The Original Dry Bag Steak | Make Artisan Dry Age Steak at Home › Forums › Dry Aging Steak › General Dry Aging Steak Questions › Choosing a refrigerator
April 20, 2011 at 1:32 pm #1238
It’s become abundently clear to my wife and I that the Drybag system works and we WILL be ageing our beef on a pretty regular basis :cheer:
However my wife isn’t thrilled with always giving up a whole shelf to accomodate my roasts that are being aged. So it’s time to get a second refrigerator.
Space is limited and a standard full size fridge wouldn’t be my first choice. I’ve heard that the smaller dorm size refrigerators do not hold a steady temp and don’t have the best air circulation. (is this true?) While I’ve read of some folks modifying the smaller refrerators with muffin fans and remote thermometers, I’d prefer not to do that.
My question is what should I be looking for when choosing a refrigerator? The smaller “dorm” 3.3 cubic foot one would be great for space and size, but as I mentioned, I;ve heard these are not good.
Would a 11.cubic foot one be ok? Is there a certain compressor size or cubic foot rule of thumb I could go by?
What should I be considering when choosing a fridge?
I’d like to get the smallest refrigerator possible. Typically I’d only be doing one sub primal at a time. Also price is a consideration. i’d like to keep it under $500. So a cheapy, no frills unit from the scratch and dent outlet would fit the bill nicely but I am concerned if these smaller, lower end units will be ok.
Any tips?April 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm #4717Ron PrattMember
Glad to hear you are happy with the results of aging meat the DrybagSteak way!
I understand your wife’s reluctance of the space give up as I too plan my aging periods so that they don’t interfere with holidays when I know space will be tight for cold storage of make aheads. As for a dedicated refrig for just aging one sub-primal at a time then to me your best bet is to seek out a reputable appliance dealer who does some volume for a used model which they have hauled off. Let them know what you are looking for and I bet you’ll find one on the cheap. A basic model with no ice maker should serve your needs and yet come in handy during those times of year when having a second refrig will come in handy. Also if you live in a larger city you might just score one through the want ads.
Let us know what you end up doing!
RonApril 20, 2011 at 5:32 pm #4718Mark S. NixonMember
Hi Andy. I went to my online Consumers Reports for you and these are the 3 top models in the “Tall Compact” ratings.
1.) Frigidaire FRC05L5D(B) $150
2.) Haier HNSE05(B) $150
3.) GE Spacemaker GMR04AAM(BB) $160
The Haier had the best refrigerator performance at “very good.” All three units have capacities of 4.3 to 4.6 cubic feet. If you would like more details, please let me know.
They are slightly taller and perform somwhat better than the cube or dorm size fridges.
Hope this helps,
MarkApril 20, 2011 at 5:42 pm #4719
One that size would be perfect for space and $, but I was under the impression the temperature was steady, and the air circualtion wasn’t good.
Is anyone using a 4.3 or similliar sized refreigerator with the Drybags
Am I mistaken that a smaller refrigerator is’n’t acceptable?April 20, 2011 at 5:59 pm #4720Mark S. NixonMember
Andy, I’m a noob here too, so don’t mistakingly perceive the information I provided as a recommendation, just trying to help you with what you were looking for. For the record, here is the criteria that Consumers uses to rate fridge performance. Note that it does NOT include air circulation.
Refrigerator performance combines several tests, including the ability to achieve and maintain a desired temperature, temperature uniformity inside, the ability to compensate for variations in ambient temperature, and reserve capacity under extreme conditions.”
If others here have experience with compacts and don’t recommend them, then please, by all means, heed their advice.
MarkApril 20, 2011 at 6:11 pm #4721
I hear you Mark. I too have a CR online account. Never thought to check that. :blink:
From CR it looks like the Haier HNSE05[B] scored the best for refrigeration.
It would be great to hear from someone who has actually used a compact refrigerator with the Drybag system. I don’t want to be the $200 guinea pig and I don’t want to waste a $100 hunk of beef finding out it doesn’t work. :unsure:
I already have a Magic Chef glass door beverage fridge that wont go below 45. I don’t need another one.
