The Dry Aging process has two main purposes: Tenderization and Concentration of Flavor. Whilst the process takes time and comes with risks, the result makes it entirely justifiable. Dry aging is unmatched in its ability to naturally amplify the flavors of beef whilst making it truly tender. In this article we explore the process of dry aging and how it improves the taste and texture of meat.
What is the dry aging process?
It might not sound particularly pleasant, but the dry aging process involves putting a piece of meat into a temperature controlled environment for a period of time which allows the meat to get a flavor transformation. During the transformation process, moisture is drawn out from the meat, concentrating the flavor and tenderizing its texture.
Dry aging process- Tenderization
As for the tenderization, this reaction is a result of the enzymes that are naturally present within the muscle will break down the tougher fibers and connective tissue then creating a very tender piece of meat. This process actually makes the steak significantly more tender than a fresh steak.
Dry aging process- Concentration of flavor
As for the concentrated flavor, this process develops distinct notes that are nuttier and beefier. The desired flavor can be achieved by the length of time the beef is aged. Aging beef from 21 – 35 days creates a light nutty flavor, from 35 – 55 days creates a more mushroom likeness then beyond 65 days the flavor moves into a more pungent blue cheese characteristic. Up to a third of the volume of water is lost during this process through evaporation of the moisture within the outer layer of the meat that then concentrates its flavor.
When beef reaches this concentrated flavor, it’s often referred to as Umami, which translates to the Japanese word for Delicious. Umami, or savory-ness, is one of the five basic tastes along with salty, sweet, sour, and bitter. Its taste is often described as the meaty, savory deliciousness that deepens flavor.