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November 19, 2015 at 8:38 am #2381
Greetings from the Southern tip of New Zealand.
New to using the UMAI bags and concern my first attempt has failed. Would appreciate advice whether to persist or bin it.
My first attempt at dry aging is a 5.6kg (12lb) beef rump (US Sirloin).
Got an OK seal and put in an older fridge in my garage. (~20 year old? and unsure if it is frost free). Was opening the fridge three times a day to keep the air circulating.
A week or so in I cut off a corner of the bag and resealed with a better result.
Stored on wire rack and with fat up.
It has roughly lost 12.5% in weight in 3 1/2 weeks. This very rough as the original weight included cry-vac bag and some blood that was drained off.
Temperature control has been all over the place. Firstly I wound down the temp to coldest setting and the outside of the rump was frozen. Then went to the other extreme where it was probably 7degC (45degF) or higher. Then down again. Have recently got a reliable thermometer and now have it sitting roughly at 3-4degC (37-39degF).
What is messing me up is some days the meat feels really solid/frozen then other days more pliable even soft.
My fridge has an internal panel (assuming the cooling panel) that often has frozen ice drips on it. The bag has never had ice crystals on it and doesn’t feel damp.
Is it likely my fridge is not frost free and hence the dry bag system is not going work?
Is the rump likely not safe to consume and should be thrown out?
Should the bark on the outside be solid (hard solid plastic) or leathery/rubbery?
Should I just gauge if it is successful by smell at 30 days?
Have other UMAI bags and was going to try prosciutto and salamis but not starting until I have more confidence that my refrigeration is sorted.
Would appreciate any advice.
OllyNovember 19, 2015 at 3:45 pm #9668DennisMember
I’m new to using UMAI and making salami for the first time, the whole process has been terrific,and I’m not qualified to answer your question, but there are great people here willing to help.
From the things I have read is 1. Don’t use a fridge in the garage due the the temp extremes, if it’s cold outside the fridge acts like a cooler and doesn’t cycle.
2. Unless you have made a curing chamber with temp and humidity controls, the the refrigerator should be a modern frost free.
Hope I’m not giving you any wrong information, and hope someone corrects me. The last thing I want to is make anyone sick.
Good luckNovember 19, 2015 at 5:08 pm #9669TheaKeymaster
First of all, thank you for the fearlessly thorough, honest description of your process. You are certainly very persistent and creative in trying to make this work with the fridge you’ve got. It is safe to say this is NOT an appropriate environment for dry aging or dry curing the precious meat you are aging in UMAi Dry®.
There are two simple rules for UMAi Dry®-appropriate refrigerator choice:
1) The temp must remain consistently between 1-4C (34-38F), or safe for holding milk for 7-10 days.
2) The freezer attached to the fridge (not sure whether you indicated your appliance has a freezer or not), must remain frost free.
A third (often surprising) guideline is that the fridge should be regularly opened and closed. We have designed the UMAi Dry® application to be best suited to everyone’s kitchen fridge. This is VERY different advice to most dry aging advice (i.e. “commando”) or curing chambers.
Onto you REAL question: Is this meat safe? Obviously, we cannot see or smell the results, so we can only offer there guidelines.
Is the color fairly evenly mahogany brown (not grey or bluish tint)? Is the texture of the ‘bark’ more or less firm all the way around the piece (‘hard, solid plastic,’ as you have described it)?
The TRUE TEST of whether you process has failed or not is the sniff test. As the meat scientists tell us time after time, “The nose knows.” If you sniff the surface of the meat through the UMAi Dry® and detect a ‘pleasant, forest-y, funky’ aroma, you are probably good to remove the UMAi Dry®, trim the ‘bark,’ cut into steaks and cook as appropriate for a steak.
If, however, you smell what strikes you as ‘rotten flesh,’ trust your instincts and do not plan to eat. We would suggest going ahead and “unwrapping” the meat to as to study the color and texture of both bark and inner meat. We would certainly like to learn from your experience–freezing and thawing and overheating the meat such as your refrigerator has done during this dry aging process.
Before you go on to another project, make sure you have some space in a modern, frost free fridge. Using stackable racks can make it easier to use your kitchen fridge.
Hope this helps!!
MaureenNovember 20, 2015 at 6:36 am #9680
Thanks for your really quick replies and good advice.
Sounds like the fridge is the issue. It is a fridge with no freezer. Might relegate it for cheese making and drying meats before smoking. Will have to start negotiations for space our kitchen fridge though not optimistic.
Did the sniff test as suggested through the bag. Didn’t smell rotten. Did have a smell but hard to describe.
Might wait for day 30 then open it up and do the final sniff test.
Visual observations. The fat is forming cracks in places and is cream, beige and pink. Flesh is dark mahogany all over and rubbery (can push finger into it a small way). Some places where flesh is pink but this might be fat or freezer burn.
Will report back. (Will try to work out how to attach photos).
OllyNovember 20, 2015 at 7:27 am #9681November 20, 2015 at 7:31 am #9682November 20, 2015 at 7:33 am #9683November 20, 2015 at 7:40 am #9684
The infamous fridge.
Had to show off my wine barrel smoker which I have just added an external gas burner as a heat source. Aluminium lamp shade, 3″ stainless down pipes and a two ring gas burner (not shown).December 5, 2015 at 8:04 am #9769
Opened the Umai bag on day 30. Reasonable bond. The outside meat had a rubbery texture. The smell was OK. Removed the out side and discovered the meat was practically frozen solid. Sliced it up, vaccum packed and froze. Think the meat spent the majority of time during the 30 days frozen.
The learnings. Use a frost free fridge freezer. Must have an accurate thermostat. (Having doubts how accurate my main kitchen fridge temperature control is as well).
Will source another fridge and try again.
Thanks Baglady for the advice.
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