Friday, July 27, 2018

Sunnyside Burger

How do you like your eggs? In a burger, of course. Add a little sweet potato for extra texture and thousand island dressing to tie it all together.

Sunnyside Burger
















INGREDIENTS
1 beef patty
1 brioche bun
1 tbsp Spicy Garlic Seasoning by The Sausage Maker
1 egg
1 cup sweet potato fries, frozen
1 slice American cheese
Thousand island dressing
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS
     1. In a small pan heat oil on low and add the egg.
     2. Cook on low until the sides turn white.
     3. Remove from pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
     4. Cook sweet potato fried according to package directions, sprinkle with salt and set aside.
     5. Pat patty with seasoning and add to a heated pan with oil or cook over the grill until done.
     6. Add cheese to the top of patty.
     7.  Stack the burger with thousand island dressing, beef, fries and top with the egg.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

How to Dry Age Beef at Home

At the Sausage Maker, we are big fans of meat. We want to help our fellow enthusiasts get the highest possible enjoyment out of a great piece of meat, whether that means recommending the perfect blend of spices and casing; providing the best sausage recipes from around the world; or showing you the newest and most on-target processes, tools, and advice for turning a good cut of meat into a fantastic example of a hand-crafted link. And while we love sausage, of course, there are other ways to go about enhancing a great cut of meat. Curing, smoking, brining, or any other way you can encourage meat to achieve its full, glorious flavor potential is fair game (get it?) for us.

Dry Aging vs. Wet Aging Beef

Which brings us to one of the oldest and most prestigious methods for intensifying the flavor of meat: aging. More specifically, aging cuts of beef. As many of our biggest fans may know, there are two generally accepted methods or styles for aging beef: dry aging and wet aging, with the former being the clear “older sibling” of the pair. Meat has been aged “dry”—also called “hanging out” or just “hanging”—for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. The process involves leaving cuts of meat exposed to air (these days, also under refrigeration) for between 7 and 30 days. “Wet” aging has come about comparatively recently, made possible by technological advances in vacuum sealing and temperature control. In this method, the meat is sealed into airtight plastic packages and left in refrigeration, for usually slightly less time. The difference is that nothing gets in or out of the package—moisture, air, or microbes—and so it needs less management.
The key to both approaches is allowing for enzymes naturally present within the meat to break down the tissue, leading to more tenderness. There is also a change in flavor, with wet aging somewhat intensifying the meat flavor while retaining more of the “metallic” taste associated with fresh meat, whereas dry-aged meat develops a deeper, more concentrated flavor sometimes described as “nutty”, or even with a sharpness occasionally likened to that of blue cheese. There’s plenty of debate about which approach is “better”, and to some extent this will reflect the taste of the individual (whether one prefers the “metallic” flavor of wet aging over the stronger, “nutty” taste produced by dry aging). But in general, the argument comes down to this: Dry aging is the more traditional method, which produces a better, more complex taste and feel, while wet aging is easier, cheaper, and faster, but doesn’t result in meat that is as tasty or tender.

How to Dry Age Steak at Home

So what do we recommend, aging-wise? Well, for dry aging, the Sausage Maker’s digital dry curing cabinet can produce very fine, steakhouse-quality dry-aged steaks (as well as helping you cure salami, capicola, and other sausages). If you’re a serious DIYer, you might even consider building your own with the help of our step-by-step dry aging chamber guide. For those on a more restricted budget, however—or those who want to dip a toe into the dry-aging waters before taking the full plunge—we recommend UMAi Dry aging bags. This product, created by UMAi Dry (also makers of high-quality sausage casing kits) is a single-use, sealable bag in which home chefs can age meat in a standard refrigerator.

How Do Dry Aging Bags Work?

The approach of sealing individual cuts of meat into clear plastic bags and aging them that way may seem similar to wet aging, and this has led to some confusion about the real nature of the UMAi Dry bags. The key difference is permeability to both water and air. The UMAi Dry bag allows moisture to escape from the meat in much the same way it would from a cut hanging or sitting on a rack in a dry-aging cabinet, and unlike a standard wet-aging bag (where part of the point is to have the meat sit in its own serum during aging). At the same time, the UMAi bag allows oxygen from the air to flow past the meat surface while keeping out larger-moleculed air components like nitrogen, as well as harmful microbes. This combination results in a dry-aged style cut, with the shrinking (and flavor concentration) associated with traditional cabinet-style aging, as well as the thick crust on the outside of the meat. Take a look at this demonstration from our friends at Ballistic Barbecue:


And here’s a great grill technique for those steaks once they’ve finished aging:

So what’s our final verdict on aging? In our estimation, UMAi’s dry bag introduces a “third way” between traditional dry aging (in a cabinet) and standard wet aging (in non-permeable sealed bags). Although all three methods have their pros and cons, we think the UMAi bags give the budget-conscious home chef who prefers the taste and texture of dry-aged meat an option that doesn’t require the time, space, or cash outlay of a full dry aging cabinet.