Many factors are in play when it comes to cooking steaks. There are certain procedures and methods that you can take to get the best flavor and tenderness out of the steak you eat. Similar to wine and cheese, steak can be aged for better results. In the process of aging beef, enzymes break down the muscle tissues, making the steak more tender and flavorful. There are two different methods of aging steak, dry-aging and wet-aging. Let's take a look at what these two methods entail.
Dry-aging steak is the traditional and at one point was the only method of aging meat. It involves hanging large cuts of meat in a refrigerated and controlled environment, with temperatures ranging from 36° F and freezing, but generally above freezing. If the temperature is too warm the meat will spoil, and if the temperature is too low the meat will simply freeze and not age. The environment should have a humidity above 85% so that there is less water loss when the steak is aging. There should also be constant airflow surrounding the meat because ventilation helps minimize bacteria growth.
Creating the proper environment to dry age steak on your own is extremely difficult with a regular refrigerator for various reasons. When you want to open your refrigerator to access other items, you'll throw off the temperature, and the temperature for dry aging has to be very precise. And it wouldn't be a good idea to store other foods such as fruit and vegetables with raw meat anyways. A steak locker refrigerator is your best option for when you want to dry age meat on your own. But it's best to just buy dry-aged meat from a professional such as a butcher. Thick cuts of steak with more marbling are ideal for dry-aging.
More suitable for thin and lean cuts of meat, wet-aged steaks are primarily how steaks are sold in stores. For wet-aging, meat is vacuum-sealed in plastic and allowed to age for 4-10 days. The duration of the wet-aging tends to be the time from when the vacuum-sealed meat is shipped from the butcher to stores and/or when the meat is stored on store shelves. Wet-aged meat may not have as much flavor as if it were dry-aged, but it's much more convenient. The vacuum-sealing of wet-aged steak also locks in moisture, so it will be a lot less dehydrated than dry-aged steak.
Grills We Recommend
Providing restaurant quality performance, this Lynx grill is equipped with their patented ProSear Infrared burner. The fully variable burner can go from 300 to 1000° F in a matter of minutes, allowing you to quickly grill your steak. To ensure that there's even heat while grilling your steak, this built-in grill uses ceramic radiant briquettes that are consistent in even heat than charcoal briquettes.
Seal in the flavorful juices of your steak with this grill's Sizzle Zone side burner that creates a caramelized crust around the steak. Your steak will also have unique sear marks with Napolean's Iconic Wave cooking grids, which are rust-resistant and provide even heat.
This freestanding grill is built with premium grade 304 stainless steel throughout the entire appliance, delivering durability and great heat conduction for even cooking of your steak. The integrated wind guard ensures that wind gusts won't interfere when your steaks are cooking.
Whether you want dry-aged or wet-aged steak completely depends on your preference. Regardless which option you choose, you now know what's the difference between the two and how either one can improve your steak's flavor and tenderness. Just make sure to not age your steaks too long and follow instructions carefully if you're going to age steaks yourself. Either of these methods will help your steaks be ready for grilling. Enjoy your steaks and have a good time.
What is the longest you can dry-age a steak?
The maximum amount of days you should keep a steak dry-aged is 30 days.
Does wet-aged steak smell?
Yes there should be a strong smell, but that is a good sign as that means it has been wet aged well.