Why Do We Dry Age Our Grass Fed Beef?
People have been aging meat (venison, beef, pork, game, etc.) for millennia. Why? Aging beef enhances flavor and makes the meat more tender. It’s a lot like aging fine wine to bring out complexities and different flavor profiles. In this month’s blog post, we’ll do a deeper dive into what it means to age beef and why it’s important for your taste buds. You can definitely taste the difference!
Dry-aged beef is a premium product, compared to most beef you’ll find at the store. It’s more expensive to produce, requires an expert butcher and you need to keep the beef at a constant temperature and humidity level. The natural process of dry aging draws the moisture out of the meat and brings out a big ‘beefy’ flavor.
Aged beef (wet or dry) is showing up on more fine dining and steakhouse menus. The reason is simple, it’s a better end product. There’s an artisan aspect to producing top quality aged meat. Traditional and/or grass-fed beef is usually aged anywhere from 8 days to 45+ days. Some purveyors are now aging 100 days or more!
Wet Aging vs. Dry Aging
There are two methods for aging meat: wet-aging and dry-aging. Wet aging is simply individual cuts of meat that are vacuum sealed; the beef ‘ages’ in the plastic Cryovac. Because there’s no oxygen in the bag (the air is sucked out), the enzymes in the beef help tenderize the meat. Wet-aged beef is actually a faster process than dry aging and also less expensive to produce.
Dry aging takes more work and is more expensive to produce. There is also a significant amount of shrinkage (approximately 5-15%) and more trim loss versus non aged meat.
At River Watch Beef, we dry age the hanging carcass before we butcher the individual cuts. That means every single cut we sell is dry aged. Most other beef providers age just the primal cuts before the final butchering. That’s why it can be hard to find dry-aged roasts (like arm roast, brisket and chuck roast) and other less popular cuts.
Is Dry Aged Beef More Expensive?
There are several reasons why dry-aged beef is more expensive than typical grocery store beef. First, there is significant shrinkage from the moisture loss. Depending on the number of days aged, grass-fed beef shrinkage can vary between 5-15% or more! There is also more trimming needed than non-aged beef. Think of it like a cheese rind where you don’t eat the outside.
It’s more expensive to dry-age meat in a city — that’s why it is hard to find or very expensive. Small local and artisan butchers simply don’t have enough space to dry age meat for an extended period of time. Most USDA meat processors are in rural areas and have larger temperature controlled areas to age meat.
Does Grass Fed Beef Benefit From Being Aged?
Absolutely. Yes. 100%. Naturally-raised meats, like grass-fed and grass-finished beef, benefit significantly from dry aging. Because grass-fed meat is leaner, the aging process breaks down the meat, making it considerably more tender. It also brings out additional flavor profiles.
Where Can I Buy Quality Dry Aged Beef?
Local Farmers’ Markets are also great place to find local producers. It’s important to know where your food comes from and reputable producers will tell you exactly how the beef is raised, processed and packaged.
Order Premium Dry Aged Grass Fed Beef Online
You can order top quality dry-aged beef, delivered to your door direct from our Kansas farm. We offer local Kansas City delivery (Kansas and Missouri) as well as UPS shipping to many areas of the United States.
We offer the same cuts of beef that you will find at the local butcher. We have a variety of premium dry-aged steaks, delicious roasts and briskets, ground beef, stew meat, cubed steak, oxtail, liver and more. Check out our NEW dry-aged beef summer sausage and dry-aged beef jerky.
About River Watch Beef
We’re River Watch Beef, a Kansas family grass-fed beef producer. Currently, we do not have a store — but, We Deliver Our Grass Fed Beef Direct to Your Door! Our beef is 100% Natural, Grass Fed & Grass Finished. 100% Natural Beef. No GMOs, Hormones, Antibiotics or Bull.