Sous Vide Cooking Guarantees a Perfect Steak Every Time

Congratulations! Dry aging done! Your ribeye, striploin or sirloin is ready. Now it’s time to trim the “bark” off, cut it into steaks, and get ready to enjoy, share or preserve to savor over time.

Steak lover beware: Dry aged steak cooks faster than “wet-aged” steak. With the lower water content, there is none of the weep and shrivel to indicate doneness. Time has provided tenderness that you don’t want to unintentionally turn to shoe leather.

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The ultimate way to cook a steak is sous vide, under vacuum in a controlled temperature water bath. Once the meat has reached the desired temperature of the bath, the meat is cooked perfectly edge to edge. Polish the steak off with a quick sear on a grill or frying pan. This is the secret to a perfect steak.

Freezing dry aged steaks:
Dry aged steaks freeze very well with minimal impact on taste or texture. Because of the reduced moisture content, dry aged steaks are less susceptible than wet aged steaks to freeze damage that is a result of water crystal formation. Simply vacuum seal your dry aged steaks into vacuum/sous vide bags and place them in the freezer. For best results, thaw the steaks very slowly in the refrigerator and bring them to room temperature before grilling or cooking sous vide. You might want “hot tub” the steaks in lukewarm water for an hour or so before cooking so you know they are just right when you toss them on the grill.

Cooking dry aged steaks:
Dry aged steaks tend to cook faster than wet aged steaks because there is just less water in them to “bring to a boil.” The steak will reach doneness in much less time. So, keep an eye on those steaks, use a quick read thermometer, and pull them off before they reach temp to let the carry over do the trick.

Many chefs will quick sear the steak before vacuum packing with a pat of butter and some seasoning. When you sous vide this way, the flavors expand and penetrate the meat delectably. Sous vide cooking is your best guarantee of steak perfection—exact temperature, ideal texture, complete nutritional value and maximum flavor.

One great resource on the web, ChefSteps.com, offers a great visual guide to temperature and doneness. They also offer online video classes on how to cook perfect proteins and more sous vide.  Check out their Map of Sous Vide Cooking:

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Brisket Dry Aging in UMAi Dry

For a long time we had questions about dry aged Brisket. Competition BBQ -ers swore that it improved the taste and texture of the meat.

Well time has come for us to find out for ourselves: Here is a typical 6.5lb brisket flat, which is a tougher and leaner brisket muscle.

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We broke it out of the Cryovac and sealed it into UMAi Dry:

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Put it into the fridge for aging. We gave it 3 weeks and at the end it transformed to this:

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We took it out and peeled back UMAi Dry bag:

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We then had a dilemma wether to trim off the hard bark or not. We decided to trim:

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Ou of the original 6.5lb. We had about 1 lb of moisture loss and .5lb of trim, so we ended up with a 5lb            21 Day Dry Aged Brisket. We used a Beef Q-Rub from the Wayzata Bay Spice Company.

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We rubbed on the spices and put it into a ziplock bag and placed it back in the fridge for overnight marination. The downstairs neighbor is a 6lb ribeye going for 60 days.

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A friend offered his Traeger grill in exchange for a piece of the action. We have never previously used a pellet smoker. We smoked with a blend of hickory and cherry pellets.

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We set up the temps on the grill to give us about 225F cooking temp:

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A big lesson was that the temp controls on a pellet grill were not at all like on your home oven. They wandered all over the place and you had to watch the settings to avoid flame outs and excessive pellet feed.

But this beast generated plenty of smoke:

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We took the internal temp to 154F (which took 3 hours) and then used what they call “Texas Crutch“, which is simply taking the Brisket off the grill, placing it on some aluminum foil and adding some liquid to help raise the internal temperature faster and retain moisture. In our case we added some apple juice and beef broth mix.

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For internal temp measurement we used a nifty gadget we discovered called iGrill thermometer that displays the temp on our iPhone remotely using bluetooth. We took the Brisket off the grill when the internal temp reached 197F. This took 3 hours.

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We then placed the foiled brisket into a towel and cooler for 1 hour to FTC (foil towel cooler)

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Then it was time for a party:

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This experience was very rewarding. The Brisket was very tender and juicy. Our “tasting panel” was very pleased with the results.

So, yah, how ’bout that Canadian beef?

During a recent visit to Québec, we happened upon an opportunity to do a little meat-spotting. While meandering the aisles of a Costco store, the delicious-looking Canadian beef in the Meat Department made for some mouth-watering picture-taking–and a few questions.

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Many steak-lovers world-wide are well aware of the Prime/Choice distinction in grades of American beef–thanks in great part to several great American Steakhouses. Fewer of us know that plenty of exquisite beef is raised on the rich soils of Canada and graded with slightly different names and criteria. Perhaps the difference is not in name alone.

Canadian and U.S. Beef Grading Standards

Canada Beef, Inc. has been getting the word out to chefs and foodies that they have beef to offer that will dazzle you with its marbling and–of course, flavor. Their comparative grading chart http://www.canadabeef.ca/us/en/quality/Standards/default.aspx raises more questions than it answers, but the deep, ruby red meat and distinct, white marbling in the Québecois Costco meat department sure provided lots of enticement for exploration.

