The news coming out of the Beef Checkoff here in Reno just makes me hungry… Here’s the latest on dry aging:
Do any of these words come to mind when you think of beef? Buttery. Rich. Mellow. Superb. Earthy. If traditional beef doesn’t have the taste buds screaming “intense,” then dry-aged beef might arouse the sensory beef experience you’ve been looking for.
Texas A&M University Regents Professor Jeff W. Savell, Ph.D., recently completed an executive summary titled Dry-Aging of Beef as a companion to the 2007 checkoff-funded Industry Guide for Beef Aging which explains the traditional wet-aging process.
Dry-aging enhances beef flavor and tenderness and is used by a growing number of foodservice and retailers for the high-end, gourmet market. Dry-aging is a process where beef carcasses are stored without protective packaging at refrigeration temperatures for one to five weeks to allow the natural processes to occur that result in improved tenderness and the development of the unique flavor that can only be described as “dry-aged beef.”
“Beef tenderness and flavor are two very important components of consumer satisfaction. Creating a unique beef eating experience only gives producers another entry point to marketing our product and will ultimately impact the demand for beef,” says Glen Dolezal, chair of the Joint Industry Product Enhancement Committee. “We’re helping to secure our future by finding ways to improve the quality and consistency of beef and to create new product delivery opportunities.”
Within the checkoff-funded summary, Savell notes that the greatest reason for dry aging beef is to further enhance its flavor. The summary also notes that when dry aging time is increased, members of a taste panel rated steaks juicier (Campbell et al. 2001). However, dry aging can also result in increased moisture loss and trim loss.
For more information on the unique flavor and preparation mystique behind dry aging, or to view the full report, visit www.beefresearch.org and click on Product Enhancement Research Executive Summaries.