How long can you keep Dry Aged Steak in fridge?
The length of time you keep your dry aged steak in the fridge is determined by a multitude of factors. Typically, the flavours associated with dry aged steak start to develop at around 21 days where a slight nuttiness begins to evolve, from 28-35 days, subtle umami and mushroom flavourings emerge and from 45 days onwards, bold notes of blue cheese can be tasted.
Ultimately, the answer to the age-old question ‘how long you keep dry aged steak in the fridge’ is dependent on what cut you are using and your personal preference on taste, our guide helps you to decide the best length of time to keep your dry aged steak in the fridge based on these factors.
How does cut affect the time of how long can you keep dry aged steak in fridge?
For dry-aging, whole sides of beef or primal cuts are hung in constant air flow and kept at a temperature just above freezing and left to age for several weeks or even several months. Those cuts are usually the larger muscle cuts that should be on the bone and still have their natural fat cap intact.
This environment will allow the natural enzymes working on the muscle tissues and permits the cuts to slowly dehydrate. This concentrates the meat flavor and changes the taste, texture and tenderness. The benefit of this process is very tender meat with an intense flavor. The downside is that a certain weight loss occurs due to moisture loss, which decreases the yield and increases the cost per pound. Also, the surface of the meat usually needs to be trimmed away before the beef is portioned and sold, resulting in further loss of volume.
Time scale of how long can you keep dry aged steak in fridge:
The main structural protein of the steak has begun to break down. But, at this stage, the beef is still bright and not sold as ‘aged’ as it will not yet have the complex flavours and tenderness typical of a dry aged steak. After this stage the flavour and tender texture begins to intensify, but so does the loss of weight and risk of spoilage- which is where our dry age refrigerator comes in. Steak Locker specialise in dry age fridges that age the meat in tightly controlled conditions that regulate the temperature, bacteria and humidity which take away the risk associated with dry aging.
During this stage, the meat loses around 10% of its weight through evaporation. The fat and bone on the sides of the beef make the sides waterproof as water escapes from the front and back of the steak. As the moisture is drawn out of the meat, the flavor of it becomes more concentrated as a subtle nutty taste begins to develop. At this point the fat of the steak will not shrink but will begin to darken.
This is one of the most commonly selected times of the age process in dry age steaks. By 30 days, the meat's flavour and texture will have developed into that typical dry-aged steak. At this stage, the meat will have lost 15% of its weight and the concentrations of flavours are described as rich, mushroom and umami flavors.
At this stage the steak will have developed more sharper pungent flavours radiating bold blue cheese notes. The fat around the steak changes flavour before the rest of the meat does and the meat will have only lost a fraction more of its weight.
At 90 days the steak will have developed a white crust which protects the meat, similarly to the rind of some cheeses. This outer crust will be removed before the meat is sold.
The meat at this stage has extremely intense flavour which some describe as funky. The steak will have lost around 35% of its original weight. Steak aged for this long is only sold at a handful of high-end restaurants due to its high cost and strong unique flavour.
How long does it take to cook dry aged steak?
Depending on your choice of cut and due to the nature of the dry aging process, it is almost always preferred to cut at least 1.5-inch-thick steaks. How to cook the best steak once you are ready to cook your steak, ensure that the meat is dry and fully trimmed of all hard dried out layers as well as any dark areas from the dry aging process.
Your dry aged steak will cook in about half the time compared to a non-dry aged steak, mainly due to the reduced moisture within the muscle of the steak. Also, we have found that electronic and analog thermometers can be unreliable. As with most things delicate, one gets better with practice. It is best to always undercook dry aged steaks and then, if desired, have additional cooking time. You can never un-cook a steak but always have the opportunity to add more cooking time.
It is recommended that a separate fridge is used when dry aging due to the complexity and time needed for the meat aging process, and to reduce the risk of cross-contamination of flavours with other products you normally store in the fridge. To release the flavours of your steak and find out more about our dry age fridges, head over to our dry aging fridges page.
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