refrigerators for dry aging

7 Best Refrigerators for Dry Aging [2023]

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In the world of culinary artistry, the pursuit of exceptional flavor and tenderness has led chefs and home enthusiasts alike on a quest to master the craft of dry aging.

In 2023, the evolution of technology and innovation continues to transform the landscape of dry aging, offering a range of dedicated refrigerators that serve as the ultimate vessels for this transformative process.

So, what are the best dry-aging refrigerators? It depends on your needs. However, as a starting point, we’d recommend getting one that has, at the very least, temperature, humidity, and airflow control.

Join us as we delve into the world of the 7 best refrigerators for dry aging, each meticulously designed to nurture and enhance the flavors of your meat, presenting you with a symphony of taste, texture, and aroma. 

History of Dry Aging

In the realm of culinary craftsmanship, one practice stands out as an exquisite fusion of science and artistry – dry aging.

The origins of dry aging can be traced back to antiquity when our ancestors discovered that allowing meat to naturally age under controlled conditions led to improved flavor and tenderness.

Early civilizations, such as the Greeks and Romans, practiced rudimentary forms of dry aging by hanging meats in cool, dry environments. In medieval Europe, the technique was refined as meats were stored in underground cellars, harnessing the natural elements for transformation.

What is Dry Aging?

Dry aging is a controlled process in which whole cuts of beef (and occasionally other meats) are stored, typically in refrigerated environments, with controlled temperature, humidity, and air circulation.

Unlike wet aging, where meat is vacuum-sealed, dry aging relies on the interaction between the meat’s surface and the surrounding air.

As the meat ages, enzymes naturally present in the meat’s tissues break down proteins, fats, and connective tissues, resulting in a concentration of flavors and enhanced tenderness.

Functions and Benefits

Dry aging amplifies the natural flavors of the meat, leading to a more robust, nutty, and even slightly sweet taste. The breakdown of complex proteins into amino acids contributes to this flavor transformation.

The breakdown of collagen and elastin during the dry aging process results in increased tenderness. This enzymatic activity softens the meat’s texture, making it more succulent and enjoyable to eat.

As moisture evaporates from the meat, the flavors become more concentrated, intensifying the overall taste profile.

Controlled exposure to air encourages the growth of beneficial molds on the meat’s surface. These molds help further break down the meat’s proteins and contribute unique flavors.

The Dry Aging Process

High-quality cuts with a significant amount of marbling (fat) are preferred for dry aging. Prime ribeye and sirloin are popular choices.

The meat is hung on racks in a refrigerated chamber set to a specific temperature (32-38°F) and humidity (80-85%) levels. Proper sanitation and air circulation are critical to prevent spoilage.

dry aging process

Dry aging can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on desired results. Longer aging times intensify the flavor and tenderness but also lead to greater moisture loss.

After aging, the outer dried layer (bark) is removed, along with any hardened fat or tissue. The remaining inner meat is then cut into individual portions.

Dry-aged meat is best cooked using dry heat methods like grilling, broiling, or searing, which preserve the enhanced flavors and textures.

What Type of Refrigerator Do You Need for Dry Aging?

Just as an artist selects their canvas and palette with care, a master of the culinary arts meticulously chooses their tools.

In the world of dry aging, the refrigerator takes center stage as the vessel that orchestrates the transformation of meat into a symphony of flavors and textures.

There are two types you can invest in: a store-bought dry aging refrigerator, or a DIY version of one.

1. Dedicated Dry Aging Refrigerators

Dedicated dry aging refrigerators, purpose-built for this unique process, are the gold standard for achieving the finest results.

These refrigerators allow users to set and maintain specific temperature ranges (32-38°F) and humidity levels (80-85%), creating the ideal conditions for enzymatic activity and moisture evaporation.

Adequate air circulation is paramount in preventing the growth of harmful bacteria and ensuring even aging across the meat’s surface. Dedicated dry-aging refrigerators are designed with efficient air circulation systems.

Many specialized units incorporate UV protection to shield the meat from harmful radiation while still allowing the necessary visible light.

To prevent off-flavors caused by contaminants, these refrigerators often feature carbon filters that purify the air inside the unit.

Internal racks or hooks that come with the units provide ample space for hanging and storing meat cuts, ensuring proper air exposure.

2. DIY Dry Aging Chambers

For those who love to dive deep into the art of culinary experimentation, building a DIY dry-aging chamber can be an exciting endeavor.

This involves converting a regular refrigerator into a controlled aging environment. That being said, it’s a lot of work and requires some expertise.

DIY chambers require the installation of additional equipment, such as temperature and humidity controllers, to regulate the environment. These components allow for customization but require technical expertise.

They also may need modifications to ensure proper air circulation. Fans and baffles can be added to achieve uniform aging.

