4 Benefits Of Dry Aged Steaks

For someone hearing about it for the first time, to be told that steak is aged first before it’s cooked and served can be unappealing. However, the aging of steak is a practice dating back to the 1950s. It was originally done as a method of preservation, but it was discovered that it increases the tenderness, elevates the flavor, and eradicates the unwanted smell of beef cuts. 

There are two main types of aging, namely wet aging and dry aging. The differences between the two are explained below.

Dry And Wet Aging

Wet aging is a relatively new process, born of the increased usage of plastics. As the name implies, the beef is vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag and left to age in its juices (water and myoglobin) for a short period. It’s a popular method because it’s cheaper and much easier to manage in terms of storage. It’s important to note that wet aging only affects tenderness. It does nothing to the flavor. 

In the dry-aging process, excessive moisture is expelled, while the remaining moisture is redistributed in the beef. The duration of the aging process varies—from as short as seven days to as long as eight months. The average range for standard dry aging, however, is usually around 30 to 50 days.

The meat is hung in a humidity-controlled storage unit where all sides of the meat are exposed to adequate airflow. This allows the enzymes in the beef to break down the proteins, glycogen, and fat as well as facilitate the growth of ‘good mold.’ This is done to enhance meat quality. 

Listed below are several tangible benefits to dry aging and why you should order that aged rib-eye steak you’ve seen on the menu of your local steakhouse.

Richer Flavor

This is undoubtedly the biggest point on the list. Why go through all the trouble of aging if the flavor is not enhanced? When choosing a steak, the flavor is the most important consideration

The flavor of the beef is altered during the breakdown of the enzymes and proteins and as the fat begins to oxidize. Coupled with the formation of good bacteria, the flavor profile of the meat becomes more complex.

With the loss of excessive moisture and the redistribution of the remaining moisture, the concentration of flavor increases. Therefore the longer you age your beef, the stronger the flavor.

Reduced Smell

Perhaps one reason why some folks opt to be vegetarians or vegans is they find the strong smell of meat, particularly beef, off-putting. Indeed, meat from a freshly cut carcass has a strong pungent smell, which is due to its moisture content. 

When a steak is properly dry-aged, all the excess moisture evaporates and the musky smell disappears with it.

Increased Tenderness

The aging process changes the meat’s natural toughness. The muscles and tissues in the meat will be broken down by enzymes. Consequently, this loosens up the fibers in the meat and increases its tenderness.

In terms of tenderness alone, studies have shown that the ideal aging period for maximum tenderness is between 14 to 28 days. Anything longer than that and there will be no additional benefit to the meat in the aspect of tenderness.

Wet-aged meat, on the other hand, should not be stored for that long because it will start to decompose.

Better Texture

Dry-aged steak has a better texture profile compared to fresh cuts of beef, which tend to be tough, bland, and not juicy. This is due to the loss of moisture and the breakdown of tough muscles during the dry-aging process. Aside from being intensely flavorful and more tender, dry-aged steak is juicier with a distinct mouthfeel.  

Common Myths

According to meat scientists, the notion of placing your steak uncovered in the fridge for a night or two has no merit. Based on their observations, any aging process below the 12-day mark is not beneficial in a substantial way.

Another thing to note is that dry aging is only effective with sub-primals (whole chunks of meat) as opposed to individual steaks. With the intense loss of moisture and the hard rind that forms on the surface of the meat that needs to be scraped off, all that’s left of your steak after you’re done aging is a tiny sliver. 


When buying aged steak, be mindful of what you’re buying and whether you’re getting value for your money. At the end of the day, it all boils down to your personal preference. Whether wet- aged, dry-aged, or fresh, the choice is up to you.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please Leave a Comment to show some Love ~ Thanks