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Sam Lin

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  1. Splitting to a new thread was dumb. #teamonethread
  2. I've been curious about dry aging for quite a while. Rarely order it at restaurants, often see it in stores. I'm not one who actively seeks it out on a menu. But, I was bored and had a supplier advertising that they'd Umai bag anything I bought from them for a small fee, so why not? Purchased whole primals from a local restaurant supply group. One is a 6kg ribeye from Ocean Beef, one is a 4kg wagyu striploin, MBS 4-5 from Yarabah Beef. Both are Australian, I'm in Thailand and the Australian beef is a bit better priced than US. There is Thai beef as well, which in general is quite poorly marbled and quite tough/chewy. I'm still trying various breeds and suppliers to find reliable Thai beef; high quality Thai beef exists, but (and this is the struggle of the Thai farmer) to raise it to similar standard means they need to price at a similar price, and the local market simple won't pay the same for Thai vs import. These two cuts were beautiful. I was torn on aging these, esp the wagyu; with cuts this good to start, they'd be just fine/fantastic cut into steaks as-is. I looked at a few other packs and picked the ones with the best marbling, ignoring the cut and source; supplier was confused, asked which cut I was wanting, finally realized I only cared about the marbling. Pics while in original cryopack; I unfortunately didn't get pics after the cryopack was cut as the supplier got them into Umai immediately (which is the correct thing to do, absolutely minimize open exposure time - Guga actually goes straight from cryopack into Umai bag-to-bag, no touching). Ribeye: Wagyu striploin: Had the supplier bag them into Umai bags for me in their chamber sealer (the ribeye was split into 2 chunks to fit their sealer, which will cost me a little bit more trimming discards at the end), much less tricky than using a Foodsaver or similar vac sealer at home. You'll see from SeriousEats' experience below as well as many Amazon reviews that the Umai can be finicky to do yourself. The bags are a semi-permeable membrane so they never fully "vacuum" - you need to have a good touch as well as be careful with keeping the seal area clean. You must have a sealer that has a button for you to force it to seal, if your sealer automatically seals only after it decides it has enough vacuum, you'll have a very difficult time with Umai. In the Umai. Properly done, the bag needs to be tight against the meat, no air gaps. It is designed to allow direct air/moisture interchange from outside to meat. If you have a loose bag, you actually create a damp swamp in the bag where moisture leaves the meat but doesn't leave the bag quickly enough, which causes spoilage. This is what Kenji@SeriousEats ran into below. Umai ribeye: Umai wagyu: Then put them in a clean fridge that isn't often used; I happen to have a brand new fridge in a condo I'm furnishing. You want to minimize the amount of other contaminants the meat sees, and also minimize the temperature swings (so minimize the number of times someone opens the fridge door). Most of us don't have a refrigerator that gives much control over humidity; you can help balance humidity with pans or chunks of rock salt, or with the amount of meat in the chamber. More meat or more other foods will raise humidity. Salt will help to lower to a small degree. Most aging chambers I see here in restaurants or supermarkets have huge rocks of himalayan salt in them. Whether you use bags or not, you need airflow all around the meat. I bent up cheap wire racks, they were super flimsy so I used water bottles to help support the center. If you just leave the meat against a hard surface like a plate or shelf, the section with no airflow will rot. Day 1, so it begins: There's a ton of conflicting info out there regarding home dry aging and regarding Umai bags. Lots of controversy over the Umai bag and whether it is truly allowing dry aging. It allows air permeation and moisture exit, but it does not allow full microbe interchange so it'd make sense that you aren't getting much effect from the mold culture of the environment. For the home user, this is a plus - very few of us have a truly clean refrigerator or a refrigerator we can dedicate only to aging. For someone trying to age in high volume or trying for ultimate flavor, you'll want to set up a separate aging fridge. A lot of very reputable sites are negative about Umai and deny that it is 'aging' - but there are a bunch of other sites that clearly show empirical Umai 'aging' results. The reality is probably somewhere in between; as I mention below, Umai won't have the same microbial activity, but it will certainly allow the oxidation and drying effects. As Jess Pryles mentions below, just like aging chambers for salami/charcuterie or for cheese, the microbial biome in your aging area makes a huge difference in your final aged taste. She goes as far as to inoculate (dose) her fridge using a chunk of the rind from a famous aging chamber. If setting up a dedicated chamber for open-air aging, I'd absolutely do this. Just like a salami-maker buys mold or uses the mold from a purchased salami to start their mold culture, having a chunk of untrimmed rind from a well-established aging chamber will give you beneficial mold and bacteria that provide the flavors you want while also suppressing unwanted molds and bacteria, helping to keep your food safe. If open aging, you will need to add some airflow to the chamber via a small fan. With Umai they say to open the fridge every day or two to allow humidity to balance. Some sites say 30 days barely does anything, others say 45 days is too much, and it has become trendy to try 60/90/120/longer