Accurate monitoring of humidity and temperature levels is crucial. Hygrometers and thermometers help maintain consistency but need to be installed properly.

DIY setups should also try to incorporate UV-protective films and filters to mimic the safeguards found in dedicated units.

Which One Is Best?

Deciding between a dedicated dry aging refrigerator and a DIY chamber depends on your level of expertise, commitment, and budget.

While dedicated units offer convenience and reliability, DIY chambers allow for customization and a hands-on approach.

Whichever route you choose, remember that the refrigerator is not just an appliance; it’s a vessel that carries the potential to create culinary masterpieces.

Buyer’s Guide for Dry Aging Refrigerators

Now, today our focus is primarily on buying a dry aging fridge, not building one from scratch.

meat dry-aging

So, as always, we’ve created a comprehensive buyer’s guide that will help you narrow down the best choice for you.

Size and Capacity

Determine the amount of meat you intend to dry age at a given time. Choose a refrigerator with sufficient capacity to accommodate your needs without overcrowding the space, which can hinder proper air circulation.

Temperature Control

Opt for a unit that offers precise temperature control within the recommended range of 32-38°F (0-3.3°C). Accurate temperature regulation is vital for the enzymatic processes that enhance flavor and tenderness.

Humidity Management

Look for a refrigerator with humidity control settings that can maintain a consistent level between 80-85%. Adequate humidity prevents excessive moisture loss during aging.

Air Circulation

Effective air circulation is critical to ensure even aging and prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms. Choose a model with a well-designed air circulation system.

UV Protection

UV light can negatively impact the aging process and flavor development. Opt for a refrigerator with UV-protected glass or internal coatings to shield the meat from harmful radiation.

Carbon Filtration

Check if the unit includes a built-in carbon filtration system to keep the air inside the refrigerator clean and free from odors.

Construction Quality

Look for a refrigerator made from durable and hygienic materials that are easy to clean. Stainless steel interiors are often preferred for their cleanliness and longevity.

Features and Benefits

A user-friendly digital control panel allows you to easily set and monitor temperature and humidity levels, ensuring precise and consistent conditions.

Some models offer multiple zones with independent temperature and humidity controls, allowing you to age different types of meats simultaneously.

Adjustable shelving and racks provide flexibility in arranging meat cuts of various sizes, ensuring optimal air exposure.

Refrigerators with secure locking mechanisms prevent unauthorized access and provide peace of mind, especially if you have children at home.

Choose a refrigerator with quiet operation to ensure minimal disruption to your living space.

Brand Reputation and Reviews

Research reputable brands that specialize in dedicated dry-aging refrigerators. Look for customer reviews and testimonials to gain insights into the performance, durability, and customer satisfaction associated with different models.

Budget Considerations

Dedicated dry-aging refrigerators vary in price based on features, brand, and size. While investing in quality is important, consider your budget and choose a model that offers the essential features you need without exceeding your financial limits.

7 Best Refrigerators for Dry Aging [2023]

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best refrigerators for dry aging that are currently on the market.

refrigerator for dry aging

As always, we’ve included a wide range of options that caters to a variety of needs. If you’re still not sure which product works best for you, check the buyer’s guide above.

RankProductKey Feature
1.PRO 40 Steakager
The PRO 40 Steakager offers a generous capacity and advanced features for dry aging enthusiasts.
2.DRYAGER UX 500The DRYAGER UX 500 offers a substantial capacity of 350 liters (12.4 cu. ft.) and advanced features for precise dry aging control.
3.Primo Ager PAG-1800The Primo Ager PAG-1800 offers a substantial 286 lbs storage capacity for exceptional dry aging, complete with advanced technology and a UV-protected door.
4.Steak Locker Home Dry Age Fridge
The Steak Locker Home Dry Age Fridge offers a convenient home solution with a capacity of up to 65 lbs, advanced monitoring, and UV protection for precise dry aging.
5.SteakAger PRO 15The SteakAger PRO 15 offers a capacity of up to 15 lbs and features patented technology for optimal dry aging results.
6.Steak Locker Studio Dry Age RefrigeratorThe Steak Locker Studio Dry Age Refrigerator offers a compact design while safely accommodating up to 45 lbs of premium cuts, providing space-efficient dry aging with the option for real-time monitoring through an iOS companion app.
7.DRYAGER UX 1000The DRYAGER UX 1000 boasts an impressive 220 lbs capacity and advanced features including UVC sterilization and humidity control for optimal dry aging.

1. PRO 40 Steakager

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PRO 40 Steakager

Introducing the PRO 40 Steakager, your gateway to exceptional dry-aged steak indulgence at home.

Crafted with cutting-edge dry aging technology powered by Danby, this refrigerator guarantees consistent fork-cut tenderness and intense, concentrated flavor that rivals top-tier steakhouses.

