FAQs for Dry Aging Meats at Home with UMAi Dry®
What Does UMAi Mean and Where Does It Come From?
The word UMAMI is now an English word which originated in Japan and was invented by the Japanese fermentation company Ajinomoto to market Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). MSG is a seasoning that imparts a savory flavor to foods.
The definition of Umami is a derivative of the Japanese word UMAI which can mean both skillful and delicious and applies primarily to food preparation.
Learn more about UMAi and the term “Umami” here.
Recommend Cuts for Dry Aging
What Cuts Do You Recommend Dry Aging?
In general, dry aging is done with the following subprimal cuts: strip loin (New York Strip), boneless ribeye (ribeye) and top butt (sirloin). These are steak cuts that age well and improve significantly in flavor and texture with dry aging. We recommend strongly against aging tenderloin for the traditional 14, 21, or 28 days, rather ONLY 4-5 days is suitable, sufficient and the most non-wasteful way to improve upon so valuable a cut of meat. You can age other cuts to deepen their flavor, but we have not found that other cuts improve in texture significantly with dry aging.
One more important factor is the fat content of your meat. It is best to procure a subprimal that has a good fat cap or a lovely ribbon of fat in the “eye” as this aging fat is what imparts the umami, that indescribable particular flavor/aroma to dry aged meat.
Creating the meat-to-bag bond
How Can I Ensure the Best Possible Seal and Bond Between the Beef and the UMAi Dry® Material?
It is very important that the entire surface of your strip loin, rib eye, or top butt/sirloin be coated with the thick, sticky proteins, just like when it is first removed from the vacuum packing in which your beef supplier received it. Do not rinse, wash or dry the surface of the beef. If your beef is wiped dry, you will have less successful sealing and bonding of UMAi Dry® material. Furthermore, you may introduce contaminants or bacteria with such a “cleaning” process. When possible, purchase your strip loin or rib eye in the vacuum packaging.
What Are the Temperature Requirements for Dry Aging with UMAi Dry® Technology?
Dry age at temperature between 34-38° F. Typical household refrigerators and restaurant coolers are designed to protect food items like fruits, vegetables, fish and meats from spoilage without freezing them. Please make sure that your refrigerator maintains temperature between 34-38° F to ensure proper aging and prevent spoilage. Ensure that the UMAi Dry® material is in contact with the beef and there are no air pockets inside the bag.
What Kind of Sealer Can I Use?
UMAi Dry® is easiest sealed with a simple, manual lid-and-latch type vacuum sealer. The UMAi Dry Artisan Meat Kit includes an UMAi Dry-branded model that is compact and well suited to the job of sealing up a couple of pieces of meat to dry age or dry cure. Remember, you are not truly vacuum sealing with UMAi Dry.
We also offer a manual horizontal FoodSaver model in our Home Meat Crafting Kits. Similar lidded or horizontal FoodSaver or other channel-type vacuum sealer models are similarly easy and reliable to use.
Regarding automated vertical FoodSaver 3400, 3800 and 4800 model sealers, please be aware that their highly automated functionality can make it difficult-to-impossible to trick into sealing UMAi Dry with VacMouse®. If you own a vertical-type sealer, watch this video to try to seal UMAi Dry.
Chamber vacuum sealers, some heavy-duty channel models (like Weston and Vacmaster) and retractable snorkel sealers can also be used, but may require some adjustment or practice to develop successful techniques for UMAi Dry application. Any model that draws down the lid to engage the vacuum may cut off air flow through the VacMouse vacuum aid strip.
For easiest application of UMAi Dry, we recommend a simple sealer such as above.
Check out our Instructional Videos for demonstrations of the various models available.
Sealing UMAi Dry
How Do I Prepare for the Best Seal?
UMAi Dry® works like a membrane. It will bond with the moist proteins on the surface of the meat. Do not clean or dry the surface before applying UMAi Dry®.
When you seal UMAi Dry® material, it is important to take special care to get and keep a perfect seal. Make sure that there is no significant beef residue or blood on the surface of the inside of the area to be sealed. It may help to fold out the opening of the bag when you put the beef in. After inserting the beef, trim the remainder of the bag to within about four inches of the beef. Watch this video on YouTube
Protecting the Seal
How Do I Protect the Seal?
