When I was little, my mother would swear when she got upset, and I don’t mean “Gosh darn,” or “Oh Sugar.”
Her swear of choice was “Goddammit!”
She bellowed it fabulously.
It was usually the answer to any request or question.
“Mom, can I get a new pair of sandals for summer?”
“Goddammit! What happened to those jellies that I bought you last month?”
“Mom, my brother, is hitting me.”
“Goddammit! Stop it now!”
“Mom, can we go to Chuck E. Cheese?”
“Goddammit! I don’t see a money tree in our backyard, do you? Goddammit!”
My mother was very excitable. She had her reasons mainly in the form of my Dad driving her crazy, but you learned how to roll with it quickly. Survival of the quick-witted, baby. If you wanted to escape, you went outside and played in the backyard until you had to come inside for dinner.
I, on the other hand, tend to use “Goddammit!” As an exclamation.
I remember when Mr. W&D and I were dating early on, one weekend, I took over his fridge to cook “meet the family” dinner.
I prepped my prime rib in my “not-dry-aging” technique.
He opened his fridge and saw a glorious 9 lbs hunk of prime rib perched on a wire rack in a copper pan completely open to the elements without an ounce of plastic wrap covering it.
I was watching him take it in.
He jumped back as if bitten by one of Joe Exotic’s pet tigers.
“Alexandra, WHAT is going on in there?! Why is the meat exposed?”
I smiled and said, “Because goddammit, that’s going to be the best homemade prime rib you’ve ever tasted in your life.”
I don’t usually direct my swears or blaspheme at any person in particular.
But I couldn’t resist, “Goddammit, that’s how you make a steak proper!”
He just stared—poor soul.
Sometimes I wonder if he’s genuinely assessed what he’s gotten himself into.
Oh, well too late now, my friend. You put a ring on it.
How to Faux Dry Age Steak Home…Kinda
Back to the steak…
If it isn’t prepared like this at home, I’m not having it.
I’ll make an exception when we go to restaurants.
But at home, the steak must be prepared this way.
It’s my “faux” (said with air bunnies) dry-aging steak at-home technique.
I’m not embarrassed to tell you I didn’t come up with the technique, my brother did. But I perfected it.
Now, before you get nervous about handling meat at home, I have to tell you it’s going to be okay.
I’ve gotten threats from friends and family that the meat and their bellies were going to be ruined, and that’s simply not true!
I’m also not talking about dry-aging steak for 60 days. I’ll leave that to the pros. What I am doing with my particular not-dry-aging technique is just amping up or intensifying the flavor.
You’ll be fine.
You can’t mess this up.
This process works on any type of proper cut of steak.
But it’s particularly brilliant for the following cuts of beef:
- Ribeye steak (bone-in or boneless), aka Delmonico, Cowboy, Spencer, or Scotch filet. Ribeye is the preferred steak of choice at Maison de Wine & Drama
- Prime Rib roast
- Flat iron steak
- New York strip
- Top Sirloin steak
It doesn’t matter if your steak is grain-fed or grass-fed. I happen to like grass-fed, so that’s what I buy.
I don’t use it for tenderloin or filet mignon or Châteaubriand if you’re fancy and French.
Because those are the most expensive cuts and they are the leanest. You need some fat to make the “faux” dry aging technique work. When cooking a tenderloin, simply tie it around the edge with butcher’s twine, so you retain the round shape, season with salt, sear on all sides and then finish in a low oven for a few minutes, let rest, and you’re done.
And I will not use this technique on a skirt or flank steak.
With these types of steak, you want to beat them with a rolling pin for a few minutes to get out your daily aggressions, and then lovingly soak them in a liquid marinade for 24-48 hours to tenderize the lean fibers, so it becomes tender and juicy.
Discover the Technique: “Faux” Dry-Aging a Steak at Home
Now here’s the thing, you’ll want space in your fridge to do this. If you can keep your steak in a drawer or shelve by itself without touching any other food, do it. You also want airflow.
Don’t store your cupcakes or coleslaw near your steaks. If you have stinky food, make sure it’s out of your fridge before attempting this process. I’m serious.
I usually wipe down the fridge surface first just to be safe. If you have a spare fridge even better. Put it in there.
- One cookie sheet pan or half sheet pan
- One wire rack
- Paper towels
- Your steak of choice
Place a layer of paper towels on your sheet pan to catch any drippage. Make sure there’s space between your rack and the cookie sheet for airflow.
Set your meat on the rack and loosely cover with a paper towel if that makes you feel better. I don’t. I place mine towards the back of my fridge.
Your fridge should be set below 40f and above 29f, mine is set to 38f. Anything above that will cause your meat to spoil and not to mention your food too. If you’re worried about the temp setting in your fridge, then invest in a small fridge thermometer. They can be found for under 15 bucks.
Also, make sure your fridge won’t be opened 50 times a day by children or partners.
Now let me be clear this is NOT proper dry aging for that we’d need at least 15 days for enzymes to do their thing.
What we’re doing is gentle. We’re just intensifying the flavor of the meat.
My brother’s original method was wrapping the steaks in good quality paper towels and changing them daily.
I’m too lazy for that.
Just place your steaks on your wire rack with paper towels under the rack and on a cookie sheet—place in the coldest part of your fridge.
Flip your steaks over at least once a day and change your paper towels every other day at the same time for 3-5 days.
My usual is three days for individual steaks or five days for a rib roast.
My other rule is to let your meat come to room temperature before you cook it.
I don’t understand why people cook a cold steak? That’s not going to work.
Don’t be afraid. Bacteria is not going to grow on it, because you let your steak come up to room temperature.
That means if you have a prime rib roast that serves 5 you’re going to take that bad boy out of the fridge at 7 am and stick it in the oven at 3 pm.
You need your meat room temperature first in order to cook it to your proper doneness, get it? If you want it medium rare and your meat is ice cold, how are you going to do that?
You want your meat to cook evenly from edge to center. If it’s room temp, then your meat is going to brown better because you’re not fighting to try to warm it up.
If you have two ribeyes, take them out one hour before you’re ready to cook them, and they’ll be fine.
Now let’s talk about seasoning.
You could get fancy and buy steak seasoning, but why?
I only use salt. That’s right when you’ve got a prime cut of meat; you don’t want anything else mucking up the flavor.
I season my beef just before cooking with Maldon salt. It’s chunky and gives a bit of crunch. I like the taste of it better than regular Kosher salt.
Salt your meat when you take it out of the fridge. Rub and press the salt firmly into your steak.
You can make a compound butter or delightful chimichurri sauce when you’re done. But for the love of all that is beefy deliciousness don’t screw up your meat with other nonsense.
What you get with this process is a denser, more flavorful piece of steak. You’ve just given the moisture a chance to disappear.
When it comes to cooking steak, I choose a grill or a cast iron pan, that’s it. Cooking is another blog post. I’ll write about that soon.
Now for the fun part….What are the best wine pairings for steak?
Have a juicy one.