Friday, October 9, 2009

Dry Aged Beef Fabrication

Lately my students had the experience of fabricating dry aged beef striploins in class. The process is one of the more difficult tasks that I have taught. Dry aged beef is much firmer making it a challenge for even a seasoned butcher to work on. The bone structure of the striploin consists of part of the lumbar vertebrae and is an odd shape. It is basically 2/3 of the T-bone, the finger and feather or back bone. There are two basic techniques to boning this. First the single 13th rib is removed. Then the first method would be to loosen the feather bones along the back and then cut from the finger bone side to remove all the bones as one. This would be the technique used by a restaurant that doesn't have a band saw. It is more difficult and the yield is typically poor, especially by an inexperienced cutter. The second method is to seperate the finger bones away from the feather using the band saw. This act alone takes some serious saw skills but once the cut is made the feather bones are removed in one easy cut and then the finger bones are removed one at a time. This method improves the yield if done correctly.

  1. Steps for fabricating a dry aged bone in strip loin:

  2. Cut away the feather from the finger bones at an angle using the band saw

3. Loosen the 13th rib starting from the small end. Outline both sides of it and then pull up cutting around the end

4. Cut away the flat feather bones the length of the loin.

5. Cut around the small "button"bones at the end of each finger bone and lift using finger.

6. Cut up and underneath each flat finger bone peeling them out one at a time.

7. Trim off all severly aged crust and mold including the ends.

8. Trim fat and collagen bands to desired thickness. Be sure to trim all moldy fat off. Also occassionally there will be "hook" holes if the meat was not hung in the right spot while aging. These need to be cut out even if part of the eye is damaged. Hook holes will harbor mold and bacteria.

These striploins went as roasts to the CIA annual board of directors meeting and I got a chance to test it out. Fantastic! The flavor was deep and rich. Although dry aged is more expensive you don't need as much on the plate.

Thanks to my class for doing a fine job of cutting these. I was paranoid at first but they showed the attention to detail that is what makes our students a pleasure to work with.