A few weeks ago, Tom sent over this shot of some Wagyu Angus X Porterhouse from Wildfell Farm that had been dry-aging over at EC1. Obviously, we see a lot of meat but there was something about this image that fairly took our breath away. With all that light, shade and texture, there was a touch of the 'Old Masters' about it and after posting on socials, it flew out the counter (as you might expect.)
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder though and we did also get some enquiries as to the processes behind aging and the question of safety. In the words of one keen wit - 'I've got some mince in the back of my fridge that has been in there for a few weeks and is the same colour, and I am certain my entire family would die if I used it in a Bolognese!'
We made us chuckle, followed by a prompt suggestion that the mince gets thrown directly into the bin.
It did serve as reminder that perhaps a little bit of renewed education was due on the subject and we will be covering this some more over on the blog next week. Exploring what happens when you approach the magic 28 - 35 days and go beyond - towards extreme ageing.
For the time being, this succinct explanation from our website should give you a decent overview:
'The process of dry-aging might seem like yet another fussy foodie concept but it really isn’t. The truth is, dry-aging can’t make bad meat good (nothing can) but it can make great meat greater. The skill is in knowing how long a piece of meat needs to be hung for to intensify the flavours and break down the connecting tissue in the meat, and a good butcher will be able to tell by looking at, smelling and trimming a piece of meat. The meat needs to be kept in a low humidity environment at between 0 & +4° for (on average) between 10 and 30 days. The meat needs to age and not rot, so moisture is the enemy.
Putting it as simply as we can, when meat is dry-aged, it loses 10-15% of it's original water mass as enzymes break down proteins within the muscle fibre itself and water evaporates. As these muscles break down, flavour intensifies. The more water lost, the more flavourful the piece of meat will become. We dry-age all of our beef in-house to a minimum of 28 days, and our pork and lamb to a maximum of 14, always left on the bone to protect the meat itself.'
Hang around for the next installment!