Why is Beef Aged and what does hanging time have to do with the final product?
A lot actually. The longer you hang/ Dry-age beef, the more tender it becomes as the enzymes that are in the meat break down resulting in a more tender piece of meat.
Meat has been hung and dry aged after butchers discovered that this method makes beef more tender and flavorful than beef eaten immediately after slaughter and butchering.
In the 1960s, a combination of meat hanging’s expense and the new process of wet-ageing caused meat hanging to almost stop entirely.
Does this even matter? What is the difference between Dry & Wet-aging anyways? Let me break it down for you.
The process of 21 day, Dry-aging meat involves hanging the beef in a very specific, temperature controlled, environment. It is kept at just the right temp, so the meat doesn’t spoil. If the room is too hot, the process of dry ageing stops if it is too cold the water in the meat freezes instead of evaporating and the process again stops. To prevent bacteria developing on the meat, the room must be kept well ventilated. The meat must be checked on in regularly to ensure that the meat does not spoil. When the beef gets cut up more meat has to be trimmed off, but the result is so worth it. This is a much more labour intensive process for the butcher, compared to a 10-14 day hang, or wet-aged beef. We are very fortunate to have found a fantastic butcher who knows what they are doing and always meet our high standards which help to ensure you get the best meat.
Is there an alternative to Dry-aging beef, so you don’t lose as much meat?
You bet there is. The other process is called Wet-aging.
Wet-aging is a relatively recent technique that was developed in the 1960’s when advances in plastics and refrigeration made it possible. In this process, cuts of beef are vacuum-sealed in plastic and shipped to the market. The aging takes place in the 4-10 days between slaughter and sale if the meat if headed for the grocery store most of the wet aging process happens while the meat is in transit. Most of the meat you find in the grocery store is wet-aged. This has become a popular way of aging beef because it requires less space, and the temperature control isn’t a concern because of the plastic so there doesn’t need a special room just for hanging beef.
Which is better?
I can’t answer that it’s too tough, and it’s a matter of opinion depending on who you are and what your tastes are. Some people (like us) love the dry aged taste, where other people prefer the taste of wet-aged meat. All of the beef we sell by the cut or in our boxes are all Dry-aged because to us it’s just better!