Beef aging or ageing is a process of preparing beef for consumption by aging it, in order to break down the connective tissue within the meat.
WET AGED (More a kind of conservation than maturation)
DRY AGED (Real maturation)
Wet-aged beef is beef that has typically been aged in a vacuum-sealed bag to retain its moisture. This is the dominant mode of aging beef in the U.S. and UK today. It is popular with producers, wholesalers and retailers because it takes less time: typically only a few days and there is no moisture loss, so any given piece of meat sold by weight will have a higher value than a dry aged piece where moisture loss is desired for taste at the expense of final weight. The beef is usually kept for a period of 4 to 10 days in wet aging. Modified-atmosphere packaging (MAP) is usually employed for the vacuum packaging of meat; typically between 60% and 80 % oxygen to retain its appetizing color, with red meat such as beef needing a higher oxygen level than less vividly colored meat such as pork. The vacuum packed beef is stored at a temperature of 0 °C to 7.2 °C
Dry-aged beef is beef that has been hung or placed on a rack to dry for several weeks. After the animal is slaughtered and cleaned, it is hung as a full or half carcass. Steaks are placed in a refrigerator unit that has controlled temperatures and humidity . This process involves considerable expense, as the beef must be stored near freezing temperatures and it lose weight during the process. The key effect of dry aging is the concentration and saturation of the natural flavour, as well as the tenderization of the meat texture.
The process changes beef by two means. Firstly, moisture is evaporated from the muscle. The resulting process of desiccation creates a greater concentration of beef flavour and taste. Secondly, the beef’s natural enzymes break down the connective tissue in the muscle, which leads to more tender beef.
The process of dry-aging usually also promotes growth of certain fungal (mold) species on the external surface of the meat. This does not cause spoilage, but rather forms an external “crust” on the meat’s surface, which is trimmed off when the meat is prepared for cooking. These fungal species complement the natural enzymes in the beef by helping to tenderize and increase the flavor of the meat. The genus Thamnidium, in particular, is known to produce collagenolytic enzymes which greatly contribute to the tenderness and flavor of dry-aged meat
How a dry-aged steak change
7 days: Collagen has just begun to break down, but the steak won’t have the flavor or texture qualities that you look for in a dry-aged steak. Steak is not sold as “aged” at this stage. The meat is still fairly bright
21 days: The steak loses 10% of its weight through evaporation. The water seeps out the front and the back of the meat, but the fat and bone on the sides of the steak make the sides waterproof. Because meat shrinks, the steak will become more concave as it ages. Although the fat doesn’t shrink, it does darken in the aging process.
30 days: This is the most commonly requested age in steaks. The steak has developed the flavor and texture qualities associated with dry-aged meat: it is very tender, with the best flavor . At this point, the steak has lost 15% of its total weight.
45 days: You can notice white striations in the meat which is a mixture of mold and salt. The steak has lost only a fraction more weight, and the flavor of the fat changes before the meat does, so it’s important not to trim off all the fat before you cook it.
90 days: The white crust develops even more. This crust protects the meat. The exterior crust is shaved off the meat before it is sold.
120 days: The steak has lost 35% of its original weight. A steak aged this long has a very tasty flavor and is also very expensive, so it’s for real pro that love try high tasty flavor in steaks (Like me)
1 Year: The steak becomes like raw ham
Each kind of beef and steak deserve their own time of maturation, infact more fat is the steak more time it takes to let explode the flavor inside. In the past i tried Galician ox Dry-Aged for 120 days, so fat and so tasty, thanks to this process it was very tender too, considering that the ox was 8 years old.