Creative Ways to Use Dry Aged Beef Trimmings and Avoid Waste

Dry aged beef is renowned for its intense, complex flavors and tender texture. However, the dry aging process also results in some waste – namely the dried outer layer that must be trimmed off the meat. Known as beef trimmings, this byproduct is often discarded. But for those willing to get creative in the kitchen, beef trimmings can be transformed into tasty dishes. In this article, we’ll explore what dry aged beef trimmings are and provide tips for making the most of them.

What Are Dry Aged Beef Trimmings?

Dry aged beef is beef that has been aged for weeks or months in a temperature and humidity controlled environment. This extended aging time breaks down the meat’s connective tissues, concentrating flavors and tenderizing the beef.

During dry aging the outer layer of the meat dries out. This forms a hard, dark brown rind called the pellicle. The pellicle acts as a protective barrier, keeping moisture locked into the meat. It also accumulates flavors from enzymatic activity and oxidation.

Once the dry aging process is complete, the pellicle must be trimmed off before the meat can be consumed. The portions that are cut away are known as beef trimmings. They consist of dried hardened chunks of meat ranging from half an inch to several inches thick.

While safe to eat, the leathery texture and concentrated flavor of trimmings make them difficult to enjoy on their own. That’s why most butchers discard trimmings or use them for dog treats. But for the home cook willing to get creative, they offer an opportunity to add rich, intense beefy flavors to other dishes.

Flavor and Food Safety Considerations

When handled properly, dry aged beef trimmings pose no greater food safety risk than the steaks they are trimmed from. However, their intensely dried exterior provides an ideal environment for harmful bacteria to grow if they are not promptly used or frozen. For optimal freshness and food safety, trimmings should be used within 2-3 days of collection.

In terms of flavor, trimmings pack a real punch. Since flavor compounds accumulate on the exterior during aging, trimmings offer an extremely concentrated beefy taste. They have a profound umami quality and may come across as almost livery due to their high glutamate content.

Some find the flavor of trimmings too intense on their own. But used in the right ways and amounts, they can provide wonderful savoriness without overpowering other ingredients.

Creative Ways to Use Dry Aged Beef Trimmings

With their intense beefy flavors, dry aged beef trimmings shine when used to add richness, body and savory notes to dishes. Here are some delicious ways to transform trimmings into tasty eats:

Grind into Burger Blends

Blending a small amount (10-15%) of minced dry aged trimmings into your burger mix amps up beefy flavors. Use a coarse grind so you get bursts of intensity in each bite.

Flavor Soups and Stews

Add a few chunks of trimmings to simmering soups, stews and braises. This infuses the broth with rich umami. Remove the trimmings once cooked through.

Elevate Ground Meat Dishes

Stir minced trimmings into meatloaf, meatballs, chili, Bolognese sauce, lasagna or sausage mixes for a flavor boost. Use sparingly to avoid overpowering.

Make Flavored Butter or Oil

Steep trimmings in butter or oil to extract beefy essence, then strain. Use the infused fat to take potatoes, vegetables, eggs or bread to the next level.

Craft Intense Stock or Demi-Glace

Simmer trimmings in water with aromatics to extract an ultra-rich and beefy stock. Reduce further into an intense demi-glace.

Blend into Sausage Mixes

Mix a small amount of finely chopped trimmings into fresh sausage like breakfast sausage, kielbasa or meatballs. Adds great flavor.

Prepare Specialty Dogs

Dice trimmings and sauté with onions for intensely beefy hot dog or sausage topping. Or blend into all-beef hot dog mixtures.

Make Beef Jerky or Biltong

Slice trimmings thinly against the grain, marinate in a salty, spicy marinade, and dry into intense beef jerky or biltong.

Craft Dry Aged Beef Bacon

Cure trimmings like bacon, then slice thin and fry or bake into crazy delicious dry aged beef bacon.