Anyone use a compact fridge? anyone? Bueller?April 20, 2011 at 6:59 pm #4722Ron PrattMember
Here is a quote from Thea herself made 9 months ago:
Most critical to creating an optimal dry aging environment is a frost free refrigerator with excellent air flow and placing your DrybagSteak bonded piece of meat on an open rack in a location in the fridge where it will have the very best flow of air around the entire surface, top, bottom, sides. The biggest problems actually come when folks use the old beer fridge or the dorm fridge because they simply do not have good air flow. Also, ironically enough, the family fridge that gets opened and closed may create a “better” environment because it is always triggering the fan and refrigeration, cooling and circulating the air more frequently. You will have good results with good air flow and proper storage temperatures for perishables–32 to 36 degrees. No additional equipment or fuss is really necessary. Honest
There have been some other older threads also on this subject so you might want to scan them for advice. One starts here:
RonMay 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm #4740MarkMember
I have used a large dorm-style refrigerator with an external temp controller with no problems. See further description and pictures at this post: http://www.drybagsteak.com/forum/2-welcome-to-the-forum/644-newbie-intro-and-first-drybag-experienceMay 12, 2011 at 5:01 pm #4741
In another forum a poster who also does home brew also recomended the Ranco unit.
Did you have to drill through the refrigerator to install the probe, or did you simply put it in and close the door over the lead wire?May 12, 2011 at 5:05 pm #4742MarkMember
No need to drill a hole, the probe wire is very thin and the door just seals right over it.May 31, 2011 at 3:54 pm #4762
I spent the last few weeks looking around at all the different fridges and finally decided that due to space restrictions a smaller dorm sized/under the counter sized refrigerator would be the best option for me. I would have liked to have purchased a full sized unit, but it would have taken up too much space.
I ordered a 5.5 cubic foot Summit FF6X fridge. I liked the fact that it was one of the wider fridges for it’s size. The interior width is 19″ – a bit more than the others. I also like that it has wire shelves (better for air flow/circualtion than solid glass shelves) I also like that the Summit is all refrigerator. It doesn’t have the typical small freezer section that I wouldn’t have used and only taken up space. Of the few reviews I found they were all positive.
I also ordered the Ranco ETC unit. I’m not sure if this model would need it, but decided to err on the side of caution and pick one up.
Once the frige arrives I plan on doing ageing a NY strip primal. I’ll let you all know how the new set up works out.
Thanks for everyone’s help!
:cheer:June 9, 2011 at 5:51 pm #4775Jim ButlerMember
I actually got a heck of a deal on a used “Gladiator” garage fridge/freezer. I think it will work very well for dry aging. The large bottom compartment is a freezer, but the smaller top can be either freezer or fridge. The temp is controlled by adjusting the size of the opening from the chiller unit fan that blows cold air into the compartment.
I bought it used on Craigslist, but there are tons of cheap fridges on there all the time. And for a fan, I’d put a small box fan inside a regular fridge. The door won’t have any issue sealing over the power cord, and you’d have excellent airflow all the time.
JimJune 13, 2011 at 12:25 pm #4780
The summit refrigerator was delivered last week and fits the bill nicely. It’s a good size for a compact refrigerator I can easly place 2, maybe 3 good size roasts inside.
They sent me a unit with glass shelves which sounds nice, but i prefered the wire rack shelves for better air flow. I’ve contacted Summit and they will be shipping me out a set of wire rack shelves.
I wired up the Ranco unit and that’s doing’t it’s job like a champ. I set the unit for 37 degress +- 2 degrees and watched it for a few days now. It’s been dead on the money.
I have the probe wire running between the door and fridge. I noticed some condensation around where the wire compresses against the door seal so I think I will be drilling a hole through the side of the refrigerator. I’ve got a call into summit to have them confirm what would be the best place to drill a hole.
Saturday I picked up a 13.5 lb Prime NY strip roast at my butcher and plan to take that at least 32 days.
Yesterday at the wharehouse wholesale club I picked up a 16 lb rib eye roast and have that in the fridge as well.
It’s great to have a dedicated fridge for this and haveing the ability to rotate in my steaks!December 2, 2012 at 12:08 am #6423sakibMember
Here’s a great site that helped me pick my new refrigerator:October 14, 2019 at 5:44 am #12601pkfridgesMember
I buy fridge for my home from https://fridgesreviews.com/culinair-af100s-1-7-cubic-foot-compact-refrigerator-silver-and-black-2/. But before buying a fridge I consider following things before choosing perfect fridge:
1 First decide budget and what types of refrigerator you need for your home:
2 .Important Refrigerator Features to look for when buying a fridge:
• Door Style
• Door Locks and Alarms
• LED Displays
• Hidden Icemakers
• Electric Temperature Controls
3 .Energy Efficiency: You should check how much energy requires for the refrigerator you are going to buy.
- The forum ‘General Dry Aging Steak Questions’ is closed to new topics and replies.