Making modifications to Foodsaver

Richard who is an UMAi Dry user, came up with a solution to a problem that many UMAi Dry users face when trying to seal a large 16-22 lb piece of beef using a basic household vacuum sealer like this Foodsaver V2244. This solution allows the user to have more control over the sealing process. Here is Richard’s account:

I recently decided to modify my vacuum sealer so that I no longer am dependent on the automated sealing feature. The sealer I use for the Umai dry bags is a Foodsaver V2244, a pretty basic model.
This vacuum sealer has the pretty much standard controls. One button starts the vacuum and then seals automatically. A second button either stops the vacuum and seals the bag, or simply seals the the bag (for adding a second seal or making bags from the roll material). Some units have more controls, but all should have these two basic functions.
These sealers have a pressure switch which controls when the vacuum is stopped and the seal is made. The assumption from the manufacturer is that the bag has the small channels embossed into the bags which allows the air to escape. The Umai dry bags don’t have these, so occasionally, or more frequently even, the bags form enough of an air tight seal just beyond the unit to allow the pressure switch to actuate the sealing step even though there’s still air in the bag.
Remove, or disable this switch and the vacuum pump will run continuously until you press the seal button. This will allow you to take the time to massage the air out of the bag and make the seal when you are satisfied wit the degree of air removed from the bag.
Of course you loose the automated vacuum sealing feature and probably any warranty you had on the unit.
Removing the switch on my unit was quite easy. Once the unit was opened by removing the bottom there was easy access to the controls. There’s not much in these units. A vacuum pump, a pressure switch, some tubing, a small electric control circuit to time the sealing bar heater/pump operation.
On this unit there is a small tubing which runs from the vacuum pump to a “T”. From the “T” the tubing continues the the sealing chamber as well as a vacuum switch.
Now, here, there are two ways to disable the automation:
1. Remove the vacuum switch from the vacuum tubing altogether. This is what I opted for since this unit is dedicated to dry bags.
2. Add a toggle switch to the circuit which effectively removes the vacuum switch from the control circuit. The toggle switch would let you choose between manual or automatic vacuum/sealing. This may be a better (albeit more work) choice if you use the unit for regular kitchen duty as well as for the dry bags. Depending on the sealer and how the vacuum switch is incorporated it may require some soldering on a circuit board.

Of my unit preventing the switch from being used was simple. Since the tubing from the pump goes to a “T”, and there was enough tubing to to go straight from the pump to the sealing chamber – I simply removed the tubing from the “T” and connected the pump directly to the sealing chamber. The vacuum switch is still in the unit but no longer connected to the vacuum pump. When using the unit the switch never sees vacuum and so the pump will continue to run until you initiate the seal, or the pump overheats.

You still need the vac-mouse to keep some flow across the unit’s gaskets.

A lot of words for a 5 minute job, here are some photos:

V2244 Sealer before modification

V2244 Sealer before modification

Foodsaver V2244 modification tools you needFoodsaver V2244 internals before modification Foodsaver V2244 internals after modificationFoodsaver V2244 after modification

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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Dry aging beef in UMAi Dry bag is real dry aging

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Dry aged Beef is a result of a process of dry aging: During Dry Aging the following happens:

  1. The word Dry means: Moisture evaporates from the muscle creating a mature beef flavor
  2. The word Aging means: Meat’s natural enzymes break down the fibrous, connective tissue in the muscle thereby tenderizing it

Dry aging using UMAi Dry Bag accomplishes both of these goals as concluded by numerous scientific studies conducted by Kansas State University and Auburn University

http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Processing/Dry-aging-using-vacuum-packaging-provides-savings

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0309174009002484

The results from these studies has shown that Dry Aging using UMAi Dry Bags achieves the unique nutty, buttery Dry Aged Flavor and the texture tender enough to cut with a fork.

Dry aging has been typically done with half carcasses of beef hung in cold storage lockers for 14 – 35 days following slaughter.

The half carcasses were typically wrapped in cheese cloth like material to prevent insects and other pests from reaching them.  For most restaurants, households and food safety conscious people that type of dry aging is not an option today.

Subprimal steak cuts of beef, such as whole striploins (NY strip), 7-rib ribeye (bone-in or boneless) sections, top rounds (sirloin) can be dry aged in open air. However, in restaurant and household environments the need for special designated coolers, sanitation concerns, smells coming from dry aging beef, cross contamination of flavors and microorganisms make the open air process quite problematic.

The UMAi Dry Bag provides an isolated environment for the beef to dry age. There is no need for special coolers and special sanitation/cleaning. The UMAi Dry Bag provides the protection that most consumers desire in the Dry Aging process.

The Process of Dry Ageing in UMAi Dry Bag received the National Restaurant Association Food and Beverage Innovation Award in 2011.

UMAi Dry bags are sold successfully in over 70 countries worldwide.

So is UMAi Dry bags real dry aging? Try it out and judge for yourself.