Dry aged beef
The process by which traditional butchers dry aged beef can vary from 35 days up to 55 days, and there are two stages to the process. This is an expensive way to produce meat, but the benefits in flavour and quality are well worth the time and effort involved.
Following the death of an animal, the animal’s system ceases to control its enzymes, which then begin to arbitrarily attack all the animal’s cell molecules surrounding them. The effect of this is to boost the flavour and increase the tenderness of the meat. This part of the process is called the maturation period.
What happens to dry aged beef?
The large, less flavoursome molecules are broken into smaller fragments full of flavour, the fibres are slackened, and the connective tissue is broken down. This process helps turn the bland flavour and pliable texture of fresh beef into the intensely flavoured and tender mouthfuls of aged beef.
Of course, the whole process depends on how the meat is treated following the death of the animal. That is where the knowledge and experience of the butcher become an important factor in ensuring the meat is processed correctly.
The animal is divided into two ‘sides’, both of which are hung in a refrigerated or cold room for a minimum of 21 days. After this time, the sides are cut into smaller sections and these are then left in the cold room for a further 14 days. This is the ‘dry aged’ process.
If you were to walk into our ageing room here at Albert Matthews, you would see that we keep strict control on the humidity and temperature. The dry ageing process promotes the growth of specific moulds, which produce their own particular enzymes on the outside surface of the beef, thus further improving the flavour and tenderising the meat.
When the meat is ready to be eaten, the natural crust of mould and yeast which has formed on the surface has to be skilfully removed by our team of professional butchers. The meat is then ready to be cut into steaks by our butchers, ready for sale to our customers.
Choose dry aged beef from traditional butchers
Fresh beef contains around 70% water and there is a considerable amount of water lost in the dry age process. During the 35 day process, around 20% of the weight of the meat will be lost through evaporation and trimming, when the outer crust that formed on the meat is also removed. Since dry aged beef has a low water content, it appears juicier than meat put through the wet aged method.
Here at Albert Matthews, we keep to the values of our founder, who 75 years ago started his business providing only the highest quality meat, which he sourced locally, to his customers. The dry aged beef process is a time consuming and expensive method of maturing beef, and some liken the dry aged beef process to that of producing fine wine. We pride ourselves on continuing to produce high quality meat to sell to our customers.