Dry aging beef is the process of hanging a whole beef to bring out tenderness and flavor. The beef industry eliminated this process in order to streamline the packaging process. Small mom and pop butchers still dry age and remain popular in beef country, however they are often not USDA inspected and cannot ship all over the U.S. And, since not everyone lives in the country where they can access better beef, Post Rock Beef is:
- DRY AGED 30 days
- USDA inspected
- Shipped anywhere in the lower 48
Thickness and tenderness are the two top characteristics that determine the method cooks use when preparing beef.
Post Rock Beef steaks are cut to a uniform thickness.
- Premium Steaks are cut to 1.5"
- Grilling Steaks are cut to 3/4"
Further understanding where a cut comes from also provides additional information about tenderness (the more a muscle is used the tougher and visa versa).
Muscles located towards the top and middle tend to have the least connective tissue, most tenderness, and more fat for flavor. Muscles located more towards the extremities tend to be somewhat tougher but extremely lean.
What method of cooking should I use?
There are several methods we use out here on the ranch. None are followed to a "T," but here is the general idea.
- Reverse searing
- Combo cooking
Reverse searing is a method of using an oven set up to cook slowly (i.e. 250 F) until the thick steak middle temp. is about 100 F and further bringing up to temp while searing (amazingribs.com is a great info source for this method). This method is good for 1.25" or thicker steaks and roasts. Thinner cuts tend to dry out too quickly for this method.
Grilling is simply searing the meat as you bring it up to temp. This method is best for 1.25" or thinner cuts. Thicker cuts tend to have more well done in the middle than is desirable.
Combination cooking is doing your best when time is limited. Many times you just want to sear the steak, wrap it and bring it into an oven at 250-350 F until its up to temp. Other times you can sear and set the meat to the side for indirect cooking until up to temp. Our favorite is to start 25 charcoal briquettes slide a nice chunk of pecan and smoke the cut for 30 minutes while you start a full chimney of briquettes. Once the briquettes are ready sear to temp over direct flames. If you are cooking a roast smoke, sear the edges, cut steak to thickness and sear to temp.
Serving Temp Chart:
- Rare 120 F (juicy)
- Medium Rare 130 F (best compromise for tenderness and juiciness)*
- Medium 135 F
- Medium Well 140 F
- Well 150 (tough and dry)
*Many Post Rock Beef customers find themselves cooking steaks rarer than traditionally. The aging process provides much more tender beef and less heat allows for a more juicy cut.
How do I thaw beef easily, efficiently, and safely?
Leaving beef on the counter is dangerous, but here are three USDA approved methods we like to use:
- Refrigerator thawing (1 day for every 4 lbs.)
- Less than 40 F cold water bath (30 min. per lb.)
- 102 F hot water bath for steaks and thinner cuts (11 min. in most cases)
The internet is full of information on this topic.