times for the real adventurous. My thought is this duration may differ a bit between Umai and open aging, I'd think open aging is faster, it'll have more air interchange, more microbial activity, and more moisture loss. More than one site has done comparisons and tasters in large majority prefer the 45 day, so that's my target. Having 2 halves of the ribeye means I may leave half for a longer time as my own comparison. My supplier here in their own Thai literature recommends no more than 28 days, I'm thinking due to risk of angry customer if the meat spoils, and due to local tastes being fairly milquetoast, don't want angry customer because their beef has taste. Now I wait, ~45 days. I only go to that condo on weekends, so I will open the fridge door and check and take photos and provide some air/moisture interchange each week. I'll update here each week. Things I would have done a little differently: I wish I would have weighed each chunk after they were bagged, but didn't have anything handy and forgot to ask the supplier to. I'd like to track the weight loss over time, I'll start tracking each week going forward regardless. (One site did touch on dry aging by weight, not by time, with the theory that the weight loss is a more accurate indicator of aging. It makes some sense, sort of like how during a cook, our meats all stall a bit differently. And weight loss is the only useful tracker for charcuterie, so there's plenty of evidence to back up that theory.) I wish I would have cut one or two steaks off before Umai and frozen them, as "non-aged" control samples for comparison. I can buy other pieces fresh to compare later, but this would have allowed a comparison of truly the same piece of meat. Here's what everyone does agree on: Dry aging improves texture as well as taste. Texture improves fairly rapidly over the first few weeks. Taste takes longer to develop. Anecdotally from comparisons on some grilling FB groups, a dry aged 'cheaper' steak like a Choice grade will be better than an un-aged Prime. By better I mean in comparisons basically everyone prefers the aged steak for tenderness as well as taste. When dry aging, temperature stability is key. Opinions differ on the correct aging temps, I settled at 2c/36f for my fridge setting. Opt for colder rather than hotter (only downside to colder is slightly slower aging, hotter can potentially lead to spoilage), but make sure you don't freeze. Additional info: Guga. I like him because he does a ton of comparison, and keeps variables fairly well minimized. Besides this video he has many others comparing aging times/methods or doing some crazy aging projects like super expensive wagyu or super cheap garbage meat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGaVzrCIDB4 Kenji at Serious Eats. I think his dry aging article is one of his weaker ones; he completely discounts Umai bags after not being able to get them to seal properly and then using one completely improperly: https://www.seriouseats.com/2013/03/the-food-lab-complete-guide-to-dry-aging-beef-at-home.html Jess Pryles. She's a Meat Science grad and must know the theory, but she does very little comparison and really doesn't go into any tech or detail on her blog, it's written for mass market. She is also frequently sponsored by various US Beef industry orgs, so her recs often need to toe their line: https://jesspryles.com/how-to-dry-age-steak/ https://jesspryles.com/dry-aging/ Umai's own site links a bunch of "how-to" videos from various channels, including Guga. https://www.drybagsteak.com/videos-dry-age-steak-at-home.php There are tons of other sites talking about or showing how to dry age. I'm enjoying the rabbit hole. Could fully see myself setting up a glass-door aging fridge to be fancy, and doing open aging, no need for bags (the bags cost me about $6 each, looking on Amazon that's surprisingly close to US prices). I can go more into costs if people are interested, but I don't know how applicable they'll be to US. Beef is insane expensive here in general, but wagyu is probably similar to US price as it's a high-end import for either country.
  3. They aren't. Yet. They will take over all space you have if you don't cut them back. Which is perfect, because the newest leaves are tender and are a very popular asian stir fry vegetable.
  4. Shhhh, don't tell people about tri tip. Don't want to skyrocket the price like we did to beef ribs and flank steak. Hell yes to chimichurri.
  5. Echo this but also the followup comments about it being a long, grand epic, not a quick read. Read the first book, if you love it, read on until you don't. The series gets weird and gets slow and gets hard to read, and the new Brian Herbert books are just mass-market filler. I re-read the first book every year or two and absolutely love it, but I've never re-read any of the rest.
  6. Recommend not going for full inferno before closing down. The thermal mass of ceramics plus coals makes it very slow to lower the temp. As mentioned, set your vents 50-100 under target temp.
  7. Jalopnik redid their page format early this week and I can't stand the new format. Switched over to TTAC for my auto blog.
  8. More news says the patch was actually so urgent because it removed a voice line where the Korean character is referred to as a 'gutter rat' and people got woke. Not for gameplay balancing, though it provided a convenient time to tune the balance as well.
  9. Using cardinal directions with women is on you.
  10. /tangent For fried pickles, do you prefer pickle spears or slices?
  11. Guga did a freeze comparison, a single freeze didn't make a noticable difference, though the thawing method did. Letting it thaw gradually in the refrigerator was better than a quick thaw in cold water or on the counter.
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