Originally posted by Vicki B:
Hey guys, when you are referring to aging in the fridge, what exactly do you mean?

Yesterday I purchased an 12 lb brisket and two 4 lb flanks at RD, I put one flank in the freezer, but left 1 flank and the brisket in the fridge. How long can the RD cryo meats stay in the fridge if they are not dated with a use by? I have only aged meat (prime rib roast) out of package in fridge a few years ago. Help!

Nothing beats a well grilled, dry aged Delmonico steak. Unless you have a separate fridge with temp and humidity controls, it's impossible to do at home.

However, wet aging comes close to delivering the same flavor and tenderness...think of a Lexus vs a Mercedes Smiler

Two things are needed for wet aging, beef packed in Cry-O-Vac and a packing/slaughter date. The C.O.V. must be flawless - no holes or punctures or separated end seams. Meat properly sealed in C.O.V. will have ni air pockets and adheres to the meat very tightly.

Packing date vs "sell-by" date. Two entirely different things. If you know the packing date, you can wet age up to 50 days for large cuts such as packer brisket...30 days for smaller cuts. Sell-by dates (found on the price tag) will vary from store to store. Some times you'll see a sell by date stamped on to the C.O.V. ---usually on chicken, pork tenderloins and "added value" meat products (pre-sauced spare ribs for instance) That date is supplied by the packer and should be adhered to.

If you wish to wet age beef at home, ask your butcher to supply you with a packing date found on the shipping case. That's the only way you can reliably time line your wet aging limit.
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Original Post
Seems to be a common unknown to many people, so always good to have a discussion.

Here's another old but good thread:More on Wet Aging

I acutally have two 18 lb'ers briskets in the fridge. I asked the butcher for the kill dates on the boxes that they have (since these were already out). It's a risk, not knowing the actual date, but for me, when I have a date I'm not sure of, I'll still age them 30 days (figure they possibly could have been 2 weeks old, Sam's goes through too many for them to be older than that.

KEY thing about the date is the max date, how long you want to push the envelope. I see 21 days as "optimum" but most brisket agers tend to go longer (isn't longer better) Big Grin

FYI, make sure it's in the original cryovac. You can NOT wet age something that's been cut and put in trays and rewrapped. Air has gotten to the meat surface and if you reseal it, that air carries goodies that will turn the meat bad when aged.
Last edited by Former Member
Originally posted by Smokin'
...not knowing the actual date, but for me, when I have a date I'm not sure of...

I've noticed on my PB's that Sam's case date and sell by date is 21 days, I hope/figured that was probably close for the briskets.

My homemade wet aging cooler, works well as a second frig when not in use for aging.
Pork in cry-o-vac will not age as long as beef will. Why? Dunno but it doesn't. I would say Sam's 21 days is a not only a sell by, but "use by" as well.

By the way, beef that has been wet aged over 30 days will have a "bloom" when first opened. A very robust "beefy" odor that should dissapate within an hour. Pork will do the same but keep in mind, there's "bloom" and then there's "stink" If your pork stinks, it's gone. Chances are, it will be slimey as well. If you're thinking, "well...it doesn't smell too bad"...be sure you're stocked up on plenty of Charmin Big Grin
Yep MaxQ, went and dug in the trash for my old PB box that I got this last weekend, it said use by or freeze by that date.

I was under the impression that you didn't wet age PB's, fresher was better...I'm all ears thou!
You can't age pork like you can beef, so the sell by is a good use by also. I don't keep pork or poultry that I won't be cooking within a day or two.
Good to see this brought up again. Few things I enjoy more than a well aged steak. I do not possess the proper equipment to dry age anything, but wet aging requires very little investment and is easy enough for Joe Average to do.
Before I attempted wet aging on my own I researched and read everything I could get my hands on just to make sure I wouldn’t jeopardize or short change any food safety.
Usually the hardest thing to come up with is the kill date, and that is what everything is to be based on. If I buy at one of our mom and pops or a local locker the kill date isn’t an issue. If buying from one of the big chains it is next to impossible to get the kill date. In those cases I only buy cuts of meat that they sell a lot of. As Smokin said I doubt that they’re much over 2 weeks old. I routinely wet age my briskets, prime ribs, and rib eyes 21 days. I try to not let my wife know I’m ageing meat in my refrigerator. It totally grosses her out and I’m just too tired to keep trying to explain to her why the meat she likes so well tastes so much better than anyone else’s
MaxQ, thanks for starting this thread so I can get the info I needed.