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We would love to learn from you what your experiences are with different sources of beef, as well the type, grade and cuts you prefer to dry age for different purposes. Please weigh in on the UMAi Dry Forum: http://www.drybagsteak.com/forum/13-general-questions/3230-canadian-vs-american-beef-grades-your-thoughts#4461

Basic Q & A about Dry Aging

What cuts of beef are best for dry aging?

Fatty well marbled whole muscle cuts of beef are best for dry aging because you get three out of three benefits that dry aging offers:

1.  Concentration of beef flavor through moisture evaporation

2. Tenderization of beef muscle connective tissue through natural beef enzyme activity

3. Oxidation of fat which imparts a nutty, earthy flavor to the steak

Ribeye  comes from the middle section of the beef carcass and typically has a fat kernel in the middle giving a perfect consistency for dry aging. Other names for ribeye are: Scotch filet in Australia, NZ and other former British Colonies, entrecote in europe,

Striploin comes from the rear section of the rib and typically has similar marbling to the ribeye and derives similar benefits from dry aging as the ribeye.

Top Sirloin comes from the section right behind the Striploin and is typically a leaner cut consisting of several different muscles that have the grain running in opposite directions. This cut is also often dry aged and is a bit more complicated to cut into uniform steaks.

Can I dry age Tenderloin to make filet mignon?

Tenderloin is a very lean and already tender cut of meat found in the spinal section of the carcass. It is quite small in size and long. It can be dry aged only to impart a more beefy flavor to it. The dry aging time should be limited to 4-5 days in order to avoid forming a dry crust on the surface that later would need to be removed. A good method of dry aging tenderloin is to encrust it in spices and age it for 4-5 days to serve as spice crusted filet mignon.

Will the meat spoil if I age it too long?

In principal aging of meat is actually controlled degradation. Similar to a process of aging wine which can technically be called “rotten grapes”, beef is aged to tenderize it through controlled breakdown of its connective tissues by the natural enzymes found within and oxygen. The degree of this breakdown is determined by the aging conditions and time. In typical household refrigerator where milk and eggs are stored, beef is recommended to be aged up to 60 days in UMAi Dry bags. Most common aging time is 28-35 days. Aging beyond 60 days offers little benefit and may impart undesirable characteristics to the steak.

Can I age other cuts like Brisket or Tri-tip?

Aging flat and lean cuts of beef like Brisket or Tri-tip does intensify the beef flavor of these cuts and results in a more tender texture, but this comes at the price of having to trim some lean meat in the form of a crust that forms during aging. Unlike a Ribeye, Striploin or a Sirloin where a fat cap is present and is normally removed with or without aging, the Brisket and the Trip-tip are lean all the way around. The dry crust that forms during aging may need to be removed before cooking, therefore resulting in a higher trim loss for these cuts.

Do I need a dedicated refrigerator to dry age with UMAi Dry?

No dedicated refrigerator is required when dry aging using UMAi Dry. The meat can be placed on an open wire rack in a household refrigerator that is used for storing other food items.

There are few things in life that get better with age, beef is one of them……

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New project in progress…. Duck prosciutto

Making of duck prosciutto with UMAi Salumi. 

We started out with a whole duck from an Asian specialities supermarket here in Minnesota. We cut the duck breasts out and trimmed the excess fat off and scored the skin to allow the spices and cure to penetrate.

We got our spices and cure ready and ground them in a coffee grinder so they turned into a powder.

Coated the duck breasts with spices and cure and put them into a glass dish and paced it in the fridge for 3 days to cure.

After the three day cure the meat was firm and can be sealed into UMAi Salumi bags to begin the drying stage.

We are curious to see how long the duck prosciutto will take to dry. We hear anywhere from 7 days to 14 days is normal.

Photos below illustrate the process…..

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10 days left to take advantage of free shipping!

Any order over $100 to any U.S., Canadian or APO address will enjoy free shipping through June 17th.

  • Give the gift of a new, easier-to-use FoodSaver Starter Kit + VacMouse for that friend or family member who has heard you rave about the great steak you have made possible with UMAi DrybagSteak.
  • Buy a bundle of 25 bags on the Commercial shipping page and share the fun with friends.
  • Bag up a couple of ribeyes so you might finally be willing to wait that magical 35 or 45 days for the amazing umami of richly dry aged beef.
  • Take advantage of this special opportunity to save big with free shipping.

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Table for two? You don’t have to spend a fortune or leave home!

This year, skip the overpriced restaurants, stuffy suits and treat her to a beautiful steak in the comfort of your own home.  With all the support you need on our website and forum, both full of great information, advice and conversations with real UMAi Drybag Steak users, you can spend less time with questions and more time together.

Try out these recipes for Valentine’s Day:

Featured Recipe:
Peppercorn Crusted Filet Mignon with Balsamic Red Wine Sauce
From Steamy Kitchen

A perfect spurge to woo your sweetheart.  Steamy Kitchen shows you how even the most clueless cooks can create this masterpiece to “Oooo” and “Awww” her.

Featured Dessert:
Tiramisu Chocolate Mousse – Pick’em Up and Lay’em Down
A perfect chocolate finish to a romantic dinner from Food Wishes. “Most foodies know that Tiramisu is a decadent dessert featuring coffee soaked ladyfingers layered with a zabaione and mascarpone, but what many people don’t know is that the recipe’s name is one of the best culinary double entendres ever.”