The art of dry ageing
Dry ageing is a process that’s old as the hills. It involves maturing meat in a specific way until a blackened crust forms on the outside – don’t worry; this bit’s cut off before we cut the steaks or roasts! Dry ageing makes a huge improvement to both the flavour and the texture of meat – but there’s an art to it...
What is dry ageing?
Dry ageing is simply the act of ‘hanging’ meat to mature. It’s been done ever since early people realised that matured meat was much nicer to eat! It must be done in specially controlled conditions, otherwise the meat will simply go off. Different cuts are aged for different lengths of time, and it takes an experienced butcher to know exactly when a cut of meat has been aged to perfection.
How do we do it?
Our prime cuts of meat sit in a special area known as ‘the chill’. The biggest bits are hung on hooks, and the smaller cuts are carefully spaced out on large racks, so that air can circulate around them. The temperature, airflow and humidity are all controlled to miniscule amounts – it’s quite a scientific process! Our Butchers go in and turn the meat every day, to help it mature evenly. When they judge it to be at exactly the right point of maturation, they cut it and professionally freeze it, so you know that when you serve it at home, it will be just right.
Why do we do it?
Two main things happen during dry ageing. Firstly, moisture evaporates, which shrinks the meat and concentrates the flavour. Secondly, natural enzymes and harmless airborne microbes get to work and actually break down the muscle structure of the meat, making it much more tender and giving a beautifully rounded depth to the flavour.
These also give the famous black crust, which is then cut off.
Frequently asked questions...
Isn’t ‘fresh’ meat better?
What should a dry aged steak look like?
How long should you dry age for?
Why does it cost more?
Can I do it at home?
Our big four dry aged steaks
Our dry aged veal