Dry aging your brisket is one underutilized technique for improving your brisket game. The top steakhouses in the nation have been using dry aging for decades to make fantastic brisket even better.
It makes sense that dry aging would be as beneficial for briskets if it produces such amazing results for steaks.
Despite the obvious link suggesting that dry aging should produce a fantastic brisket, you won’t find many references to the method in the barbecue world. This technique has, in my opinion, been disregarded for several reasons, including intricacy and contests.
Understanding Dry Aging
The dry aging technique involves keeping beef under regulated temperature and humidity for an extended time. The enzymes in the meat begin to break it down at this point, giving the meat a new texture and flavor. The meaty flavor is concentrated as water from the meat evaporates at the same time.
The resulting beef has a distinctive flavor that some people adore while others find too intense. The flavors of dry-aged beef have been said to be “nutty,” “Parmesan cheese,” “mushrooms,” and “earthy.” These flavors intensify with the amount of time the beef is dry aged. Consider it this way: If you enjoy blue cheese, you’ll likely enjoy dry-aged beef.
How long should a brisket be dry aged?
While there isn’t much information available regarding the ideal length of time to dry aging a brisket, there is a wealth of data regarding the process for dry aging steaks. Everyone agrees that after 28–30 days, you start to get the benefits of dry aging, but it takes 45 days for the flavors to take off.
Although collagen has only recently started to degrade, the steak won’t have the flavor or texture you expect from a dry-aged steak. At this time, steak is not being offered as “aged.” Although the meat is still quite bright, it will get darker as it ages and dries.
The steak loses 10% of its weight in the first three weeks due to evaporation. The front and rear of the brisket leak water, but the brisket’s sides are waterproof because of the fat and bone. Beef shrinks as it ages so that the steak will become more concave. Rather than diminishing with age, fat becomes darker.
The most popular age for steaks is this one. This steak is incredibly soft and flavorful compared to a blend of buttered popcorn and rare roast beef. Dry-aged steaks have acquired characteristics associated with flavor and texture. Since its original weight, the steak has lost 15 percent.
Compared to a steak that matured for 30 days, this one has a bit more stink. The meat will start to develop white striations that are a combination of salt and mold. It’s vital to remember that the steak has only lost a tiny bit more weight and that the flavor of the fat changes before that of the meat.
More of the white crust forms. Similar to how a cheese rind shields the cheese, this crust guards the meat. Before the meat is sold, the outer crust is removed.
Only a small number of really upscale restaurants purchase this long-aged beef. The steak is now 35% lighter than it was originally. This steak is for someone who likes an extraordinarily powerful beef flavor because it has a really weird flavor and is also highly pricey.
Dry vs. Wet Aging
There are two ways to age beef: wet aging or dry aging. Both have advantages and disadvantages but yield two quite distinct kinds of steak.
As we previously stated, wet aging is the process of a huge cut of beef remaining in its vacuum-sealed packaging inside the refrigerator. All cuts of beef you buy from your store will experience this for a while, but you can prolong the process at home if you’d like.
You can benefit from the enzymes’ easy breakdown of touch muscle tissue and increased tenderness by aging the beef inside the cryovac packaging. You won’t, however, enhance the overall flavor in this manner because the meat and fat cannot oxidize outside of the container.
Additionally, using this method to age beef won’t require specialized tools. You only need to put the cryovac kit in your refrigerator to get started. Before cooking, you won’t need to remove any of the hard exteriors.
We briefly mentioned dry aging previously, exposing a sizable cut of beef to open air within a refrigerator for a considerable amount of time. Enzymes will begin to break down the strong muscle fibers inside the meat while it is still there, making the meat softer.
At the same time, oxidation and bacteria will start to change the flavor of the beef, giving it a richer, deeper, beefier flavor. Dry aging is, in other words, a carefully controlled decaying. Once your beef has matured, it will resemble a raisin and have an extremely hard shell. Sadly, you must remove the brisket’s rigid portion to get the tasty flesh underneath.
Dry aging is more complicated than wet aging; you’ll need a designated refrigerator room (or, better yet, a separate bar fridge) and some other essential pieces of the kit.
Dry Aging Myths
There are many myths and misconceptions about dry aging, much like most barbecue/grilling-related topics. You can easily dispel these myths.
Your refrigerator can age a single steak for 7–14 days.
This process happens frequently. The basic idea is that you may accomplish the same outcomes as traditional dry aging by purchasing a great, big, thick steak from your butcher, plating it, and storing it in your refrigerator for a week or two.
It takes 14 days for any significant improvements to the meat’s tenderness, and it would take even longer for the flavor to improve. Sorry guys, but it is as easy as storing a steak in the refrigerator for a few days.
Wet aging equals Dry aging.
Some individuals mistakenly believe wetting and drying a beef cut are equivalent processes. Yes, some tenderness will increase, but the meat’s taste and fat must be improved by oxidation, which can only occur when air is allowed to circulate through the meat.
You can use your refrigerator at home to dry aging
Technically, you can age beef in the refrigerator next to the tuna casserole from yesterday, but you shouldn’t. Dry-aged beef readily absorbs the flavors and aromas of the other foods it is kept. Because of this, we (along with many others) advise utilizing a special refrigerator to age your beef.
Only environments with controlled humidity are suitable for dry aging
In essence, a wet-aged steak contains 75% water. The meat will start to lose moisture when you start dry-aging it. The evaporation rate is highest at the beginning of the process and decreases when a protein crust forms on the surface of the meat. Regardless of the humidity outside, the crust’s evaporation decreases to a trickle after two weeks.
For dry aging to occur, beneficial mold development is required.
However, you will need more trimming when dry aging beef since the aged surface needs to be trimmed. Some mold growth is helpful during some aging procedures, such as cheese and sausage. In terms of amount and type (harmful vs. beneficial), mold development is exceedingly challenging to control. In addition, most individuals dislike the flavor and look of mold.
FINISHING IT OFF;
I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Do you have any experience aging beef at home? What did you enjoy? Do you have any disapprovals?
Get a great piece of prime-grade brisket from your neighborhood butcher and start experimenting with cooking times to see how aged and wrinkly your ideal steak is.
And if you find this article helpful or have any suggestions, feel free to reach us.