The Original Dry Bag Steak | Make Artisan Dry Age Steak at Home › Forums › Dry Aging Steak › Dry Aging Steak with UMAi Dry® › sealing problems – what to look for?
- This topic has 16 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 11 years, 6 months ago by Ron Pratt.
July 3, 2011 at 8:43 pm #1262
First of all: Hello from Denmark (I believe that I am the first one Here from Denmark).
I have successfully dryaged a few sirloins for 21 days and everything went well without any “extra” accessories (pipes, rafts, pantyhose etc).
Now I have a striploin drying in the fridge but as it got some air-pockets I want to be sure that I can identify any problems prior to them ruining the entire piece of meat.
I am still new to dry-aging (it is not common in Denmark) so I am a bit unsure about what signs to look for.
I do know the obvious ones like the bad smell and the larges areas with mold. But what else?
In the case of the striploin, the meat underneath the airpockets seems to be lighter in the color and more grayish brown (like minced beef left unpacked for some hours). Is this bad or will it get normal when the meat dries some more( it is currently on day5).
KimJuly 4, 2011 at 10:21 pm #4836
Welcome Kim from Denmark!!!
First is the good news which you yourself provided by reporting your success with sirloins! As for the loin strip those pockets are the result of where the butcher cut out the bones and I like to refer to them as peaks and valleys. At first with some massaging to get the air out you can get the bag down against the valleys without stretching. Even some air from day 1 is not a concern. As the meat ages it shrinks as the moisture is released and yes the bag will pull loose somewhat from the valleys. There will be some difference in the shade of the meat due to this, but as long as the bag remains sealed it will continue to work properly. Be sure to report back your results!
RonJuly 18, 2011 at 11:19 am #4886
Thanks for the answer. I finally cut open the meat bag open last night and it smelled fresh as I hoped for.
A bit of trimming was done to get rid of the parts of the meat that looked less appealing (a bit in the bone-holes you mentioned). The taste was fantastic and the meat was very tender.July 18, 2011 at 1:21 pm #4887
Glad to hear it went well! Thanks for the report!July 22, 2011 at 1:33 am #4889
I am testing the bags now for the first time with a striploin in my chamber vacuum sealer. After my first bag developed air pockets, I removed it and sealed it again with a new bag. That new bag has now also developed air pockets. I’ve resigned myself to just aging it with the air pockets.July 22, 2011 at 4:20 am #4890
scteak wrote:quote :I am testing the bags now for the first time with a striploin in my chamber vacuum sealer. After my first bag developed air pockets, I removed it and sealed it again with a new bag. That new bag has now also developed air pockets. I’ve resigned myself to just aging it with the air pockets.
welcome back – after your previous battery of questions I wasn’t sure what questions you had that were not answered. I see you are still going to use a chamber sealer instead of those units that the majority of us use – and that’s fine!…OTOH as a frugal person myself I always wonder why someone scraps a Drybag when they see an air pocket…let alone why someone will go through 6 bags in 20 minutes time instead of realizing they had a problem sealing 1 bag 1 time and not using that 1 bag 6 or 8 times as practice in order to get the hang of their sealer! Excuse me while I step off my soap box and head off to bed!July 24, 2011 at 11:32 pm #4894
I’ve had my sealer for some time and know it well. I form what appears to be a good seal for an initial day or two, but after that pockets develop. I wouldn’t know what to do any differently in terms of seal formation.
The flimsy nature of the bag versus standard vacuum bags makes me curious if the bag is truly designed to hold good vacuum for long periods or if the initial vacuum is only intended to create complete surface adhesion and bonding. In that case, my problem may not be vacuum sealing but meat surface conditions (moisture level).July 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm #4895
My first question is are you handling the meat after it is sealed in the bag ad initially placed on the shelf? Excessive handling (or IMHO any handling) is asking for potential trouble.
You refer to the Drybag material as being flimsy in comparison to regular vacuum bags and that stands guilty are charged! The Drybag is MADE that way ON PURPOSE to allow the moisture to escape!
