How to age beef

Yield: 2 servings

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Sometimes people are disappointed with the beef they buy because it has not been properly aged. While aging beef is a simple porcess, it is expensive beacues it requires that producers store meat for at least 21 days at 34F-38F. Only the top grades of beef - Prime and Choice - can be aged, because they have a substantial layer of fat on the outside the keeps the meat inside from spoiling during the aging process. Merle Ellis's friend, Al Cooper, shared with Merle the secret of how to age beef in the refrigerator. Buy a rib-eye or loin strip on sale - either Prime or Choice. Take the meat out of the plastic wrap and rinse it with cold water. Let it drain, then pat it dry with paper towels. Wrap the meat in a large white cotton dish towel and place the package on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator.

The next day, unwrap the meat and wrap it in a fresh towel. Continue changing the towel as often as necessary for 10-14 days - and you are ready to start enjoying good steaks. Cut steaks from each end as needed and let the remaining meat continue to age in the refrigerator. Or, if you eat steak rarely, cut the entire piece of aged meat into steaks, wrap each one in heavy duty plastic wrap, and freeze until ready to use. Don't forget to label them with the date.

To clean the dishtowels, soak each one as you finish using it in cold water overnight. Next, soak the towels in cold salt water for 2-3 hours, and then launder as usual. Origin: Cooking with Regis & Kathie Lee Shared by: Sharon Stevens, Nov/94. Submitted By SHARON STEVENS On 11-20-94

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