Dry Aging Steak
I was lucky enough to catch a recent episode of Alton Brown's "Good Eats" in which he dealt with dry aging a steak at home. I just took a squint at uToob whereon I didn't find said episode. Oh bother.
Nonetheless, if you're unfamiliar with dry aged steak, let's just say that it makes whatever steak you buy at your local purveyor of cow parts into a better thing than taking said steak out of the clingwrap and plonking it on the grill. The meat is kept from getting too dry and the flavor builds as the aging performs its glutaminic magic. Short version: This is what high-end steak houses do to make their steaks better than those served at Outbacks and the like. Nothing wrong with an Outback steak to be sure, but it's not been coddled for maximum flavor.
Now those high-end steak houses have special climate controlled rooms wherein their beef ages. At home, well if you have one of those rooms at home, please send all that excess money you have lying around to me. The idea is that the process can be accomplished in the refrigerator. Alton took a disposable aluminum pie tin, poked skewers through it to create a place for the steak to sit and have air circulate underneath. I have no disposable pie tins. However, my inspiration was to use the polyfoam tray that the steaks are sold in to the same end. I poked skewers through the side of those and a day later have found them to have performed exactly as I'd hoped.
The steaks themselves get wrapped in a paper towel which is discarded the second day and replaced by a fresh paper towel. Alton says that the second towel need not be switched out. I'm only on the start of the second day so I'll hold my water on that. Then the steaks are put on the "skewer grate" and tucked into the coldest part of the fridge (lowest level as far back as possible). I've only finished the first day so I can't report on the longevity of the second towel wrap but the first wraps all came off without sticking to the steaks and all have a reasonable amount of steak juice on them - not at all soaked through.
I did take some pics but I've managed to leave my camera far enough away from the computing masheen to make posting this as a text post the logical thing to do for now. I will post the pics tomorrow and I'll probably grill a steak on Friday as a test. I have both prime and choice steaks so it'll be interesting to see what dry aging does to each. I think a final assessment should be posted early next week. Looks like a winner so far though.
UPDATE: My fridge is filled with a marvelous funk of aging beef. It's a funk all right but it's like good mushrooms - earthy, dense, almost chewy. Makes you salivate even as you're saying, "What's that funky smell?" First steak goes on the grill Sunday evening.