Isn’t ‘fresh’ meat better?
You would think so, wouldn’t you? But believe it or not, if you tried to cook and eat a piece of beef that hadn’t been matured at all, it would be so tough and rubbery you’d hardly be able to chew it. It wouldn’t taste of very much, either!
What should a dry aged steak look like?
Fresh meat is bright red and springy to the touch. Dry aged meat is darker – more of a gentle maroon – and might be darker yet towards the edges. It might also be slightly mottled, and has a firmer texture than fresh meat. All of this is completely natural and is the sign of a steak that will eat beautifully!
How long should you dry age for?
The optimum maturation time depends on the cut. Naturally tender cuts like fillet (which is an underused muscle) need less time to mature, because the enzymes have less work to do in tenderising the meat. Our fillet is dry aged for 21 days, our sirloin for 28 days, and our rump and ribeye for at least 35 days. These are guidelines only – our Butchers know how to judge the exact point a cut is at its best by eye and feel, and we’ll always go with our Butchers’ expertise rather than an arbitrary time. We mature our meat for longer than most of the meat you’d buy elsewhere, but we know it’s worth the extra effort and expense.
Dry ageing is an expensive process. You’ve got to set aside a special area, for starters, and this has to be kept in very strict conditions, 24 hours a day. Refrigeration, fans for air circulation, humidity regulation – these all add up. Plus there’s the Butcher’s time, every day, examining and turning the meat. You’ve got to account for the amount of weight lost to shrinkage as moisture evaporates – this can be up to 5 or 10% of the final product weight. And lastly, you’ve got to cut off the blackened crust and throw it away. Not much wonder it’s pricey!
Sorry, but you really can’t. It needs very specific conditions that have to be regulated and checked, 24 hours a day. Ours have been worked out to the most miniscule of degrees, and our Butchers are very secretive about the actual process! Trying to replicate these conditions at home would be almost impossible and would certainly create a health risk. It’s definitely best to leave it to the experts.