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March 7, 2014 at 7:19 am #1883Andrew JonesMember
I recently started my first aged project with a 13lb boneless ribeye. Even though I am fully aware of the warnings about not using a garage fridge because of lack of circulation and humidity control it was my only option (in lieu of my wife making me sleep in the doghouse for putting half the contents of our house fridge in the detached garage!). To add insult to injury, it’s been bitterly cold here in the Midwest and the fridge has been hovering right around 32-33 on a good day and I’ve only lost about 1/2lb of weight in two weeks! Truth be told it doesn’t even look like my cut has formed much of a bark yet…
I understand that the temperature is most likely my worst enemy right now, but are there any other things I can do to help the process along? Also, should I be concerned with leaving the cut in the fridge for several weeks to “wait out” the cold snap?
Thanks for the help!
-AndyMarch 7, 2014 at 7:45 am #7933Ron PrattMember
Andy, first of all welcome aboard!
Now let’s see if I can address some of your concerns. I may have to ask some questions first before I can really zero in, but here goes…
When you said garage refrig I understand, but not the connection you made about it. We advise against using those inexpensive little dormitory size refrigerators as those typically don’t have circulation, but an old kitchen refrig now operated in a garage for say beer etc should still be ok, unless you already know it has circulation problems.
Where are you in the Midwest? I’m here in central Illinois and while my aging is done in my kitchen refrig as approved by my understanding wife, I do have a common upright freezer in my unheated garage. We too have had a sever winter and bitter cold, but my freezer has been operating just fine, so I would think your refrig is as well.
Doing the math if your 13 pound boneless has only lost a half pound in 2 weeks that is only a 4% loss and I will admit that sounds low. Is there any chance you can turn up the dial in the refrig? Do you see, feel or sense ice crystals in the meat like it is merely frozen? When you say bark I know the term, but if the meat is frozen then it isn’t losing much moisture and is staying brighter rather than turning reddish brown, but then 2 weeks is pretty short time wise for aging anyway.
As for aging given what you have stated so far my opinion is it will benefit by a longer aging period. What did you have in mind? BTW a 13 pounder can take more time due to its shape and personally I let my rib eyes age for at least 45 days, though 60 days makes them better.
One last thing…I sense that SWMBO isn’t too hot on this aging already so I hope you either read previous posts or ask questions before you start trimming your aged beef back to grocery store red, which defeats the whole purpose of aging beef!
RonMarch 7, 2014 at 8:03 am #7934Andrew JonesMember
Thanks for the quick response! Let’s see if I can shed a bit more light…
I am talking about an older full size refrigerator/freezer combo in my garage. It’s worked quite well for all the projects I’ve thrown at it over the last few years and I believe the circulation is good, but what should the humidity be?
I live in the middle western part of Indiana, right on the Illinois border so I can imagine you understand the weather this year quite well! Again though, I’ve had several days where I have found the fridge to be teetering on freezing due to the cold. Tonight I opened up the door for about 15 minutes and got the temp to 34. I agree 2 weeks is short and I’m not at all ready to pull it out, but I was under the impression that I would have lost quite a bit more water weight by this time.
I definitely don’t plan on cutting off all of the flavorful bark as I’ve seen mentioned in several other posts. Another question on that topic is, what can I do with that precious bark? It seems like such a waste to toss it. Worst case, I’ll make dog treats out of it for sure!
One last question….What’s SWMBO??
Thanks again!March 7, 2014 at 8:40 am #7935Ron PrattMember
I’m just over here next to Peoria, IL so as the crow flies I’m not that far away from you there in Western IN so yes we have experienced some of the same weather this winter!
Unless your refrig is icing up inside the main body then my gut reaction is the compressor is working like it should and is extracting the humidity…OTOH do you have anything else in the refrig – beer doesn’t count – that has moisture in it which is being released?
As for the bark…you definitely will want to trim the outer most hard leather like bark off. There have been threads about this and that use but on a personal basis I do not give it to our Westies who happen to love it going down and then find a great spot in the middle of the carpet to puke and “give it back to me”! OTOH after you trim that layer off then the next layer is delightful, but that might be an acquired taste…
SWMBO? That is who rules the roost in some homes… It stands for She Who Must Be Obeyed!
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