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Your Questions About Natural Remedies

Charles asks…

How is beef steak aged? how long?

fresh beef straight from slaughtered cow is not good?

vti answers:

Aging beef is a method of controlled putrification – kind of like aging cheese. The meat decomposes slightly, and new subtle flavors emerge.

Dry aged beef is usually aged for 20-32 days at temperatures around just above freezing.

George asks…

how do you dry age beef?

vti answers:

1. Only the top grades of beef can be dry aged successfully. Use USDA Prime or USDA Choice – Yield Grade 1 or 2 (the highest quality of Choice) only. These have a thick layer of fat on the outside to protect the meat from spoiling during the aging process.

2. Buy a whole rib-eye or loin strip. [You cannot age individual steaks.] Unwrap it, rinse it well with cold water, and allow it to drain; then pat it very dry with paper towels.

3. Wrap the meat in immaculately clean, large, plain white cotton dish towels and place it on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator – which is the coldest spot.

4. Change the towels each day, replacing the moisture-soiled towels with fresh. Continue to change towels as needed for 10 days, to 2 weeks. (See Step #7 for cleaning towels.)

5. After the desired aging time, you’re ready to cut off steaks from each end, trim as desired, and allow the rest to continue to age in the refrigerator.

6. If, after 21 days, you have not eaten all the meat, cut the remaining piece into steaks, wrap each steak in freezer-proof, heavy-duty plastic wrap, and freeze. The steaks will keep for several months in the freezer.

7. To clean the towels for re-use, soak the soiled towels, immediately upon removing them from the meat, in cold water overnight. Next, soak them in cold, salted water for 2-3 hours to remove any blood stains. Then launder as usual. [In olden days, butchers used to cover sides of beef with cotton “shrouds” during the aging process – this is essentially the same thing.]

Donald asks…

Why isn’t dry aged beef considered spoiled?

This is the video that started me thinking

http://screen.yahoo.com/secrets-of-signature-steakhouses-30750176.html

Now. In the video they say to dry age your steak on a cake / cookie rack for a week. In the restaurant they are dry aging their meat for almost a month. Now, It’s not curing because there is no salt rub on the meat to draw out moisture neither is there a smoking element to cure it either. My question is how is this beef still safe to eat? Any meat left in the fridge that long would go bad or be very unsafe to eat. Is it because he has the cake rack underneith it to allow proper airflow? I really want to try this but I’m worried I’ll just make myself sick. 10 points for people who actually want a challenging question.

vti answers:

The process of dry-aging usually also promotes growth of certain fungal (mold) species on the external surface of the meat. This doesn’t cause spoilage, but actually forms an external “crust” on the meat’s surface, which is trimmed off when the meat is prepared for cooking. These fungal species complement the natural enzymes in the beef by helping to tenderize and increase the flavor of the meat.

To age the beef properly, it has to be maintained at a near freezing temperature, It can also be done at home under refrigeration by various means–open air, with the presence of salt blocks and with the use of a moisture permeable drybag to protect the meat while aging.

Sandra asks…

how do you age beef?

i have a basic idea of the process. i have an extra frig and want to modify it to age beef does anyone know how to do this or a website that would tell me how to modify my frig to age beef?

vti answers:

1. Only the top grades of beef can be dry aged successfully. Use Prime or heavy Choice (the highest quality of Choice) only. These have a thick layer of fat on the outside to protect the meat from spoiling during the aging process.

2. Buy a whole rib-eye or loin strip. [You cannot age individual steaks.] Unwrap it, rinse it well with cold water, allow it to drain; then pat it very dry with paper towels.

3. Wrap the meat in immaculately clean, large, plain white cotton dish towel(s) and place it on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator – which is the coldest spot.

4. Change the towel(s) each day, replacing the moisture-soiled towel(s) with fresh. Continue to change towels as needed for 10 days, to 2 weeks. (See Step #7 for cleaning towels.)

5. After the desired aging time, you’re ready to cut off steaks from each end, trim as desired, (enjoy!) and allow the rest to continue to age in the refrigerator.

6. If, after 21 days, you have not eaten all the meat, cut the remaining piece into steaks, wrap each steak in freezer-proof , heavy-duty plastic wrap, and freeze. The steaks will keep for several months in the freezer.

7. To clean the towels for re-use, soak the soiled towels, immediately upon removing them from the meat, in cold water overnight. Next, soak them in cold, salted water for 2-3 hours to remove any blood stains. Then launder as usual. [In olden days, butchers used to cover sides of beef with cotton “shrouds” during the aging process – this is essentially the same thing.]

William asks…

Can I “Dry Age” my own steaks and beef? How?

What kind of an environment do I have to set up to do this?

vti answers:

The first step to making dry aged beef at home is actually a food safety note. Home refrigerators aren’t as consistent or as cold as commercial meat lockers.

Before making dry aged beef at home, get a refrigerator thermometer and make sure your fridge is set to and can maintain a temperature below 40 F. Cook or freeze the meat within seven days of beginning the dry-aging process.

Next, buy a prime USDA boneless beef rib or loin roast from the best meat source in your area. USDA Prime meats are produced in limited quantities for use in the finest restaurants, hotels and gourmet markets. They are well marbled and have thick coverings of firm fat. Your local grocery store will not carry this type of meat. Unwrap the beef, rinse it well, and pat it dry with paper towels. Do not trim. Wrap the roast loosely in a triple layer of cheesecloth and set it on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet or other tray.

Refrigerate for three to seven days; the longer the beef ages, the tastier it gets. After the first day, carefully unwrap and then re wrap with the same cheesecloth to keep the cloth fibers from sticking to the meat.

When you are ready to roast, unwrap the meat and, with a sharp knife, shave off and discard the hard, dried outer layer of the meat. Shave away any dried areas of fat, too, but leave behind as much of the good fat as possible. Roast whole, or cut into steaks.

For a truly special occasion, like a Christmas or New Year’s dinner, dry aged beef is more than worth the extra time and effort!

Making your own dry aged beef at home is an all too often overlooked strategy to all but a handful of gourmet cooks. There is absolutely no reason you should not add this method to your personal culinary arsenal. People will be amazed!

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