Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I've written about home dry-aging of beef before, several times.  Hubby and I have been doing it for a few years now.  In New Jersey, we had a butcher who provided us with phenomenal dry-aged beef.  After several years of trying to find that beef in or near New Bern, we finally decided to do it ourselves.

Since the ribeye is the easiest cut to dry-age at home, that's what we usually buy, though we have done a combination of wet and dry aging for filet mignon.  Sam's Club has been our favorite supplier of a whole ribeye, though we have bought a few at Harris Teeter when they go on sale, usually around Christmas time.  I'll admit it, the ribeye is a heart attack on a plate.  It should be consumed infrequently, for sure.  (Try telling that to my other half.)  All that fat marbled in the meat is what makes the ribeye so tender, juicy and flavorful.

Anyway, there is a story to tell here.  Recently, we made a trip to Greenville Sam's Club to purchase a ribeye.  The case was empty.  Hubby called the person on duty who said he would get one.  He opened a box, weighed the meat, labeled it, and off we went, meat in hand, to start another aging routine.  Twenty-three days later, we looked at the meat we just butchered:  twelve beautiful steaks stared back at us, though we both remarked that they didn't look like ribeyes.  We weren't sure what they did look like, though.

We separated scrap meat from the fat.

The scraps were cut into chunks.

 Then we ground them in the food processor.

The scraps yielded seven lovely, juicy burgers.

As for the steaks, our first bite was disappointing, to say the least.  These were not tender and juicy like previous steaks had been.  What was wrong?  It's not that the steaks were tough and dry, they just weren't as good as expected, and our senior jaws and teeth weren't happy.  The steaks were definitely chewy.

A few weeks later, on a trip to Greenville, we stopped into Sam's Club and talked to Daniel, the Meat Manager, about our disappointing steaks.  After a long discussion, Daniel told us the person on duty the day we bought the "ribeye" mistakenly sold us a loin.  Then he took us to the meat case where the loins and ribeyes sat, side by side.  Both are top-quality Black Angus, boneless and look identical, except for the labeling.  A closer inspection revealed one distinguishing pattern on the ribeye, where the ribs had been removed.  The loin had no such marks.   Daniel said it took him a few months to be able to quickly tell them apart.  Daniel admitted that, even with dry aging, the loin can never be as tender as a ribeye.  

Because Sam's Club wants to be known for the quality of its meat, Daniel gave us a new ribeye at no charge.  (I presented him with our receipt, of course.  Usually, Sam's Club also requires that the meat be returned, but I explained to Daniel that it was home in our freezer.)  We appreciate Sam's Club standing by its products, and we especially appreciate Daniel's thoroughness in analyzing what went wrong.


  1. Impressive, I'm so glad YOU are doing this, as I would be too chicken to age meat. Also impressed with Sam's Club making good on your purchase!!

  2. What an interesting post! It is very smart to speak up when something is not right. Ribeye is my favourite cut for a tender juicy steak.


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