Koji - faux dry aging and curing
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
elk yinzer 12-Dec-17
LUNG$HOT 12-Dec-17
Franklin 12-Dec-17
Dirtman 12-Dec-17
elk yinzer 15-Dec-17
elk yinzer 15-Dec-17
JacobNisley 15-Dec-17
Stekewood 15-Dec-17
elk yinzer 19-Dec-17
Pat Lefemine 19-Dec-17
Woods Walker 19-Dec-17
APauls 19-Dec-17
BOWNUT 19-Dec-17
Hunts_with_stick 20-Dec-17
From: elk yinzer
12-Dec-17
At some point down an internet rabbit hole I discovered this stuff. Koji is a mold. It is a mold that was domesticated many millenia ago by the Chinese. It is responsible for soy sauce, miso, and sake, among the more well-known of its many uses. My laymans understanding is that it coverts proteins to amino acids, which results in savory or umami flavor. True dry aging as I understand it is basically the same concept, only enzymes and time break down the proteins and collagen instead of the accelerated action of the mold.

So I did some digging and there are a few people working with this stuff to do a mock dry age. It can also be used to cure charcuterie style with drying times reduced by multiples of at least 3 or 4.

My understanding is that freshly cultured koji is best, but takes some equipment to do so. In lieu, I bought some koji cultured rice on Amazon and intend to start playing around with it this weekend. I'll try to post a few of my exploits here.

Anyone else on bowsite crazy like me and experimented with this stuff? Care to share some insights? On the flipside if I disappear you'll know the China mold done got me...

From: LUNG$HOT
12-Dec-17
This sounds Like something out of the the teenage mutant ninja turtles playbook! Ha. Good luck and be safe brother!

From: Franklin
12-Dec-17
I play around with Curing...Sausage making and fermenting have not gotten into this Koji stuff. Sounds interesting.....is it a "ageing process" or Charcutierie?

From: Dirtman
12-Dec-17
I read an online article on F&S or OL about dry aging with Koji. I was intrigued by it. I’m interested in your results!

From: elk yinzer
15-Dec-17

elk yinzer's Link
Dirtman, I didn't see the F&S article until now. I was going off mostly a Cook's Science article. I did google the F&S article, and it's exactly what I am going for, minus the sous vide because I haven't gone down that rabbit hole yet. Maybe my next project.

Here's a link to that F&S article.

From: elk yinzer
15-Dec-17

elk yinzer's embedded Photo
Cover your eyes if you are a MAGA extremist, globalism is even ruining our darned venison!
elk yinzer's embedded Photo
Cover your eyes if you are a MAGA extremist, globalism is even ruining our darned venison!
elk yinzer's embedded Photo
Yep, that's mold
elk yinzer's embedded Photo
Yep, that's mold
elk yinzer's embedded Photo
Headed to the fridge to "age" for approximately 54 hours.
elk yinzer's embedded Photo
Headed to the fridge to "age" for approximately 54 hours.
The koji rice arrived from Amazon. It truly does look like very moldy rice. The koji itself has a slightly nutty, slightly pungent cheese-like aroma, but pretty mild. Not one word of English on the packaging, so I am just going off what I have found on the internet. Threw some in the blender and ran it into a flour-like consistency.

Thawed out some prime backstrap from a doe I killed in October. Gave it a heavy dusting of the koji flour, and left it on a rack, uncovered, in the fridge. Temp is 37 degrees.

Internet instructions say you want to let it “age” for 2 days, 3 max, or it dries out too much. I’ll cook this thing up Sunday night which should be about 54 hours, splitting the difference. Meant to do a before/after weigh-in, but forgot. Next time.

An issue here, unfortunately I’ve never actually had a dry-aged steak. On the bucket list but just haven’t got to it. So my point of comparison will be a “normal” backstrap.

Planning a bresaola-type cured product with a top round, that I will get started here when I have some time.

I’ve been doing some more reading on this stuff and people have reported good results using koji as a fish marinade also, so have lots of walleye and salmon to experiment with as well.

From: JacobNisley
15-Dec-17
I for one will be watching your results with interest. Please post away!

From: Stekewood
15-Dec-17
Look forward to the report!

From: elk yinzer
19-Dec-17

elk yinzer's embedded Photo
elk yinzer's embedded Photo
A little late to report back but cooked the backstrap up on Sunday.

Aged the backstrap in the refrigerator for a total of 56 hours. It was beginning to dry out and get a crust around the edges, don’t think I would have wanted to let it go another day.

I checked on the odor throughout the process and it was a slightly funky, earthy, meaty, mushroomy, parmesan sort of smell. Not totally off-putting, but wasn’t incredibly complex or appetizing either.

Rinsed off the koji which was mostly a paste-like consistency and patted the meat dry. Seasoned with some olive oil, salt, and pepper to keep things simple. Grilled over high heat, as per my usual, until internal temp hit 125 and let it rest for 10 minutes then sliced thin for serving. One of the things I commonly read about this process is that it browned or charred the meat a lot faster, which was definitely the case. The grill marks took to it really quickly, and there was a nice browned crust over the whole piece.

The texture, in my opinion, there was definitely some improvement there. Backstrap cooked this way doesn’t hurt for tenderness, but this was almost fork tender. Even the ends which cook fastest, and by logic would have absorbed the most koji through the muscle fibers, were really tender.

The taste was a bit more complex with some of those deep, earthy undertones, but it wasn’t quite as intense as I expected. That may have just been a function of under-salting it somewhat, as I wanted to pick up any flavors the koji imparted. More salt might coax out some of those savory elements.

More to follow, just getting started with this stuff.

From: Pat Lefemine
19-Dec-17
I’m intrigued but on this particular project I’m happy being a spectator. Kind of grosses me out putting Chinese bacteria on my food.

From: Woods Walker
19-Dec-17
Hmmm......from the same part of the world that eats raw fish, intestinal parasites and all.

No thanks.

From: APauls
19-Dec-17

APauls's embedded Photo
APauls's embedded Photo
Kudos to you for trying it! Someone always has to be the first.

From: BOWNUT
19-Dec-17
It needs a good cabernet to wash it down.

20-Dec-17
I make Bresola and it turns out great. I don't add any mold to it though. Keep us updated

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