The traditional Holy Grail of steaks, for most people, is dry aged steak. Dry aging reduces the water content of the meat and concentrates all of that meaty goodness. Okay, if you’re a vegetarian you’ve probably just puked a little in your mouth so you might want to forgo this post. But for everyone else, this post is not only going to get you some delicious steak, but it’s going to save you a LOT of dinero. You can make dry aged beef in your own home. And NO, it has nothing to do with charcuterie things like tying, binding or hanging. (Hmmmm….that charcuterie shiz sounds a lot like some rough foreplay.
I first learned about being able to make my own dry aged steak while watching Alton Brown. The guru of geek made it sound so easy to get those succulent steak house treats in your own home that Craig and I started doing this the very next day. What’s involved with making dry aged beef at home you wonder? Beef, a plate, a refrigerator and at least 3 days. Yep, that’s it. Oh, and you need a bit of room in that refrigerator too.
Since I don’t always have room in the fridge, we don’t always partake of the dry aged steak either. But when the meat Gods align: great prices on our favorite cuts of beef + room in the fridge = dry aged beef for the bellies and freezer in our house. And yes, you can dry age pretty much any cut of beef. Just remember that some taste better than others when they are dry aged.
Recently, my favorite store had NY Strip and Rib Eye steaks at prices that were insanely low. It must have been because of the Super Bowl as there was no other reason for the prices being that low. They were more than half off the regular price. So I loaded my cart, came home and turned our refrigerator into a butcher’s meat case. I’m not saying it’s pretty…but it is what it is.
To make a dry aged steak at home all you need to do is take the meat out of its package and set it up on its side. If you have multiple pieces of meat, set them up the same way but leave space between the pieces. Over the days, you’ll need to move them around a bit and maybe flip them over. You want to get the entire cut exposed to the circulating air so that it can dry out. Excess moisture and darkness can lead to bad things growing in/on your meat. No one likes bad meat.
I let these NY Strip Steaks and Rib Eyes go for 5 days in my refrigerator. Then I inserted pieces of parchment paper between the steaks, slid them into a zip topped bag, marked the bag with the cut name and date and popped them into my freezer to enjoy later.
But I did leave a couple dry aged NY Strip Steaks out of the freezer to enjoy. Here’s how to cook the perfect steak (at least according to me). While I don’t necessarily consider these steak recipes…they kind of are.
To grill or not to grill that dry aged beef? That’s up to you. I actually prefer my steak cooked in a cast iron skillet, but some days you just need to fire up that grill.
Grilling that dry aged steak:
Bring the meat to room temperature by removing it from the refrigerator and letting it sit on the counter. If there are dogs in your house, push it back from the edge of the counter or your best friend is going to have gourmet steak while you’re eating Chinese take out for dinner tonight. The steak should be good to go after 30 minutes.
Turn the grill up to its highest temperature and sprinkle both sides of the steak with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Sear the steaks for 2-3 minutes per side, then reduce the heat to a medium high temperature, if using gas, and move them into an indirect heat area. If using charcoal, move the steaks into an area of indirect heat (get them out of the main fire).
Continue cooking the steaks according to this chart. The time listed is TOTAL time for cooking the steak. Make sure you deduct the searing time from the time listed on this chart AND make sure to flip the steaks halfway through cooking so that both sides are cooked evenly.
Cooking that dry aged steak in a cast iron skillet:
Bring the steaks to room temperature, as in the directions above.
Place seasoned cast iron skillet over burner and heat on high heat until the pan is rip roaring hot.
Lightly coat both sides of the steak with canola oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Once skillet is hot, place steak into pan. (Make sure you’ve got the fan on, because there’s going to be smoke.)
Regardless of which cooking style you use, DO NOT pierce the meat while it’s cooking. Use tongs to flip the meat and let it rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting into it. This allows all of those juices to be reabsorbed by the meat.
Now go get your carnivore on with one of these ‘steak recipes’!