With a spacious 40lbs beef capacity and a sleek stainless steel exterior (17.5″ x 19.7″ x 32.8″ WxDxH), it effortlessly complements your kitchen.

Take command of temperature and humidity through the intuitive mobile app, ensuring a flawless dry aging process.

Proudly made in the USA, the PRO 40 Steakager embodies excellence in steak craftsmanship.

2. DRYAGER UX 500

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DRYAGER UX 500

The DRYAGER UX 500 is a compact yet powerful dry-aging fridge designed for culinary connoisseurs.

Craft your own delectable dry-aged beef, pork, game, fish, charcuterie, and jerky with German precision.

This marvelous appliance boasts a sleek matte black, powder-coated housing with a stainless steel and UV-protected glass door.

With a 44 lbs product capacity and cutting-edge features, it’s the ultimate culinary companion.

The UXAirReg technology ensures stable microclimates, while UVC sterilization safeguards against germs. Enjoy high precision humidity control (60-90%), micro temperature regulation (32°F-77°F), and low loss during maturing.

Easy handling and refined aesthetics make the DRYAGER UX 500 a standout addition to your kitchen.

3. Primo Ager PAG-1800

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Primo Ager PAG-1800

The Primo Ager PAG-1800 is a pinnacle of precision and performance for demanding kitchens.

With dimensions of H 180cm x W 67cm x D 73cm, a voluminous 12.4 cu. Ft capacity, and a massive 286 lbs storage, this heavy-duty commercial dry aging unit redefines culinary possibilities.

Crafted with an industrial-grade black bond alloy zinc exterior and a hairline stainless steel interior, it exudes durability.

The “Primo” evaporative and humidifying system ensures optimal conditions, while the UV air sterilizer guarantees freshness.

With 20+ presets, an adjustable temperature range (+1℃ to +16℃), and precise sensor sensitivity, this unit empowers chefs with consistent and controlled aging. A true marvel for culinary excellence.

4. Steak Locker Home Dry Age Fridge

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Steak Locker Home Dry Age Fridge

The Steak Locker Home Dry Age Fridge – a smart solution for the modern home chef.

With 24/7 monitoring, inventory tracking, and notifications, this dry-age fridge ensures culinary excellence with ease.

Crafted from 304 anti-microbial stainless steel, it offers a capacity of 65 lbs (29kg) and a usable volume of 119 L (4.2 cu. ft.).

Featuring a temperature range of 32°F – 72°F and a digital control panel, it empowers precise control. Additional highlights include dual-pane UV tinted glass, a reversible door swing, and a 1-year warranty.

5. SteakAger PRO 15

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SteakAger PRO 15

Experience the SteakAger PRO 15 and take your home cooking to new heights.

This in-fridge meat curing chamber lets you savor the delectable taste of restaurant-quality dry-aged steaks right in your kitchen. It’s an all-in-one package that even includes a Truss shelf rack for easy beef preparation.

The versatile design fits seamlessly into any fridge, whether you prefer vertical or horizontal orientation. With patented technology, your steak’s environment is meticulously controlled for perfect dry aging.

Stay connected through the SteakAger App, monitoring your masterpiece anytime, anywhere.

Crafted with care in the USA, its sturdy stainless steel and plastic construction come with a 12-month warranty.

6. Steak Locker Studio Dry Age Refrigerator

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Steak Locker Studio Dry Age Refrigerator

The Steak Locker Studio Dry Age Refrigerator is a compact marvel with robust capabilities.

Safely holding up to 45 lbs of premium cuts, it offers potential savings of up to 75% compared to restaurant costs.

With dimensions of 34.44″ H x 15.55″ W x 21.45″ D, it’s designed to fit seamlessly into your space.

While boasting a single temperature zone (32F – 50F), it’s optimized for dry aging, not charcuterie.

Crafted from 304 Stainless Steel, it exudes durability. Pair it with the optional iOS companion app for real-time monitoring and notifications. Elevate your culinary journey with this space-efficient dry-age refrigerator.

7. DRYAGER UX 1000

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The DRYAGER UX 1000, is a dry aging cabinet that elevates capacity and innovation. With a striking matte black housing, it accommodates up to 220 lbs of dry-aged beef, pork, game, and more.

Its unique design, made in Germany, showcases optimal airflow, UVC sterilization, and humidity control (60% to 90%).

The stainless steel, lockable door with UV protection embodies durability.

External dimensions of 64.96″ H x 27.56″ W x 29.21″ D host an expansive 17.0 cu. ft. internal capacity.

Exceptional energy efficiency, dimmable LED lighting, and UL certification make the DRYAGER UX 1000 a pinnacle of dry aging technology, catering to larger quantities and culinary aspirations.

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