The Original Dry Bag Steak | Make Artisan Dry Age Steak at Home › Forums › Welcome New Users! › Welcome to the Forum! › Newbie intro and first drybag experience
- This topic has 9 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 10 years, 7 months ago by Anonymous.
January 28, 2011 at 7:42 pm #1200
New to the forum and new to drybags. I accidentally stumbled across the video on Youtube around Christmas time while looking at some other video of a cooking technique. For a special treat I had just paid $50 a piece for dry aged steaks from the butcher at a highend steak place here in Tampa at the Hard Rock Casino. At the butcher counter you can see their aging room and watch them carve the steaks and they look just like the pics of meat coming out of the drybag, so I knew I had to try them.
I also have some advantages in equipment. I am a very avid homebrewer and amateur cheesemaker, so I have a large workshop with multiple temperature controlled refrigeration devices. The pic below shows the setup I’m using now with the steak. It’s a large dorm-type fridge with a digital temp controller that I keep set at a range of 35-37 degrees. You can see the temp controller hanging off to the left. I saw posts here that some people had trouble using dorm-type fridges. Mine seems to be fine but I think the temp controller is the key.
The meat is a strip loin and it’s got just shy of two weeks aging. It’s got the beautiful brown and deep red colors and the bag seems to be sticking and holding nicely. The first steaks are getting grilled on Superbowl Sunday (which will be exactly three weeks) and will be shared with the same folks I had the $50 steaks with – can’t wait.
The big issue as a new user is of course with the vacuum process. I have a Rival Seal-a-Meal sealer that I use with cheeses. It has a snorkel but it is not retractable. I first tried using this machine and utilizing the techniques described here with inserting a small piece of channel bag along with the paper clips. It did a pretty good job, and the bag was moderately tight with not too many air pockets. However, this being my first time I bailed on that and took the bag and meat to my local homebrew supply store where they have a commercial-grade chamber sealer they use for hops. Using this I would say the bag was about 15-20% tighter than I had achieved with my home machine, but even with that it was still not super tight and still had a few small air pockets. I think the next time I’ll be brave and use my machine again and see how it goes. From my limited experience it seems to me one of the keys is making sure you have lots of blood and goey stuff covering the meat. Even if the vac only pulls it lightly tight that protein must help greatly in forming the bond.
(I hope the picture works – when I try “preview” I get nothing but a blank screen)January 28, 2011 at 9:46 pm #4371Ron PrattMember
Welcome aboard!!! It’s always great to hear someone who already appreciates dry aged beef but is sick and tired of paying through the nose for it! $50 a pound is really hurts! As for getting a good seal I really recommend practice. I must have sealed my first bag 6 or 7 times to get the hang of it, rather than waste bag after bag. Have you read about the panty hose trick for helping you extract air when sealing. It’s like having 8 more hands helping you! :laugh:February 9, 2011 at 3:33 pm #4428
My refrigerators cold setting sucks is there a way to hook something to it so it will stay at agood temp cause it fluctuatesFebruary 9, 2011 at 3:58 pm #4429
An external temperature controller like the one I have pictured would probably do a much better job at maintaining temperature than the internal unit installed on the fridge. It is fully adjustable with range and will allow adjustment down to + or – 1 degree at the probe by toggling the power on and off as needed.
They run about $50. I recommend the one made by Ranco. If you google “ranco temperature controller” you get all kinds of information and places they can be ordered.February 9, 2011 at 4:00 pm #4430
What do you do take the temp control apart in you refrigerator and wire that inFebruary 9, 2011 at 7:08 pm #4431
No, you don’t have to mess with the refrigerator thermostat at all. The unit is self contained and hanging on the wall to the left in the picture.
A male cord runs from the controller to the wall outlet, and a you plug the refrigerator’s male plug into a female outlet on the controller. So the controller is sitting in the middle of your electrical connectivity where it can toogle on and off.
Then there is a temperature probe that runs from the controller into the fridge (You can see the probe in the photo sitting on the meat). Then you set the controller for whatever temperature you want and set the sensitivity and it will then toggle the fridge on and off as needed to maintain that temperature range.
For my drybag steak I set the temp to 36 degrees and the range as two degrees, so it turns the fridge on when temperature rises above 38 and off when it hits 34. Worked like a charm.February 10, 2011 at 2:02 am #4435February 10, 2011 at 5:17 pm #4439AnonymousGuest
I think there is one more thing if you are using a separate controller to cycle the frig on and off. The temperature setting of the refrigerator itself needs to be set lower than the external controller. that way, every time the controller tells the frig to turn on it will turn on the compressor. Otherwise the internal temp setting may think it is already too cold and not turn on the compressor.February 10, 2011 at 6:16 pm #4441
The one I got says to tue your refrigerator all the way up…..it seems to be workingFebruary 10, 2011 at 6:44 pm #4442AnonymousGuest
Yes, all the way up would be to set the refrigerator thermostat for max cold and then the external controller will do the rest.
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