Most beef eaters would agree that there is nothing quite like sitting down to a big, juicy, sizzling steak. But what makes a steak so delicious? Is one steak just like another?
We have been groomed to purchase the brightest red piece of beef in the case while at the same time, turn up our noses at beef that looks discolored and even dry. I challenge you to consider not just the cut of the steak, but also, how long it has been aged. If you’ve been told never to judge a book by its cover, then let me take this opportunity to introduce you to dry aging.
What is DRY AGED Beef?
Like wine and cheese, all beef has been aged to some degree before it reaches your grocery’s shelves and your fork. However, the difference is dry aging takes your favorite cuts to the highest height and deepest depth. Dry aging is a process that only high-end steakhouses have used for decades. Larger cuts of beef called primal cuts are hung unwrapped in temperature-controlled environments essentially to dry out, discolor, mold and grow old. In fact, some would argue the older the better! Sounds yummy, huh?
So Why is This Done?
Dry aging intensifies the flavor and tenderness naturally. It allows the enzymes to break down the fibers of the meat to create a tender chew. The drying out or water loss over a length of time will increase the flavor profile and create a beefier tasting GOOD STEAK! Ask yourself the question, Are you in the mood for any steak or do you want a GOOD STEAK? Hopefully, you feel my heart and you want a GOOD STEAK! One that is tender and flavorful all at the same time. Hey, who wants to keep gnawing on an impossible piece of meat after spending several hard-earned dollars on it? Not me!
Where Can I Get DRY AGED Steak?
The process of dry aging used to be exclusive to the masculine, wood-trimmed, cigar-scented steakhouses in places like downtown Manhattan or Chicago. Where well-dressed men ordered the biggest, thickest steaks in town and put it on their expense account. But now, you don’t need a dinner jacket to enjoy a GOOD STEAK!
High-end supermarkets have incorporated dry aging beef into their daily regimens. Beautiful glass-enclosed coolers and cases of all shapes and sizes, filled with mouthwatering, dry aged cuts of beef, adorn stores, strategically placed near the meat counter to invoke conversation and pique interest amongst foodies and beef connoisseurs.
Some Things Can’t Be Rushed
It’s hard to say why dry aging has taken so long to become mainstream and accessible to the Average Joe. Maybe because of cost, or maybe because of a lack of knowledge. Who knows? But like a finely aged steak, some of the best things can’t be rushed or manipulated. While some may say it’s been around for a while, it’s over the hill, it’s timeworn or gray, I prefer to say it’s perfectly AGED and simply delicious!!!
By: John Grimes
Associate Project Manager | Washington, DC