Dry Aging Beef Refrigerators

I’ve gotten together with a couple of friends and we’re thinking about splitting a dedicated dry aging refrigerator. for cow It doesn’t make a lot of sense for one person to buy it for both cost and utilization reasons, but three of us are going to share one. The two candidates seem to be the Steaklocker SL150 at about $1700 or the Steakager Pro 20 at about $1200 or so equipped comparably. There are a few other options, but they are about twice as expensive, which is pricy for what is essentially an experiment. Anyone have any experience with either one?

I am not familiar with those units, but you can dry age meat (decently) with just a garage frig plus some fans and timers.

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Dale-I thought about that and might do it if it were just me. But with three guys joining in, it’s pretty economical to buy a dedicated unit, assuming the quality/reliability is good.

A couple buddies and I bought a commercial grade beverage fridge at auction. throw in a couple of computer fans to circulate the air and a UV light in case things go awry. We buy prime grade primals at costco, fill a halfpan with coarse grain Himalayan pink salt, place baking rack in halfpan, primal on top. Close the door and let 'er rip. Usually do 35-45 days and have gone as far out as 60.

Bingo! No need to pay for all the bells and whistles when it’s basically a Frig with circulated air.

I use a half-broken old upright freezer. The defrost mechanism is the half that broke, so no problem with the above-zero dry ageing temps.
The first year I used a fan and then next time I didn’t. I didn’t notice any difference so I just don’t bother with the fan any more. The best thing to do is make sure you can get bone-on primals so that you get better yield. It really hurts to trim off so much beef at the end…
Last time I did around 60 days. With this setup you get some of the oxidation and tenderizing but not much of the funk that you get from Flannery. I upped the temperature slightly this year to average around 2.5-3°C so maybe there will be some funk.

I have no experience with either or doing it myself. However, my client, a commercial meat butcher/processor/whatever you call them, has the largest, most modern, dry aging room on the east coast and ages meat for most of the top restaurants from Boston to Miami. It has to be at least 1000 square feet and ten feet tall. I was in the room (pre-COVID) and have discussed the process with them. It is hard to believe that a home unit can get comparable results because the critical issues are air movement, air exchange and air purity, all of which seem difficult to obtain in a small home unit. Just to get into the room, I had to be completely covered from head to toe, I had to wear booties on my shoes and the only thing exposed to air was a small oval around my eyes. I was surprised they didn’t make me cover that with goggles. They age hundreds, probably thousands, of uncut roasts at a time, but there is a lot of open space between the racks and huge fans to circulate the air. I’m not sure how the humidity and air exchange works. There is a USDA inspector on site every day and they are not permitted to work on the meat unless the inspector is there, subject to special rules for his unavailability.

I grilled their meat for a Berserkerfest and a number of people said it was the only thing they ever had that was better than Flannery, which is not dry aged. I thought it was the best steak I have ever had.

I offer this only as a caution. Buying a unit is only step #1. You must be scrupulously careful with it or you will get results you do not want. I bought some dry aged meat at Stew Leonards a few years ago, where they have a small aging unit. It went from Stew Leonard’s to my refrigerator and directly into the garbage two days later when I took it out to grill it and noticed an excess of green fur.

Most of Flannery’s beef is dry aged, which you will see if you just scroll through the available selections: https://www.flannerybeef.com/butcher/usda-prime/dry-aged-ca-reserve.html

Yes, you are right. I had a brain fart. I even get dry aged beef ends ground into my Flannery custom burgers. It is Morgan Ranch that is not dry aged.

used fridge off craigslist for $75 worked just fine