Ask A Butcher…About Dry-Aging

Posted by Erica Jones on

We thought we’d mix things up a little by doing a regular Q&A regarding those mysterious and deeply guarded secrets of the butchering world.

Want a real live butcher to answer all your meat questions?

Well – we’re butchers…and we can answer questions (it’s like total kismet right? :))

So if you’ve ever wondered in the early hours of the morning why some steaks are butterflied and some aren’t, or why eye fillet is referred to as butt fillet (true story y’all); or what alchemical mysteries are entailed in the making of sausages…


An inaugural question:

Q) Is Dry-Aged Beef really that different to ordinary beef?

A) In a word: yes. But—and it’s a big but—aging is crucial.
A lot of people think if a little aging is good, then a lot of aging is better. It’s actually not true. If the meat isn’t good quality to start with, no amount of ageing will improve it.What Dry-Aging does is intensify flavour and texture that ALREADY EXISTS in the meat.

What is Dry-Aging?
Allowing the beef hang, dry and dehydrate in a controlled environment. Controlled is well, CONTROLLED. i.e – a constant temperature that doesn’t vary; humidity must be at 85 per cent; the air flow must be constant and strong; UV lighting. These are perfect conditions in which to create stupendously delicious beef.

You can get meat aged anywhere from 7 – 120 days (and in the US, up to 250 days(!). Frankly, we think that is a little bit of overkill.

At Vincentia Butchery, we hang ALL of our beef for a minimum of 7-10 days, and then for our specific ‘Dry-Aged’ beef we dry-age for 14-28days, depending on the cut, the original weight, fat coverage etc.
Also, because all our meat is grass-fed and free-range, it’s important that it isn’t aged too long. Grass-fed beef, contains much more alpha-linolenic acid than grain-fed beef. This unsaturated omega-3 fat is volatile, and over time, can react with other compounds and actually turn the meat.
Part of the reason grass-fed beef has reputation for gamy, intense flavour, in fact, is because it is often aged for too long.

I know right ??!!

So why Dry-Aged beef more expensive than normal beef?

Well, the longer meat is aged, the more moisture it loses, (up to and over 35% of it’s original mass). So a 2 kg piece of meat, can end up being 1.3kg after aging. It also requires a significant amount of trimming and cutting to make it dinner-ready. All these costs add up.

But is it worth the cost?

Well, we think so. Our dry-aged bone-in sirloin and rib-eye sell like hot-cakes. And they are DELICIOUS! Even if you don’t have it every week – it is totally worth the splurge when you want to be spoiled.

The pics are of a dry-aged Côte de Boeuf (or Rib-eye if you’re not fancy or French…) before and after…and trust us…it tastes as good as it looks!

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