The Drying Game

I have eaten quite a few steaks in my day and some of the best I have had from steak houses that feature dry aged beef.  Steakhouses will dry age their beef in a temperature controlled room which allows the moisture to evaporate from the beef without spoiling.  Removing the moisture concentrates the flavors in the beef, resulting is a very tasty steak.  I don’t have a beef humidor in my house, my next house will, but I do have a spare fridge in my garage.
I started with four choice grade NY Strips.  I would only try this trick with choice and prime grade steaks, lesser grade steaks do not have enough fat marbling and the meat could spoil during the process. The total weight for all four steaks was 48 oz.  I salted the steaks on each side with some kosher salt to help pull the moisture from the steak and wrapped them in a paper towel.  Then placed the steaks on cookie sheet with a cooling rack.  The cooling rack elevates the steak and allows for the air in the fridge to circulate around the steak and drying it evenly.  I placed the steaks in my fridge for 3 days, changing the paper towels each day.

After 3 days I weighed the steaks again, 41.3 oz, a 14% decrease in weight.  Less water = more flavor. In these pictures I took after brushing the steaks with some peanut oil and seasoning you can see how dark the meat is. The peanut oil is a trick I use to help sear the meat and keep it from sticking to the grill.  Any oil with a high smoke point will work, don’t use olive oil it will burn.

This is why I love my Big Green Egg, it’s hot baby.  I’m searing the steaks for 2 minutes on each side at 600 Degrees.  After searing I took them off the grill and let them rest a few minutes while I dropped the heat on the BGE to about 400.  I threw a handful of mesquite wood chips on the fire and finished cooking the steaks until done, about 130 degrees internal temperature.  This is why I use the peanut oil.

 
All done, look at those grill marks, damn I’m good.

 Steak, potato, bread and little salad, don’t get much better than that!

I’m very pleased with my first attempt at dry aging steaks.  I was worried the steaks were going to be dry, but they were very juicy and the flavor was more intense.  The drying also helped produce a nice crusty sear on the steak and had a nice smokey taste too it.  One thing that I did notice was the steaks did cook a lot faster than usual, they were just a tad over cooked.  It’s really hard to improve on a good steak, but I think this technique did it.  I will definitely be using this trick again.

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