Beef That Gets Better With Age
Aged beef doesn’t refer to the age of the cattle—it’s actually an indication that the meat was stored in a refrigerator after slaughter, usually for three to four weeks. Since some of the water in the meat evaporates during this process, the meat takes on a more intense, concentrated beef flavor. In addition, enzymes that are naturally present in the meat have enough time to break down the muscle fibers and connective tissues, which gives the beef a more tender texture.
Wet aged beef is stored in sealed airtight bags in a refrigerator for up to three weeks. This is the more common method for aging beef and results in a familiar beefy flavor.
Dry aged beef is stored uncovered in a refrigerated room under controlled humidity and airflow conditions for up to four weeks and possibly longer. This process gives the meat a very pronounced flavor with undertones of nuttiness or cheesiness. Because it involves a complicated and lengthy process, dry aged beef is more expensive, and the distinctive flavor may be too much for some consumers.
With both methods of aging, the meat is stored at temperatures of 32 to 34 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure food safety.