If you’re an emphatic meat eater who loves a tender and flavorful steak, you need a dry-age fridge.
Dry-aged fridges are carefully designed with specific temperature and humidity controls that enrich meat flavor and tenderize the texture.
From buttery steaks to flavorful cheese to next-level burgers, these fridges offer a range of sensational benefits. Keep reading to learn why you need your very own dry-age fridge.
What Is a Dry-Age Fridge?
A dry-age fridge is a temperature and humidity-controlled refrigerator with a wire rack or hanging rack for large pieces of meat or animal carcasses. These fridges have specific air circulation mechanisms that move the air to ensure the meat dries evenly and thoroughly.
These fridges allow you to set specific temperatures and humidity levels to dry age meat to your precise specifications.
What Does Dry Aging Do?
Why dry-age meat? Because it makes the meat substantially better. The dry-aging process helps the cuts develop a richer flavor while creating a tender texture. Even quality cuts of meat can be enhanced by a few weeks or months of dry-aging, deepening the taste and tenderizing the meat.
Benefits of Having a Dry-Age Fridge
So, why get a dry-age fridge? All of the benefits of buying one of these fridges are below so you can understand why these are a worthy investment.
Dry-Age Fridges Deepen Meat Flavors
One of the top reasons people dry-age meat is to enhance and enrich the flavor profile. While many assume fresh meat cuts have the most robust taste, this isn’t true. The dry-aging process makes the flavors more complex and luxurious.
A few weeks of dry-aging will create a decadent umami and meaty mushroom flavor in beef, while a few months in the fridge will develop a funky and mouthwatering blue cheese flavor. And the taste of dry-aging can vary, depending on the type of meat you age, so one of these fridges can open a world of new flavors!
Dry-Aging Creates a Tender Texture
Everyone wants their meat to be tender and delicate. Slow-cooking beef can create a fall-off-the-bone texture, but that’s not the same as a freshly seared steak with a butter-like consistency.
Dry-aging helps you achieve this heavenly texture and takes little effort, especially with a high-quality fridge. Impress your guests and yourself with the insanely soft and exquisite texture.
You Can Make Cured Meats
If you love ham, salami, and similar cured meats, you can make them in your dry-age fridge! The controlled conditions in a dry-age fridge make it easy and fun to create flavorful and salty cured meats that you can enjoy with cheese and wine.
The Environment Is More Consistent
You can create a makeshift dry-age setup in your kitchen fridge or a standard fridge, but it’s not ideal. If you use your kitchen fridge, you can compromise the safety of other foods in the fridge and the temperature will be severely inconsistent, as you likely open and close that fridge frequently.
Even if you have an empty fridge where the meat can hang and dry without interruption, you won’t have as much control over the temperature, humidity, and overall consistency of the environment, which is essential for quality dry aging.
Keeps Your Kitchen Fridge Available
As mentioned, it’s possible to dry age in a standard fridge. But the amount of space meta cuts will take up in your fridge is absurd and annoying. Save your fridge space in your kitchen by using a dry-age fridge that you can dedicate to your meats.
They Can Dry-Age More Than Just Meat
A top benefit of a dry-age fridge many people forget is that it’s not just for drying and aging meat! You can store a variety of food and drink items in a dry-age fridge to enhance and deepen their flavor. Consider dry-aging wine, cheese, or fish.
While most people dry-age steaks, you can dry-age all cuts of beef and even burgers. Plus, all types of meat are options too, like lamb, pork, turkey, and chicken.
Can you dry-age meat in a normal fridge?
Yes, you can! If you don’t want to commit to a dry-aging fridge, you can set up a wire rack and sheet pan in your fridge and place the meat on the rack to dry.
Try to place the rack as close to the fridge fan as possible to ensure proper air circulation. While you can dry-age meat in a standard kitchen fridge, it’s not nearly as effective as a dry-aging fridge and is much more difficult.
Can you build a dry-aging refrigerator?
If you mean you want to build a dry-age fridge from scratch, we hope you have some plumbing, electrical, and construction experience. If you want to turn a standard fridge into a dry-ager, you can do so with a hanging hook or wire rack and sheet pan, but it still won’t be as impactful or convenient as a dry-ager.
How long can you age meat in the fridge?
You can age meat in the fridge anywhere from 12 hours to three months. The longer the meat ages in the fridge, the more complex and robust the flavors will be and the more delicate the textures become. The average aging time is around 30 days.
What temperature is a dry-age fridge?
Most dry-age fridges have a temperature between 34ºF and 36ºF, or 1ºC and 3ºC. Whether you set your fridge to 34ºF or 36ºF, there will be little difference in the outcomes.
What is the proper humidity level for dry aging?
The ideal relative humidity for a dry-age fridge is between 75% and 80%, however, you can set it as low as 60% or as high as 100%. A higher humidity level typically creates a more tender texture and will work a little faster, but doesn’t deepen the flavors in the same way.
How much do dry-age fridges cost?
Dry-age fridges can cost anywhere between $700 and $15,000, with the average price being just under $2,000. So dry-age fridges tend to be a bit more expensive than standard fridges and are definitely a substantial investment. But the immense benefits and quality make dry-age fridges worth the cost.