So why bother? Eating red meat is something that should be done in moderation. As we evolved into a fast food hamburger nation, we lost sight of this. I am doing my best to limit my red meat intake to between two and four meals a week (out of 21). So my strategy is to make sure when I do eat red meat, I make it really good and not to large! Dry aged meat fits into that strategy perfectly.
What is so special about dry aged beef? Basically just taste and tenderness. The aging process lets the natural enzymes in the meat break down the connective tissues and acts to tenderize the meat. At the same time, the meat actually loses water through evaporation and this concentrates the flavor of the meat.
So why doesn’t everybody sell this meat? Three reasons. First it takes time. Dry aged meat should age for at least two weeks and can be aged 4 to 5 weeks. The second reason is storage. The cooler needs to be consistently between 32 and 34 degrees with good air circulation. This is the biggest reason that doing it at home isn’t really feasible. And last is that the outer edges of the meat dry out and has to be trimmed off, so there is more waste.
So start chatting with your butchers. I have to give a shout out to Mike at Long Lake Market and the whole butchery team there. They take pride in their meat, and want to provide the best products possible. I certainly appreciate their taking the time to dry age some meat for me!