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.

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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