Once you have drawn the vacuum and sealed the bag, do not pull on the plastic, hold the steak by the plastic or tug on the sealed steak. Gently place the sealed beef to be aged on a wire rack resting an in area of your refrigerator or cooler where there is excellent air circulation 360 degrees with nothing touching the sealed beef. Allow the steak to rest two or three days and you will notice that the UMAi Dry® material will become like a second skin on the surface of the steak. Make sure that the UMAi Dry® material is not pulled away from the surface and air pockets are not formed inside.
Lost Vacuum Seal
What If I Notice That the Vacuum Has Been Lost?
UMAi Dry® is not a vacuum bag, and is significantly more oxygen permeable. Ensure that you have the meat resting meat side down, fat cap up on the open wire rack. If you have not achieved a perfect vacuum, particularly if you have some small amount of air in the corners of the bag or in the divots when the bones have been cut from a ribeye, for instance, never fear. You will have good, consistent dry aging results with only 70 to 80% of the meat surface bonded.
However, if you notice within the first day or two that more than 25 to 30% of the meat has not maintained contact with the UMAi Dry® material, you should repeat the application with the vacuum sealer, ensuring the surface of the meat is moist to achieve the bond.
Aging Tenderloin: Pros and Cons
What Are the Pros and Cons of Aging Tenderloin?
When you dry age meat a couple of things happen — the enzymatic activity softens the texture and the moisture loss deepens the flavor. In the case of a tenderloin, because the texture is already tender (thus the name) aging does not improve the texture. In fact, it can make the texture too soft or mealy. Furthermore, since the tenderloin has a large surface area, you will have cut off the entire outer surface. This is a tremendous trim loss on a particularly expensive and precious cut of beef.
It is especially important that you do not try to cover the meat with fat and age because there will be no surface air for the moisture exchange and the meat will simply rot. That has been our experience.
The flavor of the tenderloin can be improved with aging for only a few days before the surface darkens and hardens. This way you deepen the beefy flavor without the trim loss and risk of damaging the texture.
UMAi Dry® now offers a special Tenderloin Kit for this purpose.
How Does My Order Qualify For Free Shipping?
From time to time, UMAi Dry® will run Free Shipping promiotions to limited countries. As long as your cart total is equal or or higher than the promotional Free Shipping value (before tax and shipping), and your shipping address is located in the Free Shipping area, your order will automatically ship for free.
How Do You Ship?
U.S. Domestic Shipping: USPS Priority 2-4 days or FedEx Ground 5-7 days.
International Shipping: U.S. Postal Service First Class 15-30 days, Priority 10-21 days or DHL 3-12 days.
What Are the Return & Warranty Policies?
Returns and Warranties
UMAi Dry® offers a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, as long as the item is returned within 30 days from the date the item is received. Items must be returned unopened in the original packaging and order invoice. The purchase price will be refunded for orders placed through www.umaidry.com.
The customer is responsible for all shipping costs related to returning the item back to UMAi Dry®. We recommend that customers use traceable services when returning items. We are not responsible for packages lost by the shipping carrier used to return the item.
The 30-day money back guarantee only apply to purchases made from www.umaidry.com. If you purchased your UMAi Dry® product from a different retailer, please adhere to their own return policies.
Sealer returns will require a 15% restocking charge which will be deducted from the purchase price.
Returned Starter Cultures will require a $10 charge which will be deducted from the purchase price.
Note: Only UMAi Dry® products purchased directly from UMAi Dry on either UMAiDry.com or DryBagSteak.com may be returned to us. If you purchased an UMAi Dry® product at another retailer, please handle your returns with them.
Mail your UMAi Dry® product along with a copy of your order receipt to: UMAi Dry®, 7600 27th Street West, Commons Suite B2, Minneapolis, MN 55426
Once we receive your items in the mail we will process your request. Please allow 7 business days for your refund to be processed once we have received your item in the mail.
What If I Have a Question Not Covered In the FAQ?
Please visit the UMAi Dry® Help Center for more insight.