Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dry Aged New York Strip

Notice the perfect marbling, the hallmark of
a cow allowed to slowly mature and age. 
So, it was going to be a guy's weekend at our farm. I volunteered to bring up the food and decided on 4 dry-aged NY strip steaks. At $22/pound, it was going to be one of the finer things we've eaten up there, only to be out done by the half case of wine we drink every night. I arrived a day early, removed the steaks from the butcher paper, placed them two to a plate, and let them age another day in the fridge with a paper towel over them. When it came time to prep them, I took them out about an hour before cook time to let them rise to room temperature, them seasoned each with fresh cracked pepper and truffle salt. When I put them on the skillet (a major decision, but ultimately it was decided a skillet would preserve more of the hard-earned flavor, instead of taking on BBQ pit flavors) and they sizzled and seared to perfection. 

I stood by the ready, constantly flipping and taking internal temperatures with my Thermapen, and my plan was to take them off when they reached precisely 125 degrees, tent them in foil, and let them rise another 5 or 10 degrees to the medium rare range. Imagine my horror and shock when they were basically medium well inside! What had happened!? All this work, this dreaming, for naught! I suspected they may cook quicker due to the lack of typical moisture inside, but I was still upset. I still had one steak that hadn't been cooked, so I promised myself a redemption.

I finally achieved my perfect center, along with the best,
crunchiest crust I've ever had on a steak!
Two or three days later, after the steak had continued to age, I decided to cook it. By now, it was probably 34-35 days old, and had taken on a crispy dry appearance reminiscent of beef jerky. Forgoing the Thermapen altogether, I seared it one one side for a minute or two, then flipped, then took it off. Whatever happened happened, and I would find out soon enough. Well, what happened was tantamount to the second coming of Christ. What was once a miserable little dried piece of jerky ended up being the most succulent, moist, flavorful cut of meat I'd ever put in my mouth. The best and only way I can describe it is the whole steak turned into an inch and a quarter thick slab of bacon. IT REALLY TASTED LIKE BACON! Needless to say I was spoiled, and now I'm afraid I can never go back to non-aged steaks.

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