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Il dry aging

The maturation of the meat

Among the indispensable tools of a master butcher, there is the thermometer, strange but true. Temperature, humidity and pH represent fundamental elements to allow the meat maturation process to reach its peak and release maximum flavor during tasting. The parameters must respond to rigid tables that allow the meat fibers to soften and become more tender.

The maturation of the meat begins immediately after the animal is slaughtered, when a series of chemical and biological reactions are triggered which cause a natural stiffening of the fibres. The objective of the maturing process is to relax the fibers of the meat and at the same time intensify the flavor which, combined with a perfect cut, offers a delicious and first choice product.

Dry-aged or seasoned meat?

Maturing meat consists of leaving the cut of meat in a cell or refrigerated display case and checking the internal temperature and the correct continuity of the process from time to time. Seasoning requires more in-depth and specific knowledge which ranges from the necessary ventilation inside the cell or refrigerated display case, to hygrometry and subtle knowledge capable of distinguishing itself and giving the product the right organoleptic qualities.

It is not uncommon to find yourself in restaurants with special display cases in which cuts of meat are preserved and labels with the maturation period are affixed. Here we were faced with a classic example of matured meat more or less ready to arrive on the plate.

What is the duration for perfect maturation?

Theory says that the longer the maturation period, the better the meat will be. Obviously, between theory and practice there is an infinite world of variables that make meat sublime or passable.

The best-known variables that influence the maturation of beef are:

  • the breed of the animal
  • the size of the animal
  • the cut of meat
  • the amount of fat present in the selected cut

If the breed significantly influences the duration of maturation, the cut of the meat and consequently its quality represent fundamental factors, since the maturation and subsequent flavor highlight positive and negative characteristics. After all, maturing meat is nothing other than a procedure that enhances the flavour.

Meat aging techniques

Master butchers teach different methods to complete the maturing process, different schools of thought arise due to the different cuts of meat and breeds of animals. Half-carcasses , for example, are used for longer and more substantial maturing, otherwise, where the maturing is to be of short duration it is preferable to choose smaller cuts of meat.

Suspension of the animal

Among the factors that influence the maturation of meat is the suspension of the carcass of the freshly slaughtered animal. The ideal is a pelvic suspension so as to place the dorsal muscles in a stretched position and make the meat more tender and ready for the subsequent phases of the maturation process. Furthermore, this type of suspension allows you to obtain cuts of meat which, although apparently deformed, transform the tasting experience into something exceptional.

To obtain a good product you need to start from a good base!

Vacuum or stewed maturation

The principle on which vacuum maturation is based is the absence of oxygen. In this condition the cut of beef expels part of its liquids allowing rapid maturation of the meat as it remains immersed in the expelled liquid. The wet maturing process is very similar to maceration, as it softens the fibers due to the expulsion of liquids, however there is no increase in flavour.

Dry maturation or dry aging

Dry maturing or dry aging is the traditional technique, used in ancient times by the English people, which allows the meat to macerate properly and acquire a more marked and defined flavour. Dry maturing requires full compliance with the humidity rate, oxygenation and the choice of the animal, since all these factors contribute substantially to the success of the practice.

  • The first week of maturation the meat is red and juicy
  • Between the second and third week the color begins to fade and the meat appears "aged"
  • Between the fourth and up to a maximum of 120 days the color will be even darker and external white streaks will appear and parts that will appear dry
  • The maturation is half-developed ready for consumption

At this moment the meat is rich in flavor and taste, during cooking it releases the last juices it contains, returning an intense, decisive and formidable flavor to the palate. To reach this level it is essential that thermal and environmental characteristics are respected, a visual evaluation is not enough!

Daring a longer period of maturation means risking nullifying the result, which is why it is a good idea to rely on skilled master butchers who know perfectly all the characteristics of the cut of meat they are dealing with. True lovers of dry-aged meat appreciate this technique in particular on the most refined cuts, including fillets or steaks in general, whether Florentine , rib-eye or tomahawk.

Fair prices for dry-aged meat

Now that the process of preparing matured or "aged" meat is clear, it explains the fact that the older it ages, the more value it acquires. A small change in temperature or a design error is enough to nullify the maturing process which can last months. It is equally true that tasting the maturing meat is worth the price of the experience as it is soft, juicy, tasty and sublime on the palate. Furthermore, to justify the rather high price, it must also be said that dry-aged meat involves a lot of waste, since the external and dry part must be eliminated to leave room for the heart of the more succulent and tasty cut of meat.

Meat of the elite and ordinary mortals

Dry-aged meat is a product suitable for few, as it requires a certain knowledge to be prepared and requires relying on a knowledgeable master butcher with considerable experience. Living a similar experience is quite complicated, however it is possible to choose to dabble in the kitchen with particular cuts of meat or with risky recipes that start with an unusual ingredient and transform into a unique experience.

Discover our dry aged meat online but if you want to experiment with different cuts, the Bovì Boxes were created with this aim: to offer particular cuts of meat capable of stimulating the imagination of those who are preparing to approach the stove.