Dry aged meat is terrific! The quality is fantastic! The meat is tender and delicious.
Beef is more suitable than veal, lamb and pork because it is an older animal and has the fat content to withstand dry ageing process. Therefore it shouldn’t dry out during this process. Younger animals lack the fat content so the meat is prone to dry out. That is why butchers usually dry age beef (over the other main land animals).
During the dry aging process the enzymes that are present in the meat fibres break down those fibres making the meat tender (same as the wet ageing process).
Also there is moisture loss to the exterior of the meat which improves the meat’s flavour.
The dry ageing environment has to be very controlled. The temperature has to be precise 0- 2 degrees C (32 -35 degrees F). any lower and the enzymes will not breakdown the muscle fibres (causing the meat to become tender). Any higher and the meat is prone to bacteria.
The humidity must be around 85 -90%. Any lower and the meat will be too dry and any higher and the meat will be too soggy.
Butcher’s allocate refrigeration space to dry age.
Dry aged meat is usually dearer (than meat that hasn’t been dry aged) because:
- It takes time
- It takes refrigeration space
- There is weight loss. The butcher has to factor this into his/her costs.
My opinion is that it is so well worth purchasing dry aged meat for the taste and tenderness. You cook this meat and it will turn out fantastic!