Have you ever been to a steakhouse that offers dry-aged steak ? The chances are that you must have wondered what it means to have dry-aged meat and why such meat is a bit pricier. To understand the whole thing about aged meat, you need to relate it with most of the culinary delights, such as wine and cheese, which get better with age. Like these delights, red meat gets better with age, and the flavor improves, all these helping to deepen our enjoyment of the flesh.
Below are some of the frequently asked questions about dry-aged meat :
How Is Meat Dry-Aged?
Although not the best way to describe it, dry-aging meat is essentially a regulated decay process. In exposing the cuts to oxygen, the natural enzymes in the meat are empowered to work. These enzymes are aerobic bacteria and rely on oxygen to survive and work, so when they get the supply, they get a boost to come alive. And they embark on disintegrating the meat’s molecular bonds.
The dry-aging room is a room packed with moldy carcasses. For the process to happen, the meat hangs in an environment whose humidity is regulated. That way, all the sides of the cut get exposed to unimpeded airflow. In addition to the enzymes, a good mold gets a chance to act on the meat and gradually start to break it down and accelerate the evaporation rate. Before you get to enjoy the meat on your plate, the mold is trimmed away, and a tenderized, delicious cut is left behind.
Which Are the Best Cuts for Dry-Aging?
Ideally, for dry-aging, entire primals are better, instead of single steaks. However, the meat that qualifies as the best candidate for dry aging is the one protectively covered with a bone or fat to have less surface area that will be trimmed away after the aging. This also explains why fillets are typically not dry-aged since they have no bone or fat protecting them. That would mean every side that gets exposed to air breaks down speedily than the meat on the inner area.
Why Is Dry-Aged Meat More Costly?
Contrary to the common belief that steakhouses and other meat joints slap customers with high prices because of the fancy moniker, dry-aged meat costs more to produce. Due to moisture loss and trimming away the moldy parts, the butcher or the steakhouse could lose up to 50% of the original weight of the cut. Consequently, the cost they paid for it doubles. Because of the high costs, you also pay a higher price for a menu of dry-aged meat.