Sunday, August 7, 2011

'07 PlumpJack Cabernet & Dry Aged Rib-eyes

Dry Aged Rib-eyes:  I've been planning to grill these for some time but they're not easily found, where I live anyway, and I thought I might have to buy a whole rib-eye, enough for several steaks.  So, I finally found Dry Aged beef at Whole Foods in Franklin, TN (I-65 & McEwen) where I could purchase individual steaks.  These steaks are about 1 1/2" thick and 1.25 lbs total.  They're a little pricy but definitely worth it.
Get your Dry Aged Rib-eyes @ Whole Foods, Franklin, TN.

So what exactly does Dry Aged mean?
(Source-Internet)  Dry-aged beef is beef that has been hung to dry for several weeks. After the animal is slaughtered and cleaned, either an entire half will be hung, or prime cuts (large distinct sections) will be placed in a cooler, also known as a "hot box". This process involves considerable expense, as the beef must be stored near freezing temperatures. Also, only the higher grades of meat can be dry aged, as the process requires meat with a large, evenly distributed fat content. For these reasons one seldom sees dry-aged beef outside of steak restaurants and upscale butcher shops. The key effect of dry aging is the concentration and saturation of the natural flavor.

The process changes beef by two means. First, moisture is evaporated from the muscle. This creates a greater concentration of beef flavor and taste. Second, the beef’s natural enzymes break down the connective tissue in the muscle, which leads to more tender beef.

Dry aging of beef is rare in super-markets in the United States today, due to the significant loss of weight in the aging process. It is found in steakhouses and certain restaurants.

The process of dry-aging usually also promotes growth of certain fungal (mold) species on the external surface of the meat. This doesn't cause spoilage, but actually forms an external "crust" on the meat's surface, which is trimmed off when the meat is prepared for cooking. These fungal species complement the natural enzymes in the beef by helping to tenderize and increase the flavor of the meat. The genus Thamnidia, in particular, is known to produce collagenolytic enzymes which greatly contribute to the tenderness and flavor of dry-aged meat.
Preparation & cooking:
I wanted to experience the flavor of this aging process so I didn't do anything but add a few pinches of shaved sea salt and black pepper to both sides.  I let that sit for about 30 - 45 minutes before placing them on the grill.  The flavor of these rib-eyes are beyond anything you'll get at a butcher, Publix or other.  The flavor and marbling made for a fabulous tasting steak.
I cooked these to an internal temp of 130 - 135 (a nice med-rare), removed from the grill and tented them with aluminum foil in the house for another 5 - 7 minutes to rest. If you prefer your steak medium, cook it to 140 - 145 internal temp. If you want it "ruined," cook it beyond 145... :-)
Now, more importantly, the vino.
'07 PlumpJack Cabernet
unWine'd with a pour...
PlumpJack - enough said!!! A close friend of mine got this for me in Oct 2010 @ the winery. I saved it for a special meal and it didn't disappoint with the Dry Aged Rib-eyes. This wine has dark fruit on the nose, great complexity and balance, maybe some cocoa on the mid-palate leading to an ethereal finish. Pick up a bottle for your next special occasion. 
Cheers to all at PlumpJack...

1 comment:

  1. Raphe,

    Thanks so much for the kind words! You have inspired us to throw some dry-aged rib-eyes on the grill at our next BBQ coming up this Friday.