We should first understand why beef aging is done. In layman terms, beef aging refers to a biochemical process that tenderises the meat due to the collapse of its connective tissues. The absence of oxygen causes an anaerobic glycolysis process, also known as ‘rigor mortis’ or the hardening of soft muscle tissue.
The muscle tissues revert to its initial softness approximately 10 days from the start of the enzymatic aging stage. The period of beef aging differs based on the breed, age, and gender of the cow. For more potent flavours, the meat can be further aged for a couple of weeks under professional care.
So, why do restaurants practice beef aging? The aging process is tremendously useful in increasing the rich flavour and tenderness of the meat. Amazing flavours can be achieved by the 10th day, but prolonging the process will bring even more incredible results.
This method is by way of hanging the meat out in the open inside a temperature-regulated cooler, which is what we often see on display in high-end steakhouses like Marble 8. This allows the meat to breathe and remove moisture. Elements such as temperature, days aged, and ventilation all affect the shelf-life, amount of shrinkage, and microbial spoilage of the meat.
As a result of oxidation, dry aged beef gives you the most robust flavour that is unmatched by vacuum-sealed meat.
This method is executed by aging the beef inside a tightly-sealed vacuum plastic bag. This rules out the components of ventilation and humidity. As the meats can be vacuum-packed right after slaughter, wet aging has become the default method of beef aging today.
The meat is still tenderised in this process, which takes about 7-10 days. Although the meat possesses a distinguishable metallic taste due to soaking in its own juices, it is still the preferred method of most steakhouses as it keeps the cost low.
Which is better?
Essentially, beef aging does the same thing – tenderises the meat. The only difference is that dry aging brings out the greater and true beef flavour inherent in the meat. Most steakhouses serve wet aged beef unless stated otherwise, but we prefer dry aged beef any day (if our wallet permits it). For that reason, we recommend you to visit https://www.marble-8.com/ to learn about the best steakhouse in town!