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.

5 Myths about DRY AGING BEEF at Home

Myths and facts about Dry Aging Beef at Home:

Myth 1: You can dry age individual steaks by putting them on a plate in the refrigerator wrapped in paper towel for one to four days.

I once saw a post done by a well known kitchen authority that demonstrated an individual steak being wrapped and left in a refrigerator for a couple of days to receive the honor of being called “DRY AGED STEAK”.

Well…This is like leaving a glass of grape juice on a kitchen counter for a couple of days and then calling it wine. In order to be called DRY AGED, a piece of beef needs to be aged for at least two weeks. In addition aging an individual steak is just like baking a slice of bread. When you take this slice out of the oven it will be mostly crust. One should never age individual steaks because during aging a crust is formed that then needs to be removed prior to cutting it into delicious Ribeyes or New York strips.

Myth 2: Dry Aging can only be done in humidity controlled environment.

A Wet Aged Steak is basically 75% water. When you start dry aging the meat will begin to evaporate moisture. This evaporation rate is the highest in the beginning of the process and diminishes as the meat forms a crust of protein on the surface. After a two week period the crust reduces evaporation to a trickle regardless of the outside humidity.

Myth 3: DRY AGING can only be done in open air. For centuries meat has been dry aged in burlap sacks, cheese cloth and other moisture permeable materials. This was done in order to reduce contamination during aging by insects, rodents, etc.

Any moisture and oxygen permeable material can be used to protect the meat from cross contamination. Such materials can include: cheese cloth or UMAi Dry bags.

The advantage of UMAi Dry bags over cheese cloth is that they do not allow mold, bacteria or odors to migrate between the meat and its surroundings.

A published study conducted at Kansas State University concluded that aging in UMAi Dry is equal in taste and flavor to open air Dry Aged Beef.

Myth 4: DRY AGING can be done in a dedicated dorm/mini fridge. Dorm and mini fridges are basically electric coolers. They do not circulate air inside which is necessary for removing moisture from the surface of the meat. A modern frost free refrigerator has a fan that circulates the air inside and removes the moisture evaporated by various foods inside. Generally a mini fridge will trap the evaporating moisture inside and create very fertile environment for mold and bacteria.

Myth 5: Beneficial mold growth is necessary for DRY AGING. It is true that some mold growth is beneficial during some aging processes like that of cheese and sausage, however in the case of dry aging beef it will increase the amount of trimming you would have to do to clean up the aged surface. Mold growth is also very difficult to control as to the type (dangerous vs. beneficial) and the quantity a fuzz or a thick moss. Besides most people don’t like the sight of mold and few the taste.

A Holiday roast is a treat for everyone.

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