Dry Aging

Dry aging works by exposing the beef to a carefully controlled environment with precise temperature and humidity levels. In addition to an increase in tenderness, the flavor of the beef is altered during this process from a combination of bacteria, enzyme breakdown and oxidation (yup, the same process we try to stop in our own bodies by consuming antioxidant-rich foods!). There’s also a theory that the water loss concentrates the flavor, too. The conditions necessary for dry aging require expensive refrigeration equipment, plus the significant moisture loss results in reduced saleable yield of product. Meaning: it shrinks a lot, so there’s less of it to sell, and whatever is left becomes more expensive per pound. Additionally, the surfaces which are exposed to air develop a gnarly dark appearance which is dryer and must be cut away before cooking, meaning even more loss of final saleable product. Sometimes if you have a particularly funky-tasting dry aged cut, it may be because the outer layers were not trimmed back far enough.