DOES THE IDEA OF BEING SERVED ‘OLD’ BEEF GROSS YOU OUT? WELL IT SHOULDN’T, BECAUSE IT’S ACTUALLY A GOOD THING. HERE’S EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT AGEING BEEF.
1. WHAT IS DRY-AGED BEEF?
Dry-aged beef has historically been a way of preserving beef and allowing for consumption months after slaughter. Pre-refrigeration, most beef eaten was dry-aged in some regard (some better than others!). The large cuts of beef (or whole sides even) were hung and placed on racks in as controlled an environment as possible and a hard crust was allowed to develop on the outside, sealing and protecting the meat within. These days dry-aged beef is almost exclusively aged in cabinets specially designed for it, like our own Stagionello fridges, unlike the cellars and caves used throughout history.
2. HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM WET-AGED OR FRESH BEEF?
Dry-aged beef is naturally a more concentrated flavour due to the moisture loss in its maturation period. The longer the beef is aged, the more the flavours develop and intensify. Enzymes in the meat break down the connective tissue which results in a much more tender mouth feel when you eat it.
3. WHAT CUTS ARE SUITABLE FOR DRY-AGEING?
We generally recommend large cuts of meat. While anything can technically be dry-aged, we would recommend a cut like a grain-fed bone-in ribeye or short loin. These cuts have a healthy cover of fat to protect the meat and have a good surface area to mass ratio, which helps to control the speed at which the piece ages.
4. HOW LONG SHOULD I DRY AGE MY BEEF?
That's a matter of personal preference. 21 days is generally accepted as the minimum to make it worth the time. That is generally enough time to get some benefit of the aforementioned connective tissue breakdown. Longer than this you will start to develop more complex earthy aromas, blue cheese flavours and little aromatic hints of mushroom, star anise and nuts.
5. IS IT WORTH THE PRICE?
With the launch of Feather and Bone’s in-house dry-ageing service, the price will be the same as buying wet aged meat so yes! No one else in Hong Kong offers complimentary dry ageing so it is absolutely affordable with us. That’s assuming you can grab one of the coveted spots in our cabinets of course. Dry aged beef purchased normally is around double the price and it’s still one of the most popular steaks in our shops. I think people can taste the love and effort that's behind every mouthful and they keep coming back for more! I'm personally a devotee as well so that should be enough said!