Well hello again! Or, if you’re new here, welcome! I hope everyone is gearing up for Christmas! I know I am, and trying to make sure that I have everything done is driving me nuts!
Anyway, I got some comments on my previous posts that I would like to address, and I would also like to share with you the status of my standing rib roast as it is right now. In Fact, I’ll do that first. But before that: a warning. The meat that you are about to see is completely different looking than the meat in the previous post. This is the nature of dry-aging, and I never said that it makes the raw meat look particularly good.
Ewwww. Haha. Like I said, not that lovely to look at, but it is going to have an amazing tenderness that can only be gotten by removing the water. The feel of the meat is very different. It doesn’t even really feel like meat anymore. The exterior has hardened up a little bit, and it doesn’t have that “squishy” raw beef feel anymore. By this time next week, it should look even funkier. Not to worry though, right before cooking, I will be slicing off the pieces that won’t be too pleasant to eat, so I don’t risk anyone getting sick or anything like that. I weighed the silicone pan that it is on before starting this process, so I can subtract that amount from the weight of my beef. When I started, the fresh beef weighed 2370.73 grams. And yes, I used grams. No, I haven’t converted to using metric, but I think it’s a lot easier to do the math then to have to convert everything to ounces and deal with fractions and such. Moving on. So the raw meat weighed that amount, and that’s without the pan. Now, 7 days later, it weighs 2236.07 grams, a difference of 134.66 grams. While not entirely impressive, that’s a total of about 5% of the fresh weight. That means the ratio of beef:mass has been altered pretty greatly, and my beef is going to taste that much better.
I was asked what the conditions need to be for this whole thing to work. It really has been a pain in the butt to do this process, but I’m doing it for you guys. And my in-laws, since they will be eating here. And I guess I’m also doing it for my wife and I, since it’s going to be delicious. So I’m doing it for everyone. Glad I got that tangent out of the way. Ideally, you’d like to be able to maintain a constant temperature of something between 34°F and 39°F (told you I haven’t converted to metric!). You don’t want to go lower than 34 because then you’re running into the freezing zone, and you don’t want to go any higher than 39 since then you’ll be entering the bacterial playground zone. If you were to do this in the refrigerator where you keep all your other food, I would say that this would need to be as low as possible, and lightly covered with paper towels, just to make sure nothing gets on it. You’d also want to make sure you don’t keep the door opened for too long of a period, because then you’d be raising the temp in the fridge and risk getting out of the zone. I’ve got my meat in a small mini-fridge (redundant) in my garage which has nothing else in it. This would be ideal. I’ve got an analog refrigerator thermometer in the box to let me know the exact temperature, and to be honest, I have been making small adjustments to the temperature every day. I’ll turn the dial slightly colder, come back tomorrow and it’s around 34, twist a little the other direction and we’re bordering 39. I’m literally baby-sitting this roast! That’s enough of that. I think I’ve covered that process pretty well.
And to Michael, I would need to know more about your meat loaf in order to make an accurate suggestion. It depends on what’s already in the meat loaf, what temperature you cook it at, and so on. Maybe I can help you in the future with this.
I also received a comment about creating a pasta dish. And to this anonymous reader, I will state that although I have never tried what I am about to write, I think it would be delicious. I have seen recipes for baked spaghetti before, but have never tried it. So what I would do is cook up some pasta to an extra al-dente texture. The type of pasta is important, and it should be based on what kind of sauce you use. If you are going to be using a meat sauce (which you should), then you would want to go with something that can hold on to the sauce and the meat and stuff (rigatoni, penne etc). A creamy sauce is better paired with an actual spaghetti (fettuccine, angel hair etc). I would also suggest roasting a head or two of garlic for this. Anyway, cook the pasta until it’s almost cooked perfectly, and then remove it and drain. Get a casserole dish of some sort and rub some softened butter around the interior of the dish. This will help prevent sticking, but will also allow the outside to crisp up nicely. I would set the oven to about 450° or so; something high since everything is basically cooked. Since I don’t have the space to store homemade pasta sauce, I would defer to the jar variety now, but pick something relatively basic. I would definitely suggest a protein of some sort in the sauce, be it sliced Italian sausage, ground beef, or even shredded chicken or something. Cook that up, and add it to the sauce, along with the roasted garlic, and any other seasonings you might want to spruce it up with. Toss that sauce with the spaghetti in the casserole dish, then even the top of the mound, taking care not to compress it too much, but making sure it reaches all corners. I would bake it until everything was heated through, and then right before it’s ready to take out of the oven, pull it out, top with shredded parmesan cheese, and then broil the thing to get a nice crust on the top. When that’s done, take it out of the oven to cool and serve. You should be greeted with a delicious pasta dinner with a nice crusty exterior, both on top and all around the outside. Keep in mind, that I literally just made all of that up off the top of my head. I could be way off on the timings and temperatures, but it sounds good, doesn’t it?!
I think that about covers it for this posting. I get to go to my open house at the school tomorrow, where I’ll get my uniforms and my schedule for the first term. Unfortunately, I will be getting my tool kit on the first day of school, so I won’t be able to preview it until that point. That’s really not even all that bad since it’s only a few weeks away. I’m so excited. If you would have told me as a senior in high school that I would be going to culinary school in just a few years, I probably would have laughed in your face. At that point, I don’t even think I could cook an egg! Now look where I am. Writing a food blog on the internet. Funny how things change 🙂 I’m looking forward to writing next week since I’ll be showcasing the final raw photo of my standing rib roast, and then after that will be my Christmas post. Everyone please have a safe week, and I’ll talk to ya later.Stay positive, love your life, and play with your food 🙂