The Original Dry Bag Steak | Make Artisan Dry Age Steak at Home › Forums › Dry Aging Steak › General Dry Aging Steak Questions › Choosing a different kind of refrigeration system
October 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm #1294
I started a NY Strip Loin about a week ago. All I see is a light colored crust over most of the loin. The bag seems about tight as when I first sealed it. I’m using a Perlick beer cooler originally designed to hold three sixteen gallon kegs to do the aging. The cooler is over 60 years old. It has two fans that continuously draw air over the evaporator which results in lots of air flow and uniform temperatures throughout the unit. Moisture condenses on the evaporator and falls onto a drip pan which leads to a drain. I suspect that this will result in a fairly high relative humidity compared to a regular frost free refrigerator. My guess is if a converted freezer works for this application my keg box should be a winner. Does anyone out there have any ideas about whether this system will work? What is the recommended relative humidity range for proper drybag performance?October 21, 2011 at 8:22 pm #4997CharlieMember
I also started a ny strip last Saturday. I have an extra fridge in the garage that I keep beer and drinks in with frozen treats in the top box. I get drinks out and put others in all day long and keep it fully stocked to keep a steady 34 degrees. Since I and others open the doors every few hours that kicks on the compressor and fan. Also I have two battery operated fans that move air all the time. This seams to be a great setup for me but am waiting for my first 45 day cuts. All looks good. I think humidity will hinder your dry aging in the dry bag. I think you should put your investment in your kitchen fridge.October 21, 2011 at 9:11 pm #4998Ron PrattMember
AJP – it does sound like your unit is prone to high humidity by its very design. Dry aging of course involves the removal of the moisture in the meat so a higher humidity level will just make it longer to dry. Back when I just started out I purchased an inexpensive hygrometer which permitted tracking of the highest and lowest level of humidity during the period you have it turned on. I then would record each 24 hour period or thereabouts. What I found was my kitchen refrig was all over the place! Subsequently I concluded it wasn’t worth bothering nor fretting over the swings! OTOH if you do want to check your unit I recommend this $39 unit from Thermoworks is pretty slick!
RonOctober 21, 2011 at 9:45 pm #4999
I ordered the unit from Thermoworks. I have been impressed with the thermapen.
It will be interesting to see what the numbers are. That beer box has been sitting in my basement for 33 years and idle most of the time. When in operation it was the source of many a good brew. It’s amazing it still works. It seem to be purring right along.
AlOctober 22, 2011 at 12:28 am #5000CharlieMember
AJP, if you load the beer cooler up the unit will maintain a more consistent temp and you will also have a lower humidity. Every time you open the door to the cooler you let in warm air and humidity. And when you shut the door all that warm air and humidity you let in has to be ejected. The more air space the cooler has the more cooling required to remove heat and humidity. More air space=more cooling required=higher electric bill=lighter wallet. If you had less space in your cooler you will see a more stable temp and there will be less humidity to deal with. Fill it with cans or gallons of milk or water bottles or whatever. Also I recently plugged in an old coke machine I have had from 1970 and it cost me $80.00 to operate one month. Old compressors are not efficient at all and I will be changing out the compressor and condenser this winter. I was surprised when I got my electric bill so you might want to check your amp draw on that old cooler.
CharlieOctober 22, 2011 at 11:19 am #5001
Thanks for the comments Clam Digger. I put an amp probe on the unit years ago. It draws 7 amps and runs 50% of the time with one 8 gallon keg inside. Years ago I built empty styrofoam boxes out of 4×8 panels to take up the unused space.
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