48 Day Aged Steaks at Honey Creek Inn

Dry aged steak before trimming and cutting
Dry aged steak before trimming and cutting

Located only 15 miles northeast of downtown Grand Rapids sits the Village of Cannonsburg. When people aren’t visiting Cannonsburg for skiing, they are most likely visiting the corner of Honey Creek Ave and Cannonsburg Road for one of 3 things: Honey Creek Inn, the Grist Mill, or the Bottle Shop.

For those of you that are familiar with Cannonsburg it really should come as no surprise that owner of all three of these places, Don Kurylowicz, and his team are pushing the envelope with the introduction of their own dry aged steaks at the Honey Creek Inn.
Although dry aging of steaks is something most people associate with premier steakhouses in places like Chicago and New York ,the team at Honey Creek Inn is more than ready to take on this challenge.

Meat dry aging in the cooler
Meat dry aging in the cooler

The process starts at the Grist Mill with Gordy Aulbach, a butcher with over 41 years of experience. He performs the dry aging procedure which begins with a top of the line Chairman’s Reserve® Premium Choice Beef, which is the same meat sold at the meat counter upstairs. The entire piece of beef is wrapped in cheesecloth and placed into a temperature controlled cooler. The beef stays wrapped in the cooler for 48 days, and this is when the magic begins. The dry aging does is allows for the moisture to escape the meat. This evaporation process concentrates the flavor of the meat. Also, while the moisture is being pulled out, the proteins and fats are being broken down and transformed which softens the meat. Once the 48 days are up, the piece of beef is removed from the cooler, trimmed, cleaned and hand-cut into steaks.

Gordy Aulbach trimming the steaks.
Gordy Aulbach trimming the steaks.

Why did they settle on 48 days of aging, you might ask? After testing both longer and shorter periods of time, they found that the flavor profile was just right at 48 days. As Gordy describes it, “It was just rich enough of a flavor but not so rich that it didn’t taste like beef any longer”.

After the steaks have been prepared at the Grist Mill, they are literally walked across the street to Honey Creek Inn. There are not many restaurants, if any, that have the luxury of their own butcher shop supplying freshly cut meat right outside their front door!

 

Dry aged steaks on the grill.
Dry aged steaks on the grill.

From there, Chef Michael Alexander and his team of culinary experts take over. Chef Mike believes in letting the steak speak for itself and prepares it as minimally as possible and only seasons the steaks with garlic infused olive oil, salt, and fresh cracked pepper and then cooked to order on the char-broiler.

The cuts of dry aged beef that can be ordered vary on a daily basis depending what was cut fresh for them that day. The different cuts that you will see include T-Bones, Porterhouses and Bone-In Chicago Ribeyes. The taste is noticeably different compared to a normal steak. You’ll taste a more intense flavor that will be accompanied by a buttery texture with a subtle sweetness. A dry aged steak will be much easier to chew and will have the feeling of melting in your mouth. Additionally, unlike typical “premier” steakhouses, the steaks at Honey Creek Inn includes two entrée sides with the meal at no additional cost.

Dry aged porterhouse perfection.
Dry aged porterhouse perfection.

The question still remains, though, of why would a small town restaurant like the Honey Creek Inn want to get into the business of serving dry aged steaks? The owner, Don, explained it very simply when he said, “we wanted to create a place where someone can get a good dry aged steak in a casual fun atmosphere while not having to get all dressed up”.

-written by Aaron Reichel, edited by Chris Freeman

EatGR will be featuring some great food giveaways from The Grist Mill over the next 30 days so that some of you who are less acquainted with their products have a chance to try them out.

Honey Creek Inn: 8025 Cannonsburg Rd NE, Cannonsburg, Mi 49317

Grist Mill: 8000 Cannonsburg Rd NE, Cannonsburg, Mi 49317

The Bottle Shop: 8011 Cannonsburg Rd NE, Cannonsburg, Mi 49317