All our Fresh Prime Beef is Dry Aged for at least 21 to 30 days and sometimes longer to allow enzymes naturally present in the meat to break down the muscle tissue, resulting in improved texture and a robust flavor. The process of Dry-aged beef is to exposed the fresh prime beef to air so dehydration can further concentrate the meat’s flavor. It’s a more expensive process because the meat loses weight from dehydration, and it also must be trimmed of its completely dried exterior. Since the early 1900’s the Ottomanelli family has been providing Dry Aged Prime Beef to its customers.
Dry-aged beef process
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. Primal (large distinct sections) or sub primal cuts, such as strip loins, rib eyes, and sirloin, are placed in a refrigerator unit, also known as a "hot box". This process involves considerable expense, as the beef must be stored near freezing temperatures. Subprimal cuts can be dry aged on racks either in specially climate-controlled coolers or within a moisture-permeable drybag. Moreover, only the higher grades of meat can be dry aged, as the process requires meat with a large, evenly distributed fat content. Because of this, dry-aged beef is seldom available outside of steak restaurants and upscale butcher shops or groceries. 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 actually 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.
Dry-aged beef is typically not sold by most supermarkets in the U.S. today, because it takes time and there is a significant loss of weight during the aging process. Dry-aging can take from 15 to 28 days, and typically up to a third or more of the weight is lost as moisture. This type of beef is served in higher-priced steakhouses and by select restaurants. Dry-aging can be done at home under refrigeration by three means: open air, with the presence of salt blocks, and with the use of a moisture permeable drybag to protect the meat while it is aging.
When dry aging using a moisture permeable material, surface mold growth is not present, flavor and scent exchange within the refrigerated environment is not a concern, and trim loss of the outer hardened surface is measurably reduced. The flavor and texture profile of the beef is similar on all dimensions to the traditional open air dry-aged results.