There are two ways beef is aged before it makes its way onto your plate: wet aging and dry aging. Wet aging is done by vacuum sealing each cut of beef shortly after processing. Each cut of beef soaks in its own juices. Dry aging beef allows it to go through three natural, flavor-enhancing processes before it is packaged and sold.
Wet Aged Beef
While dry aging used to be the only option before 1960, wet aging took hold because it offered a quicker, more economical method. Wet aging begins as soon as each cut is vacuum sealed; the vacuum seal prevents water loss so there are more total pounds available to sell. In an industry where profits are measured in pennies, those added pounds can be the difference between profit and loss.
Wet aging is a two step process:
- Each cut of meat is vacuum sealed immediately upon processing
- Each cut of meat ages in its own juices while refrigerated
Dry Aged Beef
Dry aging used to be the norm but once the more economical wet aging method became available, few butchers used the more time-intensive method of dry aging. Dry aging takes more time because there are three phases that each carcass goes through. It also leaves fewer pounds available due to the water loss during the dehydration stage.
The carcass is cut in half (a primal cut) to allow the entire beef to dry age equally on all sides. The carcass is placed in a climate controlled, low moisture refrigerator for 14-21 days. During this time, the cooler keeps the carcass at between 32 and 39F.
Dry aging is a natural, three-step process:
- The water is evaporated from the carcass during the dehydration phase. The more moisture in each cut of beef, the less flavor you’ll have. The dehydration phase gives our beef a robust, rich beefy flavor.
- The natural enzymes found in beef break down the collagen tissue to tenderize the meat.
- The final phase is the production of bacterial fungus, like that found on aged cheeses. The fungal production is a natural state on the external surface of the meat. The natural enzymes in the meat, working with the external fungus, give the meat maximum tenderness and richness of flavor. Before packaging, the fungal growth is trimmed completely from the carcass.
We want you to enjoy beef at its finest, which is why we dry age all of our beef. Taking the time to dry age each carcass allows nature to work its magic so you can enjoy a more robust, beefy flavor in each cut of beef.