Create Meaty Seasoning Blend

Pulse dried trimmings in a food processor into coarse flakes. Mix with salt, pepper and spices for a powerhouse dry seasoning rub.

Garnish Dishes

Finely mince or grate trimmings over finished dishes to add a final punch of beefy flavor. Great on steaks, burgers, pasta, pizza and more.

Make Gravy and Pan Sauces

Sauté trimmings in a pan to render fat and build fond. Add aromatics and liquid to make gravy or deglaze for richly flavored sauce.

Bake into Bread and Pizza

Knead a small amount of finely minced trimmings into pizza or bread doughs. Adds amazing flavor when baked.

Infuse Compound Butter

Allow softened butter to absorb flavors from trimmings for several hours or overnight in the fridge. Then remove trimmings and use beefy butter on steaks, bread and more.

Blend into Rubs and Marinades

Chop trimmings finely and mix with dried spices, herbs, oil, vinegar, garlic, shallots, etc to make intensely flavored rubs for meats or marinades for steak.

Make the Most of Your Dry Aged Beef

With their concentrated flavors and textures, dry aged beef trimmings require some creativity to transform from waste into delicious additions to all types of dishes. But a little ingenuity in the kitchen can go a long way towards getting the most out of your dry aged beef.

From intensely beefy burgers to rich stews, rubs and specialty bacons, the above tips should spark some ideas for ways to avoid wasting this highly flavorful byproduct. Just remember to use trimmings promptly for safety. With the right techniques, dry aged beef trimmings can be an incredible secret ingredient rather than an unwanted scrap.

How to: use dry aged pellicle for dry aged beef burger mix ~


What to do with dry age beef trimmings?

The trimmings of a dry-aged steak are just as edible as the steak itself. They can be even more flavorful since they’re packed with all the seasoning and flavor from the aging process. Most chefs and butchers will throw out this byproduct because of mold that is formed on the dry-aged meat.

What do you do with beef trimmings?

You can use them to make beef tallow, hamburger meat, homemade sausages, and Yorkshire pudding. You can also use them as meat moisturizer when smoking brisket. So if you have been throwing away brisket fat trimmings, you now know not to do that. The trimmings are far too precious to be chucked into the bin.

What to do with dry aged steak pellicle?

When aged in a dry-aging cooler with Himalayan salt like The Aging Room Chamber, the pellicle can be completely bacteria and mold-free, making it safe to eat. So, one of the most common uses for the pellicle is to make dry-aged burgers. It is also used in stocks and sauces to enhance the flavor.

What to do after dry aging beef?

Cut away any dried areas of fat, but leave behind as much of the good fat as possible. You are now ready to grill or cook your dry aged steak.

Can You Dry Age beef at home?

With careful attention and patience, it’s possible to dry age beef at home, for steaks with unparalleled flavor and tenderness. Dry-aged beef in a cast iron skillet. Damn, that looks good. This is the only method I know of that’ll get you that steakhouse-quality charring without the benefit of a grill or an 1,800°F broiler.

How do you Dry Age a subprimal steak?

Once the dry age process is complete, there are one of two ways to cut steaks from the sub-primal. The first option is to take the dry age process to personal preference, like 65 days, then remove it from the Steak Locker, butcher it with the tools discussed above, place the individual steaks into vacuum sealed bags and freeze until ready to cook.

What can you do with beef trimmings?

Sausages made with beef trimmings can range from mild to spicy, and are often served with a variety of toppings and condiments. Another culinary use of beef trimmings is rendering the fat for cooking purposes. Beef fat, also known as tallow, has a high smoke point and can be used for frying, sautéing, and roasting.

What to do with steak trimmings?

The thing about trimmings is that they’re usually comprised of a bit of fat, a bit of beef, and a lot of questions about using both those elements to the best of their individual and combined qualities. And a great way to do that is to season them up, fry them crispy, and put all those steak scraps and trimmings on top of a tasty salad.

Leave a Comment