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I'm looking into the technique of 'hanging' meat, and whether there are 'home' applications that would be safe and have a beneficial effect.

Now, there are a lot of (possible) synonyms that muddle the waters (for me). There's hanging, dry-aging, faisandage (for game birds), and more. What I'm looking for is the 1-3 day (near) room-temperature storage of meat and the spoiling / enzyme process that will cause a flavor change. Feel free to help me along by clarifying the answer.

Basically:

  • Is there any (good) use for this technique / process for supermarket / butcher cuts of meat?
  • What should be taken in consideration for safe execution?
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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I investigated the possibility of dry aging beef at home a while back and decided that in my small apartment, at least, I did not want to risk the possibility of spoilage or contamination. These are the resources I found at the time:

Because I'm not highly confident on controlling my refrigerator temperature in my rental and don't have a lot of space, I didn't end up trying these techniques at home. Some day, perhaps!

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For cuts of meat you bring home from the supermarket, you're probably interested in dry aging. Dry-aging will allow the enzymes that are already in the meat to break it down and tenderize it without letting it spoil.

If you're doing this at home, without any special equipment, you really need to do it in a refrigerator. If you let meat sit out at room temperature for 3 days, you'll just end up with spoiled meat. Meat needs to stay below 40F or so to prevent spoilage.

justkt's answer has several links with more information, but the main principles are the same. The general technique is to cover the meat in a clean towel or some other absorbent material, and make sure it is suspended on some sort of rack over a pan so that air can circulate around the entire piece. Change the covering regularly to keep the meat dry for about 3 days. Enjoy your tasty and tender steak.

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This really is not dry aging. It's refrigerator aging, and markedly different than the commercial dry aging that results in an amazingly delicious steak. –  hobodave Aug 31 '10 at 22:55
    
@hobodave I wouldn't expect the exact same results, but what is "markedly different" about it? –  Bob Sep 3 '10 at 19:30
    
Everything. cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/3440/… –  hobodave Sep 3 '10 at 20:33
    
@hobodave Interesting . . . but I still wouldn't say "markedly different", but rather "rough approximation" or "imitation". It still seems to be the same basic process, just less effective and over a shorter time period. –  Bob Sep 3 '10 at 20:54

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