There is nothing quite like a perfectly cooked dry-aged steak. The problem is that most home cooks and sometimes restaurant chefs don’t know how to cook a steak properly. In this article, I will teach you how to cook a dry-aged steak the right way. It’s not as difficult as you might think! You’ll need a few ingredients: kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, and fresh thyme. Preheat the skillet or grill (optional), and give the steak a good sear. Then continue cooking on medium heat to the desired doneness.
Often I go to my local butcher shop to buy dry-aged steak. Well, not that often – once a month. If you cook it properly – you can have the best experience eating steak (similar to wagyu steak).
Make sure to check a dry-aged steak buying guide if you haven’t bought steak yet!
How To Cook a Dry-Aged Steak
Dry-aged steak has been aged for a while, typically between two and eight weeks. During this time, the steak will lose moisture and develop a more intense flavor. It can be expensive, but it is worth the price for those who enjoy the taste of well-aged meat.
Follow the step-by-step guide below to cook the perfect dry-aged steak. After all, you do not want to waste your money on an overcooked steak.
Here’s the ingredient list you’ll need:
- Dry-aged ribeye steak (optional)
- Kosher salt;
- Freshly ground black pepper;
- Fresh thyme;
- Light olive oil (use any other high smoke point oil).
Here’s the equipment list you need:
- Cast iron skillet or pan with a heavy bottom (here’s a list of some of the best pans for cooking steak);
- Meat thermometer;
- Sharp knife;
- Cutting board;
- Paper towel.
Step 1: Thaw the steak
Thaw a dry-aged steak in the refrigerator for 24 hours. It will allow the steak to slowly thaw, which will help to preserve its flavor and texture and prevent it from drying out. However, if you are short on time, you can also place the steak in a sealable bag and submerge it in cold water. Keep in mind that this method should only be used if absolutely necessary, as it can cause the steak to lose some of its flavors.
Step 2: Bring steak to room temperature
Take the steak out of a fridge and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes to an hour before cooking. In the meantime, while the steak is coming to room temperature, season it with a generous amount of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Kosher salt will tenderize the meat (not that it needs to be more tender), while the black pepper will add an excellent depth of flavor. No additional seasoning is required since dry-aged steak has a rich flavor profile.
Step 3: Pat dry steak
Step 4: Sear the steak
Place the dry-aged steak over high heat and give it a good sear for at least a minute and a half on both sides. If pan-frying the steak, preheat the skillet until it starts to smoke before cooking. If using a charcoal grill or gas grill, set it for two-zone cooking with direct and indirect heat. Place the steak over a high heat area on the grill and give the steak a good sear.
Step 5: Cook on medium heat
When steak develops a nice brown crust, turn the heat down on a stove to medium and continue cooking to the desired doneness. When grilling the steak, move it to an indirect heat area and continue grilling to your liking. Flipping the steak every few minutes is essential to achieve even doneness. About halfway through cooking, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the steak to check the temperature. Alternatively, use a finger test method to check the doneness. When pan-frying the steak, finish it off with a knob of butter and fresh thyme. Baste the steak with a tablespoon. Melted butter will add even more flavor to an already flavorsome dry-aged steak. Remove steak from the heat source when the internal temperature is 5° Fahrenheit below the desired doneness.
Step 6: Leave the steak to rest
Leave the steak to rest for at least 5 minutes, depending on the steak size. It’ll allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making it more tender and flavorful. When you cut into a steak that has not been allowed to rest, all juices will run out, leaving the meat dry and tough. So be patient and let your steak rest for at least five minutes before cutting into it.
Steak Temperature Chart
- Rare steak: 125° F;
- Medium rare steak: 135° F;
- Medium steak: 145° F;
- Medium-well steak: 150° F;
- Well done, steak: 160° F
Take a meat thermometer and stick it into the thickest part of the meat to check its doneness.
I like to use the finger test method since it’s accurate and does not require any equipment. For most home cooks, it can be hard to determine the doneness of a steak just by touching it. Here’s a video explaining how to use the finger test method:
Note: thick steak takes longer to cook but at the same time it’s more forgiving meaning there’s more room for error when cooking. Grilling thin steak cuts or pan-frying takes more skill since they overcook much faster.
Dry-Aged Steak Buying Guide
Here’s what you need to know before buying dry-aged steak:
- When buying dry-aged steak, choose the best cut there is. It can be t-bone, ribeye, porterhouse, or NY strip steak. These steak cuts have the best marbling and are known for tenderness and fantastic flavor.
- Dry-aged steak is typically aged for at least 21 days and up to several months. If you’re unsure how long you like your steak aged, start with 21 days and go from there. Keep in mind that the longer the steak is aged, the more intense its flavor. Ask your butcher for their recommendation. It may take a few tries to get the sweet spot for your taste buds, but trust me that you’ll never want to look back once you find that sweet spot.
- USDA Prime is the highest quality grade of beef and is what you’ll want to look for when buying dry-aged steak. After all, you’re not eating dry-aged steak every day, so you might as well treat yourself to the best quality steak.
- Only purchase beef from a reliable butcher shop (online retailer or specialty store). Dry-aged steak can be pretty expensive, so you’ll want to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth. Some butchers are using in-house rating systems, which are not always reliable.
Can you pan fry dry-aged steak?
Yes, you can pan-fry a dry-aged steak. In fact, it’s the easiest way to cook a dry-aged steak since it takes only a few minutes.
Should you salt dry-aged steak?
You should salt dry-aged steak before cooking. It’s best to do it 30 minutes before cooking. The salt will help to bring out the flavor of the meat. Additionally, salt the steak after cooking if you feel the need for it.