What is dry-aged?
Dry-aged is a term used in cooking techniques to create meat with a unique taste and experience, specifically beef here. In Vietnamese, Beef dry aged is translated as the method of aging beef or beef drying.
Dry-aged is introduced as a method of drying fresh beef that has reduced the amount of water stored in the beef and removed the excess meat to get a steak so tender that it can be cut with a knife.
Specifically, beef after slaughter will not be processed as usual, but will be marinated with a little salt and then aged for a period of 7 to 120 days at a temperature of about 1 to 2 degrees. C, humidity 80% and wind from 0.5-2.5/s. After the aging process, the piece of beef is very soft, has a very different flavor that normal fresh beef does not have.
During the aging process, the blood in the beef will drain out, from there the water will also evaporate gradually, the beef will begin to dry out on the outside, the meat inside is still soft and fresh. Drying time also affects the texture and flavor of the beef.
So what is so special about Dry-aged that makes people require the skills of the chef to produce the most standard finished product to serve the increasing needs of diners. At the same time, the room/cabinet to age the cows must also meet strict technical requirements to ensure that the surface of the meat dries without being damaged. In addition, in the process of making cows age, many people also add rock salt to help disinfect the air in the cabinet.
According to this method, cows selected for maturation will eat grain within 100 days before slaughter. This method is quite sophisticated, so it is only applied to delicious beef such as Wagyu beef or Black Angus beef. The price of these cows is inherently expensive, so when they age, the price is even higher. Aged cows are usually sold in units of 100 grams and are priced precisely to the gram.
7 Days: New collagen begins to break down. This is because the enzymes in beef break down the connective tissue, so the steak will be softer.
21 Days: Meat loses 10% of its weight in the first 3 weeks through evaporation and color begins to darken.
30 days: At this time, the meat has started to be very soft and has a characteristic aroma of dried meat. At this point, the meat has lost 15% of its weight.
45 Days: Mold begins to appear on the surface of the meat. Don’t panic, this is a natural phenomenon when beef is kept in a humid and cold environment. The mold will form a crispy outer layer, which has the effect of adding tenderizing enzymes and enhancing the flavor of the meat. This part of the mushroom will be cut off before cooking the meat.
90 Days: White streaks of mold and a layer of salt develop on the entire surface of the meat to protect it. This shell will be shaved off before selling.
120 Days: Meat has lost 35% of its original weight. The taste and aroma of the meat at this time must be said to be extremely rich and tender.
How to cook aged cows
After the aging has been completed, the cut of beef fuses and is most often used to make beefsteak. After cutting off the dry part of the outer skin, the meat will be soft and delicious as usual. Beefsteak from aged cows has a rich, smooth flavor that is different from regular beefsteak. However, there are also people who think that old cows are not as easy to eat as normal cows, so not everyone can eat them.
In Vietnam, you can go to El Gaucho Argentinian Steakhouse. The First Steak House, La Bete Steak House & Cigar Loung; NewYork Steak House; RICO Steakhouse. The average price of an aged cow is about 750 thousand / serving, about 200 to 300 grams.