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

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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Canada geese are good in salami (recipes)

Fall in Minnesota (as is the case in most of Northern US) is always accompanied by the sights and sounds of Canada geese. They are often described as nuisance by urban residents because of their brazen disregard for the presence of humans, cars or buildings. These large, unattractive looking birds are perfectly legal to hunt in Minnesota and are becoming more and more popular with local hunters.

Many hunters often wonder how to use the goose meat. We found this nutritional information regarding wild game useful: http://www.gunnersden.com/index.htm.hunting-game-nutrition-value.html

Our customer Glenn sent us some pictures where he incorporated goose meat into a great salami soppressata and chorizo recipe using UMAi Dry:

Pictures below shows Soppressata, tags show the date and starting weight, finished weight on the back side of tag

5 lbs of Soprestatta and 5 kbs of Chorizo both made from ground  3.5 lbs of goose and 1.5 lbs of pork.  

Day 1

Day 1

 

Fermenting

Fermenting

 

Dry curing

Dry curing

 

Finished Soprestatta, very nice texture and flavor, casings worked out great.

Finished Soprestatta, very nice texture and flavor, casings worked out great.

We think Glenn’s idea is a pretty ingenious way to utilize the meat of a bird that many in the US consider to be unattractive.

Making Prosciutto at Home with UMAi Charcuterie

Making Prosciutto/Prosciuttini at Home with UMAi Charcuterie
1. Dry curing boneless leg of pork with salt and InstaCure #2 for two weeks
2. Cutting it into Fiocco and Culatello
3. Coating with pepper and salt and curing for another week
4. Sealing it into UMAi Dry bags and drying it in the refrigerator for 3 -4 months.

UMAi Charcuterie – Creating Tradition at Home

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.