To the beef connoisseurs out there, the choice whether to eat or not to eat dry aged beef is not even a question. But to the eager learner, there is a whole world of difference between fresh beef, wet aged beef and dry aged beef. Today we will explore how and why the dry aging process takes much longer, with a minimum of 21 days, but with good reason.
What is Dry Aged Beef?
There are many ways to enjoy a good cut of steak, where most people are familiar with are wet aged and dry aged, but today our focus will be on dry aged. A dry aged steak generally takes between 7 to 120 days of aging. The meat is usually hung in a secluded chamber to control its exterior effect on the meat. This ensures that the beef does not go bad while its ageing and that the right level of moisture will not rot the meat, which is caused by bacteria that forms a protective crust which is removed before the meat is cooked. When meat is dry aged over a long time, the fibres connecting the meat are broken down by the bacteria, leaving a more tender and flavourful cut.
What Keeps Dry Aged Steaks From Rotting?
When meat is dry aged (or aged in any form), what happens is that the meat is allowed to break down without rotting. This is why its utmost important to take care of the aging process. Factors for ageing include good air flow which helps to form a crust around the meat protecting the meat on the inside, and humidity which controls the level of moisture loss.
Why Are Himalayan Salt Dry Ageing Chambers Better?
There are many ways to age beef, one method is through dry bags, but the most effective way of dry aging beef is in a salt chamber, especially Himalayan pink salt. Because of the unique composition of the Himalayan pink salt, the meat is aged in a very controlled environment. The antibacterial properties ensure that there isn’t over decomposition of the meat, allowing for a more controlled ageing process as opposed to dry bags.
Why Is Dry Aged Beef More Expensive?
One of the main reasons that dry aged beef is more expensive is the time it takes for maturation. In 7 days, the fibres will start to break down, but flavour isn’t quite there yet. In 21 days, the meat loses roughly 10 % of moisture and will begin to darken in colour and is actually the beginning of a good aged steak. In 30 days, the flavour and texture that you know as dry aged steaks will start to appear, this is also the most common ageing period. Some steaks are aged 45 days and above, but those are for more serious steak eaters as the aroma can be quite funky by then which is loved by some.
How Do You Choose A Dry Aged Steak?
When looking for a cut that is perfect for dry aged beef, try going for cuts that have fat covering them for protection such as any cut with ‘bone-in’. This adds a layer of protection around the meat ensuring maximum moisture loss. Such cuts that are best enjoyed with are the rib eye, sirloin or tenderloin, all preferably with the bone in if possible for maximum flavour and texture. When it comes to ageing beef, nothing can beat the test of time, so the longer the better. We recommend cuts that have been aged at least 21 days and above.
Do visit our signature steakhouse for the perfect dry-aged steak at Marble 8 today!
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