Rub v.2 recipe.

Blue cheese compound butter on a dry aged ribeye steak
I put the butter on the steak right after I flipped the steak and then closed the dome lid. I wanted to get the blue cheese warm enough to soften.  I was worried that wouldn't happen if I waited to put the butter on when the steak came off the grill.

Dry aged ribeye steak, seasoned and in a vacuum bag for sous vide cooking
On the third night, I went the sous vide route.  I opened the vac bag, oiled the steak, seasoned it with the NMT Umami Steak Seasoning recipe, and resealed the bag.  I used the Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker to cook the steak in a 124°f water bath for 2 hours.

Dry aged Certified Angus Beef Brand ribeye steak on a small kamado grill with GrillGrates
The other set up that I use for grilling steaks on a small kamado is using a set of GrillGrates.  This is an aftermarket accessory available for just about any grill.  It prevents flare-ups, converts more of the fire's heat into infrared heat, and lays down some serious cross-hatch marks.

Alexis used a stand mixer attachment to spiralize a Yukon gold potato for a crispy side dish.

Certified Angus Beef Brand ribeye steak with loaded deep fried potato nest
Dry aged, sous vide ribeye steak with a loaded crispy potato nest.  I love the new Certified Angus Beef® Brand Chophouse Steak Knives that they sent me.

All three of these steaks were fantastic and perfectly cooked to "just below medium-rare."  Sous vide is fun to play with, but for me, I'll take a grilled steak any day over a sous vide/grilled steak.

So even doing it at home, dry-aged steaks are still rather expensive per pound but I think they are well worth it.  They are noticeably more tender and richer in flavor.  I still love regular steaks and that's what I eat more often.  But a few times a year, I love to treat myself to a whole ribeye for aging!