As for air pockets forming some will occur naturally and can’t be expected and are really nothing to be concerned about – unless the bag was to really balloon up which could indicate the meat is off-gasing and the meat is spoiling – though this condition is unlikely if you observe reasonable sanitation measures while bagging.
Lastly – perhaps your meat is in fact too dry at the outset as there needs to be moisture from the natural enzymes present to bond with the Drybag.July 25, 2011 at 2:33 pm #4897
I haven’t touched it at all since placing it on the shelf in the fridge.
Yes, I expected the flimsy bag was by design. It seems reasonable to me that such a moisture permeable design would be less effective at holding vacuum over time. Gas molecules are small, numerous, and persistently diffusive. By the sounds of it, I may be correct in presuming the bag is expected to fully bond with the meat surface soon after the initial sealing, becoming a second skin so that vacuum becomes unimportant thereafter.
My sirloin was sloppy wet out of the cryovac bag so I did press one layer of paper towel onto each side for a few moments to wick away the bulk of the moisture while still leaving the surface tacky. Perhaps leaving it wet would have resulted in better bag bonding and fewer air pockets.July 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm #4898
Personally I have changed my thoughts on drying let alone rinsing meat like I used to. Rather than risk contaminating the meat somehow I slit the cryovac bag and allow it to drain into the sink for at least 30 minutes. I’ll turn it during that time to help with the drainage. By then my meat is still wet, but not sloppy, but also still covered with the same enzymes it has spent for however long it has been in the cryovac.
Just a thought for you since you seem to have more air pocket issues than others report you might want to try the butcher’s netting trick or even a piece of women’s panty hose. Either while sealing your meat or right thereafter place the netting/hose on the bag and leave if for say 3 to 5 days. That should be ample time to allow the initial bond to happen between the meat and the Drybag. Just be careful when you remove the netting/hose.
Please keep us posted on your efforts!
RonSeptember 3, 2011 at 11:58 am #4946
Finished a 30 day dry age. Appearance and outside texture all good.
However, hardness of exterior penetrated fairly far, trim loss was huge. Even the interior was too firm instead of being tender. Flavor was not appealing – a mild gaminess not balanced with any good meat flavors. Tasted less appealing than fresh meat. I tossed the whole thing.
The bag seemed to do a great job of drying – too good. The meat was on the road to becoming meat-leather. It was at a very cold place in the fridge, 33-34F, so that may have hampered the auto-digestion.September 3, 2011 at 2:08 pm #4947
Sorry to hear of your bad experience…but from what you describe for just 30 dags but with a good seal etc my guess is that was a bad piece of beef to start with! The extent of what you said could not have all happened in 30 days…especially the interior of the meat as well.
RonSeptember 3, 2011 at 2:15 pm #4948
It sounds to me like something else was wrong – maybe the bag was not correctly sealed or the meat was contaminated prior to being bag’ed.
I unpacked a 32 old piece of meat the other day and the smell was fresh and nice. The exterior “leather” on the meat was maybe 1½mm (0.06″) and the meat itself was very tender with a dark read color. It was not that different from the previous piece I opened (21 days of drying), but the taste was a bit more intense though.
You should try it one more time and I am sure you will have better luck next time.
kimSeptember 3, 2011 at 5:07 pm #4949
Thanks for the comments. I agree it had a “cheap piece of meat” aura about it, but the meat was from Costco which has a track record of producing decent dry aging results.
I was having the problem with bag adherence to the surface of the meat and getting air pockets, but even the one end that remained adhered didn’t fare any better.
I suppose the process deserves another go, maybe with some Whole Foods meat.September 3, 2011 at 7:11 pm #4950
I’m not sure the source was to blame as that piece of meat was probably questionable regardless where it came from. I’ve even had good luck with sub-primals from SAMS. Main thing is to get back on that dry aging horse and ride! :laugh:
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