What is Dry Aging?

What is Dry Aging?

 

Since centuries dry aging has been the method to make meat tasty and tender. Unfortunatly this method was replaced by wet aging where oxygen is blocked and the meat ages in its own juice. This leads often to a sour or metalic taste. With dry aging the meat develops a nutty or buttery tast which is superior to any wet aged beef.

Principally the following happens:

1st Water evaporates - the flavor concentrates

 

2nd Enzymes are activated - thus making the meat tender

 

What makes dry aged beef so unique and desireable?

Dry-aged meat is more tender, aromatic and wholesome as fresh slaughter or short aged meat. It also has a greater water-binding capacity, cooks faster and stays juicy. These qualities are given only when meat has long hung (dry aged). Conventional meat is usually 1 week hung - with bags of 55Grad you can extend the aging for up to 4 weeks and get all the dry aging benefits.

 

How do I know a tender meat?
Best by the finger pressure test. Press your finger into the meat. If the pressure point disappears quickly, the meat is aged only very short and is probably relatively leathery. The longer the pressure point stays, the longer the meat is aged and the more tender it is.

 

Aerobic vs. anaerobic meat aging

During a too long aging in anaerobic conditions (wet-aging - aging in vacuum) a metallic or sour taste can develop. This will never happen with dry aging.
In conducted blind tastings generally the Dry Aged Steak has won when comparing taste and sensoric. This has to do with the oxygen working during the maturation processes in the flesh, which positively affect the taste. When the meat is vacuumed in its own juices and is hermetically sealed no such flavor will develop. Apart from this the evaporation of the surplus water concentrates everything.

 

 

Fresh Meat

bright light red colour

a lot of moisture

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After 10 days Dry Aging:

Weight loss approx. 10 %

a light crust outside

the meat colour changed to dark red

no moist on the surface

 

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After 21 days:

additional weight loss of approx. 10%

thicker crust

very dark red colour

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What exactly happens during dry-aging?

When an animal dies, the metabolism automatically stops working. Hence, there is a lack of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the muscles of the cattle. ATP is a chemical compound that supplies the muscle with energy for relaxation. Without this ATP, the muscle proteins remain in a rigid bond. Thus, within 36 hours after slaughter, the meat becomes tough like leather. Finally, the tenderness of the Dry Aged steaks is a result of the glycogen still located in the muscle. Glycogen is a carbohydrate compound which serves as an energy reserve. Glycogen with the help of oxygen is then converted to lactic acid. In live cattle, the blood stream breaks down this acid, whereas it remains in the muscle of a dead animal. By the associated acidification of the meat, enzymes are activated (so called proteases) which break down the rigid connections between the muscle proteins and thus make the meat tender.