Dry-aged beef. It's a phrase that gets fancy steak-lovers' mouths all drooly. The magic dance of enzymes and moisture reduction creates out-of-this-world flavour and tenderness that, unless you've got restaurant-grade equipment, you can't recreate at home. Steaklocker wants to change that, with a device on Kickstarter that promises to bring that meaty magic to your home kitchen.
True dry-ageing takes about 21 days for full effect. Moisture leaves the meat, giving you a more concentrated flavour, and enzymes tenderise the muscle to melt-in-your-mouth butteriness. But leaving an unwrapped steak in your fridge for three weeks will probably give you the experience of e.coli poisoning, rather than five-star steakhouse dining.
So Steaklocker came up with a home-sized ageing cabinet that, for a pre-order pledge of $555 (£328), runs significantly cheaper than the £3,000 or so that a restaurant-grade meat locker will set you back. And with built-in technology that promises to monitor and adjust the temperature and humidity, and a smartphone app that works like a beef baby monitor, you'll know exactly when your steaks have reached peak deliciousness. Plus, an in-cabinet UV lamp stops your raw meats from becoming a bacterial breeding ground—something your home fridge definitely doesn't offer.
As with all Kickstarter projects, caveat backer. The folks behind Steaklocker say they've figured out the tech side of the project, and just need the funding to kick off production, in the land of crowd-funding there are no guarantees. And even with a 65-lb. capacity and Steaklocker's claim that you'll save at least 50% compared to market prices for dry-aged beef, you'd still have to grill a whole lot of steaks to break even on this investment. Then again, that would be one delicious challenge.
Of course, you can sorta-kinda fake the dry-ageing process a little bit using Alton Brown's three-day fridge method. Naturally, it's not the same as the real thing. And if the difference is enough to bother you, and you've got a 34-inch gap in your kitchen cabinets that's begging for a bona-fide dry-ager, maybe it's time to steak your claim on a Steaklocker. [Kickstarter via Wired UK]