My flank has a slaughter date/production date on the package along with a use by. I didn't look at the one I already opened for tonights dinner, the empty wrapper is sealed in a garbage bag already. I was happy to see all that info on the package. I will have to look at the one I put in the freezer yesterday. Next time I get the flank in the Cryo I will keep it in the fridge according to all the info above.

I am gonna check out the brisket later and keep it in the fridge no longer than 30 days after slaughter date (hope it has one.)
Originally posted by Vicki
Next time I get the flank in the Cryo I will keep it in the fridge according to all the info above.

Well, MaxQ helped line out the basics, but there are a few other things we haven't told you...you will need a dedicated frig(something that is not opened very often) it is better if it is cold say at least 35-37*.
How is 33* ?

My extra fridge which only gets open like once a day has a broken something in betwwen the fridge and.freezer so it stays at 33, we are not sure what broke but it works great. everything stays just above freezing.
I just got a new cookback called "Wicked Good Barbecue and there are two full pages in the book dedicated to the subject of Brisket Selection, Wet-Age and Trim Instructions. And very well written I might add.

But part of the wet-aging portion spoke of using a dedicated fridge for the aging that will hold temp between 35-37*. Any cooler and they state that the tenderizing enzymes will not release.
I recently wet aged 5 whole ribeyes and 3 large beef shoulder roasts weighing approx 30 lbs ea about 30 days with great success. They were all in cryo vac with a kill date. The roasts did have a "bloom" to them when opened but when rinsed off and cut up that seemed to disapear and tasted great when cooked. They were very tender and awesome flavor. The ribeyes are to die for cut 1 1/4 inches thick and grilled to medium rare. I do turn them every other day. I age my briskets 35 to 45 days and then freeze before using as it seems to help with tenderness with the freezing process.
I should add that when I gut up the beef ribeyes and the shoulder roasts I put thme in food savor bags and seal them for the best storage and end results when cooked later. I for one think that wet aging a choice or prime cut of primal cuts of beef is well worth the effort and produces an awesome flavor and tenderness that you sure don't get at he grocery store. I should also add that I have a great contact at a Tyson beef plant and can buy at employee pricing. I have told him he can never leave end his employmet there!!
Hi guys, I am a little confused. I believe that Smokin said you can not cut up and repackage cryo meat for wet aging because of the bacteria. 2nd Hand Smoke mentioned that he cuts up and repackages. Is there some danger involved in doing that, or am I misunderstanding him and his is wet aging first then cutting up and freezing afterwards for later use???

I just want to get all the facts straight. I also have time to do research because my fridge needs to be fixed and I really wont be "wet-aging" until it is in the proper temp zone anyway.

All this info is so appreciated, as always, thanks!
Vicki I wet age the whole beef ribeyes and shoulder roasts in their original cryovac packages and then after the aging process I cut up and repackage with my food savor and freeze. I think what Smokin meant was you shouldn't cut up whole primal cuts of meat and then repackage and age. You should age it and then cut up and repackage and freeze in that order.
Thanks 2nd Hand. I am glad you cleared that up for me. I have the Food Saver with lots of bags just waiting for the day I have all my ducks in a row Smiler
The theory is that a primal cut will be a sterile muscle put into a sterile environment, so it can't have any bacteria growth. Now if you cut that up, you are taking a chance on introducing bacteria to the cuts and then amplifying the problem by putting it into a low oxygen situation(vacuum sealing) and as it is aging the frig will hit the danger zone every so often. VERY RISKY

Personally Vicki, I'd give that frig a try with your packer, put on bottom shelf so it doesn't have extremely cold air hitting it. I'd not open the door though if at all possible.
Well, the packer is sitting there on the bottom for two days now. It will sit there until I decide to use it. Probably in the next couple weeks. The cold will just keep it fresh, if it doesn't age, that's okay. I now know where to find Rest. Depot....so many rubs and sauces to try Big Grin
Originally posted by cal:
The theory is that a primal cut will be a sterile muscle put into a sterile environment, so it can't have any bacteria growth. Now if you cut that up, you are taking a chance on introducing bacteria to the cuts and then amplifying the problem by putting it into a low oxygen situation(vacuum sealing) and as it is aging the frig will hit the danger zone every so often. VERY RISKY

Personally Vicki, I'd give that frig a try with your packer, put on bottom shelf so it doesn't have extremely cold air hitting it. I'd not open the door though if at all possible.

