Sunday, September 17, 2017

Tri-Tip Warm Aging Experiment

This experiment will contrast Warm Aging with Traditional Sous-Vide Cooking Methods. That being said there must be a reason why I'm taking the time to run another experiment. I've already covered and documented why I love to warm age. I mean check out my cooking technique for my Ultimate Tri-Tip

Slam dunk game over so why another post or experiment? Well it's kind of twofold actually. I already have the answers to some of these questions but without data and a side by side comparison they're meaningless. When someone asks me a question I can give them my opinion and the data to back it up. Of course when when they ask about texture and taste it will be opinion only because it's subjective based on personal likes and dislikes. 

I'VE already addressed in previous posts why we Warm-Age, Dry-Brine and why we use Fish salt so that will not be covered here. If you're really curious about the "Why" Click HERE.

All Tri-Tips Dry-Brined at 1% with Red Boat Fish Salt  for 72 hrs and Sv at 133 F

Tri-Tip 1. Dry-Brine w/ Fish salt and Warm age at 104 for 3.5 hrs and finish at 133 for 6 hrs. Total time 9 hrs. (it took 12 minutes to get from 104 to 133). At the point the water temp hit 133 f I set the clock for 6 hours.

Tri-Tip 2.  SV for 6 hours

Tri-Tip 3. SV for 9 hours

Tri-Tip 4.  SV for 12 hours

All the Tri-Tips were SV as described above. They were Cold-Shock and placed in the
refrigerator overnight. The following day I removed them from the vac bags and dried them thoroughly to get an accurate weight. 

I prepped the meat for the sear as follows. I brushed on some butter and dusted them with spices and herbs. 

I conducted a blind taste test with my family. I tried to serve the same section of the Tri-Tip and of coursed sliced to the same thickness.

Here's the Data.... it explains a lot and very little at the same time.  First let me say that every Tri-Tip that came out of that bath was delicious. Secondly if I was to do this all again (and I will) I would have done a few things differently. For example I would have measured out the exact amount of butter I brushed on every tri-Tip although we are talking about grams. I would have done the same thing with the rub too. We're only talking about grams but the Data would have been more accurate. 

Some things that I could not control was the selection of the Tri-Tips. From the biggest to the smallest Tri-Tip there is a 6 oz difference. Not too bad all considering. In the butchers showcase I had 6 to choose from. I had him pick out the 4 that were closest in weight and size. What I could do and which is not feasible is to buy as case of 50 and select them myself. 

What is my opinion on taste and texture? Well we know this is not scientific and is completely subjective. The family did reach a consensus though. 

Tri-Tip # 1 which was warm aged had the best flavor and best texture. Very moist. We all agreed that Tri-Tip #4 which had the longest bath was just a tender as #1 but was not as moist and somewhat dry if you ask me. 

So with that we continued to taste and compare. It was actually kind of hard to enjoy our dinner because we kept tasting and tasting the meat.

I do want to bring up what I think is a contradiction based on numbers and taste. Look at the percentages of Tri-Tip #2 (21.82%) and #3 (18.82%). These numbers are inverted and are contrary to what is normal. #3 should have lost more moisture than #2 based on time in the bath. Maybe my palate is playing tricks on me but I prefered #3 to #2 because it tasted better and it was more tender. Why did this happen? It could be many things. The size of the Tri-Tip and their weight. Maybe the feed that they were fed?  The fibers of the beef. How they were slaughtered. Maybe the overall fat content skewed the results too. I dunno.

What I learn from this experiment? If you want to achieve optimum taste, tenderness and mitigate moisture loss Warm Aging is worth doing.