Everything You Need to Know About Why Dry Aged Steak Is Superior
If you’re a meat lover, you can probably envision your perfect cut of steak pretty easily. A nice, thick cut that’s perfectly marbled gets your mouth watering. Like any good carnivore, you do your fair share or research when considering which cut of beef to choose and how it should be prepared.
In the world of exceptional dining, there’s always a culinary trend or two that piques the curiosity and interests of restaurant patrons. Currently, there’s a lot being said about dry aged steak. While culinary trends may come and go, dry aged steak is a far cut above any trendy foodie fad.
The dry aging process takes an already great piece of protein and elevates it to a whole new level. If you’ve heard about dry aged steak and wondered what all the fuss was about, or if it’s worth paying a little more for, we’re here to offer you a crash course in the dry aging process. Here are the basics of dry aged steak and why it’s a must try for every devout carnivore.
What Is Dry Aged Steak?
With few exceptions, we’re pretty well conditioned to not make positive associations between food and aging. True, cheeses and wines age beautifully, but steak – that’s where most people draw the line.
At least until they discover that when done properly, a “mature” steak can wear its age really well.
First, let’s clarify that there is a world of difference between a steak that has been carefully dry aged and one that has hung out in the back of your refrigerator a little too long. A dry aged steak is one that has been carefully handled and allowed to age in perfectly controlled environment under very precise temperature and humidity levels.
During the dry aging process, the protein is affected by a combination of bacteria, enzymes and oxidation – in other words, it breaks down and a significant amount of moisture is lost. If you’ve ever eaten any type of aged food, such as cheese, vinegar or preserved lemons, then you have a basic understanding how of this process can affect a food’s taste and structure.
Many consider the optimal duration of the dry aging process to be between 14-28 days, but you can find steaks that have been dry aged much longer.
Dry aged steak is unparalleled in flavor and tenderness, which has some people wondering if it’s possible to do their own dry aging at home. The answer to this question is yes and no. It is technically possible to do this on your own, however it requires dedicated equipment, a very controlled environment and a dedication to the process. For this reason, it’s easier and often safer, to leave the process in the hands of a professional.
Why Should You Dry Age Steak?
The simplest answer to this is that dry aging completely changes the flavor and texture of the steak – in a good way. Dry aging breaks down the collagen, which are the connective fibers, in the steak. When you have a less than optimal cut of meat, collagen can cause the protein to be incredibly tough, regardless of how you prepare it. This is why the dry aging process is known for taking a standard piece of protein and turning it into something exceptional.
There’s also some moisture loss that occurs in dry aging. Not the degree that occurs when you make a dry protein product like jerky, but it is enough to concentrate the flavor so that you get a richer, deeper flavor profile in each bite.
Considering the demand for premium cuts of protein, this current trend toward dry aging allows us to take the cuts of meat that are in less demand and recreate them into a steakhouse worthy dish.
A high-end piece of protein doesn’t need much done to it for a steakhouse to prepare it simply and have it be one of the costlier items on the menu. This causes some people to question why they should pay more for a lesser cut of meat that has been dry aged. Is the extra cost worth it, especially on a steakhouse menu with so many other great options?
The first thing to understand is that dry aging completely transforms the protein. It’s no longer an inferior cut of meat that is known for its toughness. It has become an incredibly flavorful steak that practically melts in your mouth with tenderness.
There are several reasons that dry aged steak is often on the higher end of the menu. First of all, dry aging is time consuming and requires dedicated equipment that is highly controlled to contribute the right environment both in temperature and level of humidity. When a restaurant offers dry aged steak, they’ve already made an incredible investment in providing you with an incredible protein.
Additionally, there’s quite a bit of loss that occurs during the dry aging process. Not only does the moisture loss reduce the size of the protein, there’s also an outer crust that forms that must be carefully trimmed away. This reduces the number of portions that the protein supplies.
Dry Aged Steak and Exceptional Bourbon – A Winning Combination
When you enjoy a dry aged steak, it should be an experience. At Bull & Bourbon, we’re dedicated to creating culinary masterpieces that will completely reinvent your steakhouse dining experience. We offer the most flavorful, tender selection of dry aged steaks and 75 internationally sourced bourbons to enjoy then with. If you’re ready to experience steak like you’ve never had it before, make your reservations at Bull & Bourbon today.