During the dry aging process a crust or bark will form on the outside of the cut of beef you are dry aging. The formal name for this is the pellicle. For most people the question is what do I do with it? Is it simply a byproduct of the process, in essence waste or is there a deeper story here. The pellicle ranges in depth depending on the dry aging environment from about 1/8 in to a full ¼ in. Due mainly in part to the fact that the outer portion of the beef is constantly exposed to a fairly substantial flow of air, the pellicle forms a hard outer layer containing almost no moisture. This means that the flavor of beef is very very concentrated.
When looking at it and then carving it off, one could easily see why people are perplexed as to what you can do with it. Well first of all you must know that due to a UVC light, the pellicle is completely bacteria and mold free and completely safe to eat. So now the only question is what to do with it.
Let’s start with the complete no brainer. Dry aged steak burgers. To accomplish this you will need a meat grinder. We prefer the Kitchenaid grinder attachment because it is powerful and is easily stored. That being said there are lots of grinders available. First the pellicle, once removed needs to be soaked in a bowl of cold water for about 1 hour to soften it up. From there I like a double grind so it is nice and smooth. You will notice a good amount of fat and the dark complexion from the dried beef; this is where the entire flavor is.
Once the grind is complete, it is time to create dry aged steak burgers. Go to the grocery store and buy several lbs. of 80/20 ground chuck. The 80/20 refers to the beef fat ratio and for our liking this was perfect. Combine the ground beef with the ground pellicle in a 4:1 ratio. Fat chunks will be sticking out and your burgers will have a darker complexion and they will be the best burger you ever eat. Remember the cook very quickly so be careful.