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 $US555, runs significantly cheaper than the $US5000 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: while the folks behind Steaklocker say they have 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 86cm 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]