When it comes to dry aging, one of the most commonly asked questions we get here at SteakLocker is ‘how long can you dry age beef?’ Ultimately, the length of time you dry age beef in the SteakLocker is dependent on personal preference. The short answer of how long to dry age beef is 21 – 120 days, the sweet spot for dry aging beef is generally considered to be around 30-45 days. Let’s break it down by days:
How Long Can You Dry Age Beef- Timescale
During the first 7 days in the meat aging fridge, the main structural protein of the beef will have started to break down. However, at this stage in the process it is only early days, this means the beef is still bright in color and would not be officially classified as ‘aged’ when sold. This is due to the fact that it will not have had enough time to begin developing the unique flavors and texture typical of dry aged beef.
After around 21 days the meat will have lost around 10% of its original weight as a result of evaporation as the moisture is slowly drawn out of the beef. Although the meat will have lost weight, the flavor will have become more concentrated and intense which many people describe as having a subtle nutty taste. At this stage, the fat of the meat will not have shrunk yet however you may notice that the beef has started to darken.
The sweet spot of dry aged beef is generally considered to be at around 30 days. At this point in the dry aging process, the steak ager beef will have developed a more intense flavor and texture typical of a dry aged steak. Around 15% of the beef's weight will have been lost as the flavor concentrates even further leaving a more rich, umami taste which can only be achieved naturally through dry aging.
If you appreciate the flavor associated with dry aged beef but don’t want the taste to be too overpowering we recommend dry aging your beef for a maximum of 45 days. At this point in the dry aging process the beef will have lost only a fraction more of its weight and has developed a much more sharp and pungent taste which is said to resemble notes of blue cheese.
If you are keen to take the intensity of flavors to the next level why not try 90 day aged steak. At this point bold blue cheese notes will be even stronger and a white crust will have developed around the meat to protect it. This outer crust will be removed before the meat is sold.
The longer you leave your beef to age in the dry age refrigerator, the more intense the flavor will become. At 120 days onwards the meat will have lost at least 35% of its original weight and will taste truly unique which many describe to have a funky edge. Beef is rarely aged for this long and is only sold at a few high-end restaurants. This is because the risk of spoilage is higher, the time it has taken to age and of course it's completely unique dry aged flavor.
We’d love to see you long can you dry age beef!
If you are as passionate about dry aging as we are you may be dry aging a cut of beef as you read this. If so, please share your results with us online and how long you have dry aged your beef for. We can’t wait to see your results. If you have any other meat aging fridge related questions do not hesitate to contact us.