How to Dry Age Beef

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Dry aging beef improves flavor and tenderness.
Dry aging beef improves flavor and tenderness. (Image: Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Beef can be dry aged to improve it in two significant ways. First, moisture is removed from the muscle, giving the beef a more intense and "gamey" taste. Second, natural enzymes break down the connective tissue, resulting in a more tender cut of meat. You can dry age certain cuts of beef at home as long as your refrigerator maintains a temperature below 40 degrees.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean towels
  • Rack
  • Baking sheet or baking pan with rim

Wash the cut of beef and pat it dry with a clean towel.

Pat it dry with a clean towel again. This task must be repeated several times throughout the dry aging process, which effectively "sucks" the moisture from the interior to the exterior of the meat.

Place the meat on a rack and place the rack on top of a baking sheet with a rim to prevent spills or leaks.

Place the rack of beef, uncovered, on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator. This is typically the coldest part of the fridge.

Examine the beef twice a day and pat dry with a clean towel to remove excess moisture. After about three days the beef will begin drying out and as a result, a dark crust will form on the exterior.

Remove the beef and trim off the outer crust after five to seven days. The beef can now be cooked and eaten like a normal cut of meat. Cook or freeze as soon as you cut off the crust, which should be done within a week of starting the drying process.

Tips & Warnings

  • Dry aging is less economical than wet aging because of the dehydration and the final trimming of the outer crust. Expect to lose about 10 to 15 percent of the size of your original cut.
  • Beef should not be aged for more than a week by non-professionals.

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