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March 19, 2013 at 10:24 pm #1569Gary KoMember
I had been using the drybags for about 9 months and I absolutely love it. I figure I had done around 10 subprimals already. Over the weekend I started two Wagyu NY subprimals from Snake River Farms, and I came here to see if there are any time recommendations. Very interesting to see someone else doing it in the “mad scientist” thread! After seeing others post their experience, I figure I will post my own experience as well.
My steak tasting party is now legendary among my circle of friends. So far I have aged prime grade (from Costco) subprimals for 15 / 21 / 28 / 35 / 42 / 49 / 63 days. That’s 7 steaks. Before serving the aged beef, I will start with unaged grain fed and unaged grass fed to set a baseline. So that’s a total of 9 steaks for the tasting party.
I have done about 6 of these parties. The consensus favorite is 28 / 35 days – that seems to be the balance between tenderness and flavor that most people enjoy. I have some friends who love the umai flavor and like the 63 days the best. On the other hand I have friends who enjoy a more traditional “chewy” texture with just a touch of umai, and they like the 15 days. My personal favorite so far are the 42 and 49 days.
“Harvesting” the subrprimals used to take a long time, but now I have got it down. I cut the subprimal down to steaks and trim after because 1) I can cut out more of the fat cap this way, and 2) I have better control in cutting away the rind and preserving the good meat to minimize loss. I cut them down into 3 different sizes: 4 – 5 oz for tasting parties, 9 – 10 oz for personal consumption, and 21 – 24 oz for bone in chops. After trimming the steaks, I vacuum seal them with food saver bags. Then I freeze the steaks with dry ice with the idea that a quick deep freeze will minimize damage to the muscle fibers during the freeze process. Due to the expenses with dry ice, I usually time my harvest so I can do 2 – 3 subprimals at a time.
I cook my steaks sous vide (water bath) at 131F for 1 – 3 hours depending on thickness, then a quick sear for the finishing texture (crust). For the thin tasting size steaks, 30 seconds each side. For the larger ones, 45 seconds to a minute each side. This method had never failed me.
On my new experiment, the Wagyu subprimals. I cut out three unaged Wagyu steaks before bagging the rest for aging. Over the weekend I did a tasting with the unaged Wagyu steak against unaged / 28 / 42 / 49 prime grade NY. The unaged Wagyu was more tender than the prime, but it wasn’t even close to the aged steaks. The Wagyu was less tender than any of the aged steaks, and it also had no umai flavor.
I now have three subprimals in my fridge – a prime NY going for 100 days, a Wagyu NY going for 49 days, and a Wagyu NY going for 100 days. I picked 49 and 100 days for the Wagyu because that’s how long Thomas Keller age them for his French Laundry and Per Se restaurants.
I plan on doing three more over the next month or two – a prime NY for 77 days, and two Wagyu Rib Eyes with time TBD. I am torn between two options – doing them for 49 / 100 days so I can compare the cuts on the same length of aging, or doing them for say 28 / 63 days so I can compare different lengths of aging.March 19, 2013 at 11:10 pm #6838Ron PrattMember
Welcome to the forum, Gary! Sounds like you walk as a veteran amongst us. Thank you for sharing your wealth of experience. Question about aging the Wagyu NY for 49 and 100 days…being as thin as NY loins are I personally have found they dry out too much and the trimming loss (even for me!) means excessive waste. I do find it interesting though regarding your non-plused opinion of unaged Wagyu as I just assumed it would be teeming with taste! Stick around, Gary, and thanks for sharing your knowledge! Ron
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