I totally agree Cal that's why I leave mine in the original cryovac to age it and take out the whole ribeyes and shoulder roasts after aging to cut up and repackage with the food savor just as lockers and grocery stores do. It then goes directly into the freezer for future use. This is how it is done at a meat locker except they do a lot of dry aging with halves of beef in cold storage.
Originally posted by MaxQ:


Just curious MaxQ and Cal, do you think it is risky to age it in the original cryovac it came in, then cut it up and freeze it immedietly in food savor bags??
I think the point we're making is it's okay to do a large cut in the ORIGINAL cryovac. Once that package is cracked, then you have issues. A lot of us do it (search wet aging and you'll see lots of comments).

Open, cut and refreeze is fine, just don't leave open for a few days then freeze. For food safety, I would only freeze the day you cut it.

The clock on aging is one duration. So ANY time the beef is above 40, it cuts the total duration down. I learned about aging from a Master Butcher in KC who supplies meat in that town.

Example. If the food truck delivering the meat is warm or the case sits out on the counter above 40, all of that affects the duration.

It's about Food Safety. You can age, just need to be aware of the issues.

I would never age anything once it's been cut. Some people swear by the dry aging bags, but I'm not sold yet. Dry aging is a whole different animal.

As always YOU can experiment, but your individual results may vary. I don't tempt the Food Safety Police Big Grin
Well Said Smokin. Thats exactly how I do it. I have never had any issues when aging in the original sealed cryovac and then opening, cutting up and freezing the same day as soon as I have cut it up. I always try to keep things as clean as possible. I would never age cut up pieces of meat.
Originally posted by Vicki B:
Thanks for the info guys. I guess i need to figure whats wrong with my fridge and get those twmps up.

Viki just a guess, but if I was a betting man I would bet either the circulation fan is bad or the timer is bad. Either one is an easy fix for an average do-it-yourselfer.
I wouldn’t trust the fridge until I fixed it cause the temp could go south rapidly without notice.
Chef, I am gonna check out what you said. A while back my hubby said he thought it might be the Fan, but would have never know about a timer??? The freezer stays frozen, its just that the fridge gets too cold and you have no control. Thanks!
If the fridge has an icemaker many times the timer is an intricate part of the icemaker. If not the timer is usually in the back bottom along with the motor, compressor, and other “stuff”.

The timer controls the defrost cycle depending on the fridge it will change the cycle every 1 – 2 hours.

During the defrost cycle the fridge shuts down for 10 – 15 minutes. The compressor and the circulation fan(s) do not run, and a heat tape under the freezer bottom cover heats up and melts the frost build up before it is allowed to become noticeable in the freezer compartment.

This is also why food freezer burns in your refrigerator freezer much faster than it does in your deep freeze.

Okay, new here.    Will search threads, promise.   But I've got a decide-by-friday question I hope you all can help with.    

So I'm easing my way into the dry age community, learning and so forth.  I've figured out how to get prime primals from costco for under $9/lb.   And i've done well with them.  I'm happy anyway -- my wife and cardiologist may have other opinions.

Here's the thing.   I bought a foodsaver vacuum packer so I could take relatively huge full 103s or 107s, and  then cut them up into manageable portions.   Right now I've got a third of a tomahawk rib primal (same as a regular 103, but with longer frenched rib bones) that's I repackaged into a second smaller vac seal bag.   

My understanding was that a vac sealed cut (it's still 10 lbs) would do fine in a normal fridge "wet-aging" for a fairly long time.   But this thread is making me worried i'm about to poison my labor day guests.    

Nothing is discolored, I divided and re-vacced quickly, and froze two of the pieces immediately.   But I took one of them out a few days ago to gently defrost in the regular fridge.  Still looks fine.   but am I in a danger zone on this one?  



While I have not repackaged any beef prior to attempting to wet age I have been wanting to try it out. I also have no experience with freezing prior to  wet aging, but I believe that would kill the enzymes needed for the wet aging process. That said If I'm understanding you correctly, you just defrosted one of your repackaged cuts (3 or 4 days ?) in the fridge and you're wondering if it is ok. Is that your question?

If so, I wouldn't be concerned about it. Wet aged beef has an earthy smell to it, not a foul or bad smell. Some recommendations suggest you should wash the wet aged meat thoroughly under cold running water after unpacking it. I used to, but I don't bother doing so any more.   

Bottom line, if it smells good cook it and serve it. If it has an off odor pitch it 

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