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November 11, 2016 at 6:13 pm #2782Michael ZidanicMember
Earlier this week my 19-month old angus/highland, “7-month grass-finished” steer went to the butcher and I’ve got a pair of sides each weighing in at 345 lbs hanging in the cooler. They will continue to hang as sides for about 21 days at which time the butcher will cut and package most of the meat. Certainly, the chuck, shank, brisket, flank, plate and round would not benefit with further aging. The question is what to do about the rib-eye, strip loin and possibly sirloin (or parts thereof).
The one unknown at this point is how the carcasses will grade (low or high Choice, maybe Prime?) when the sides are split into quarters. It would be nice to know the answer to that question now, but splitting into quarters doesn’t seem to be an option until the cutting begins at 21 days.
This butcher does not appear to have a dedicated temp/humidity controlled, dry-age room so it doesn’t sound like a good idea to ask them to hang a rib-eye or strip loin in the same room where they hang all their sides of beef. There it might dry out more than it would in a controlled dry-aging environment.
So, assuming the beef grades “high Choice” or “Prime”, my question is what instructions to give the butcher so that I can bring home the rib-eye, strip loin and maybe, top-butt sirloin, seal into Dry-Age bags and complete the dry-age process in my refrigerator (or two). From what I’ve read, boneless is the way to go, so I guess I ask for a boneless rib roast from each side, right?
I was already planning on asking the butcher to separate out the tenderloin and to cut into filets. Sounds like I should also ask him to keep the strip loin as one large piece of meat.
I see that “top butt” is also a good candidate for aging. Reading up on what a “top butt” is I found that there are three muscles in that piece of meat, cap, center and “mouse” muscles, the “center” being the highest quality meat of the three. Is it best to age the top butt whole to keep the center muscle protected by the cap and mouse, or is the center large enough to dry-age alone?
So, I just ask the butcher to wrap the rib-eye and strip loin in butcher paper, right? And, leave unfrozen as I’ll be picking up within a day or two after he cuts. Then, when I get it home, I suppose I just transfer the rib-eye roasts and strip loins into respective dry-age bags, vacuum seal and put in fridge.
The meat has already been aged 21 days when it was still on the side of beef. If 45 days is the recommended time to age a rib-eye in the dry-age bags, does the 21 days it has already aged subtract off of that so that I might only want to age in the dry-age bag for 24 days?
Thanks!November 11, 2016 at 10:32 pm #10664Ron PrattMember
You have answered most all of your own questions except for the aging time. 21 days is the normal hanging time observed by slaughter houses and is not to be considered “dry aging” the meat. You should disregard that 21 days so 45 means 45 from from you “bag it”. I am assuming your butcher is experienced in cutting up the carcass in the cuts most customers want, though it would be wise to tell him you want your rib eyes and strip loins to be left intact as “sub-primals” meaning you will steak them out how and when you want them. Typically such sub-primals will weigh 16 to 18 pounds for rib eyes and 12 to 15 for loin strips. When you mention “top butt sirloin” I normally buy those all as one piece and then separate them myself as yes the grain of the meat runs perpendicular and if not separated properly you can mess them up.
BTW who will be doing the grading of the meat for you?
RonNovember 11, 2016 at 11:18 pm #10665Michael ZidanicMember
Thanks for the clarification on carcass hanging time and whether that adds to “dry-age” time.
The meat is for personal use only so no need for a USDA inspector to grade. I’ll just be relying on the experience of the butcher to give me a rough estimate of how it would grade (hopefully I’ll be there to take a few pictures to get 2nd opinions), and find out whether it has the marbling characteristics to benefit from dry-aging.
The producer I got the steer from does get “high Choice” or Prime quality, but his cattle are grain finished. My steer was fed grain sometime after weaning up until early April (about 1-year old), but pasture-only since then (hence, “7 months on pasture”, or “grass-finished”). Just don’t know what kind of marbling to expect at this point. Not as much as my supplier’s grain-finished beef, but how close we shall soon find out.
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