Dry-aged beef is significantly different to the shrink-wrapped, wet-aged beef you’d usually buy at the supermarket. These days, many restaurants offer it up as a preferable alternative. And once you’ve tried it, it’s not hard to understand why – it has some very unique characteristics.
However, as a sought-after, high quality product, it’s obviously much more expensive than wet-aged beef. But the good news is that you can actually dry-age beef from the comfort of your own kitchen. And it’s actually really easy!
What is dry-aged beef?
All beef products undergo some sort of ageing treatment that allows for appropriate preservation of the meat and safe eventual consumption. The wet-ageing process (also known as cryovacing) preserves beef in shrinkwrap, preventing it from exposure to bacteria – but that’s as much as it does.
Effective dry-ageing, on the other hand, involves the drying and dehydration of beef in a constant, controlled environment. This promotes safety while also enhancing the taste and texture of the beef.
How is it different?
There are definitive, noticeable differences between wet-aged and dry-aged beef. The dry-ageing process breaks down certain protein and fat strands in the meat, softening it dramatically. It also releases a naturally occurring gas byproduct in the meat, which alters and heightens the flavour. From there, the beef starts to dehydrate, and the flavours really start “pushing” through.
Dry-ageing at home
The above video gives you a great insight into how you can easily dry-age beef at home. Chef Ben Higgs guides us through the process, from removing the beef from its anaerobic ageing environment, to finding our enhanced final product.
- Cut off the portion of beef you want to dry-age
- Carefully wrap it in muslin cloth or an antibacterial cloth (eg Chux)
- Tie the wrapped meat with butcher’s twine
- Place on a rack tray and secure in the fridge
- Leave to dry-age for up to a week
Once your beef is dry-aged, you’ll notice its significantly reddened colour. Then, once you’ve cooked it, you’ll notice the sensationally heightened, strong, sweet flavour.
Check back on our blog for more tips on handling and treating our beef products, as well as ideas for recipes you can try out on your dry-aged beef.