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Home-made dry-aging experiment, Part 2

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    Home-made dry-aging experiment, Part 2

    Update: I decided to abandon this project. See my final comments in this thread for info.

    This is part 2, rev 2 of my home-made dry-aging system. Original post of rev 1 is here. The results of my 30-day dry-aged brisket is here.

    If this is your first time reading about my experiment, I decided to build a home dry-aging unit and see how close I could get to 33F-39F and 75-85% humidity. I did this via an old fridge, as well as temperature & humidity control devices. They both work by having AC outlets that you plug devices into. If the fridge gets too warm, the COLD outlet turns on, which is where the fridge is plugged into. If humidity gets too low, the humidifier AC outlet turns on, which is where the humidifier is plugged into, and the same for the dehumidifier.

    EQUIPMENT

    - Old small fridge ($75)
    - An Inkbird temp control unit. ($35)
    - An Inkbird humidity control unit ($42).
    - 3L humidifier ($30). (This is too big for the setup, but it allows me to fill it once a month.)
    - (2)120mm computer-style DC fan for circulation. ($13)
    - Dehumidifying silica gel. 5 lbs for $30. (prob too much)
    - 6 qt plastic storage box from Home Depot ($1.50)
    I built my own dehumidifier by putting the silica gel in the bottom of the box, mounting the DC fan on the lid, and drilling 100 5/32 holes along the sides. If the humidity controller says to dehumidify, the fan comes on and blows moist air across the silica gel until it takes out enough moisture and cuts off the fan. Nice, huh?
    - 5W U/V/C sanitizer light ($19)
    - A Govee wireless temp/humidity sensor ($13). Can you believe that price?
    (Talks to my phone via bluetooth and can send alerts.)

    SETTINGS

    Temp is set at 37F, with the cool feature coming on at 39F.
    Humidity is set at 80%, with the humidifier coming on at 75% and the dehumidifier coming on above 85%. The Govee tells me that humidity cycles with the temperature, and it doesn't get above or below these settings for very long.



    DEHUMIDIFIER REV 2

    The commercial dehumidifier didn't work, as they don't work below 41F. My first attempt at my own dehumidifier had the fan mounted on the side and needed "doors." The problem with that design is that it was too big and needed to be on its own shelf. I needed a new design that could fit in a 15" deep shelf, allowing me to to put it on the same shelf as the dehumidifer, fan, and U/V light. This is what the new one looks like. Note the 100 5/32 holes along the bottom, just above the layer of silica gel. (There may be a Rev 3 where I drill the holes a little higher, allowing me to put more silica gel int the box. Luckily it's only $1.18.)

    Also note the duct tape holding on the fan. I'm going to get some sealant to finish the job.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_4764.JPG Views:	0 Size:	1.93 MB ID:	968226Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_4765.JPG Views:	0 Size:	2.32 MB ID:	968228

    MEAT REV 2

    I had such good luck with that last brisket that I'm going to do it again. But I decided to also add in a strip sirloin, from which I will be cutting some mighty thick NY Strips. I'm in the deep end now, baby!

    Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_4768.JPG Views:	0 Size:	2.35 MB ID:	968227

    Update: Two days into Rev 2 looks pretty good. Here is my temp and humidity for the last two days. The spikes are when I reorged everything and put the meat in.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_4777.PNG Views:	28 Size:	110.3 KB ID:	969311

    Next rev will be permanently putting the wires where they need to go.
    Last edited by wcpreston; April 27, 2021, 01:54 PM.

    #2
    Loving this. The brisket looked like a massive success so keep at it, mate!

    Comment


    • wcpreston
      wcpreston commented
      Editing a comment
      I'm really struggling with why the prevailing wisdom is to NOT dry-age brisket. I've never made a brisket so juicy in my life, and I didn't even wrap it. And I was able to pull it at 190F!

    #3
    Keep it up wcpreston I am eagerly following your experiments!

    Comment


    • wcpreston
      wcpreston commented
      Editing a comment
      Me, too!

    #4
    I have bad news. I've decided to abandon the project. It turns out it's just really hard to keep a fridge at these temps AND at this humidity range. I actually killed two fridges trying to do it. The high humidity kills the condenser fan, as far as I can tell.

    The second fridge was super old, but super reliable. It ran for 20 years until I tried this with it. Then it died.

    I still love dry-aged meat. I'm just not sure my amateur palate can tell the difference between this method and the bag method.

    Certainly not enough difference to justify buying the $900 unit that would do this for me.

    Comment


      #5
      First I applaud your attempt at this. We had a member years back that built one out of a wine cooler pretty successfully but it had limited space. I think the Umai bags do a decent job for home use. Relatively cheap and easy. Results are arguably not quite as good but as you say my pallet isn’t that educated.

      Gotta agree though, aged beef is sooo worth doing. Just did some ribeyes and they were the bomb 👍

      Comment


        #6
        Ugh. Sorry it didnt work out man. It sure looked like fun and i remember that brisket post...gawd it looked good.

        Comment


        • wcpreston
          wcpreston commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes, it did. But so did the guy's that did it via an Umai bag. 60 day dry-aging in that bag. Check him out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3ftBTQlo0s

          I do have issues w/those bags, but they're pretty good.
          Last edited by wcpreston; April 28, 2021, 12:00 PM.

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