What is Dry Aged Meat?

Dry aged means
better, tastier meat

Chris Berry finds out why dry aging is a hit at Farmison & Co

Meat With True Character

Experiences in taste and texture are what Farmison & Co is all about, providing high quality meat that produces sensations on the palate and in the mouth. That's why every cut of beef, lamb or pork is not just sourced from those with impeccable farm stewardship and incredibly high standards of animal husbandry, it is also then brought on to produce the best depth of flavour it can possibly achieve.

Dry aged beef is recognised the world over as the process that produces remarkable quality by locking-in the characteristics that delivers consistently tender and unmatched beef flavour. Restaurateurs are in no doubt and will without question always favour dry aged beef for its constant delivery of class from grass. Farmison & Co want to bring the best quality of every type of meat and it's why they spend so much time and effort providing restaurant quality beef for home consumers.

Why is dry aged beef so popular?

Let's start by saying this. Beef is a fantastic, flavoursome meat and whatever Farmison & Co stocks you can rest assured the quality will be there, particularly from the native Heritage breeds of the UK including Highland, Aberdeen Angus, Galloway and Beef Shorthorn.

Native breeds take longer to reach beef standard maturity and they are rightly given time to do so, dry aging is another form of maturity process that ensures everyone of a taste that will delight.

Dry aging is popular among those who particularly know their meat because of the increased tenderness, flavour and taste sensation it brings about. Specialist steak houses, top restaurants and upscale butchers are all united in their opinion that dry aging provides a quality of beef unsurpassed by other processes.

What does dry aging do to the meat?

Here’s the slightly scientific part. Dry aging means the meat is exposed to the air after already being hung previously at the abattoir for perhaps three or four weeks. At Farmison & Co it is then hung on the bone for a further specific time at a controlled temperature, humidity and air quality. This is the tried and trusted traditional way in which meat ages naturally.

This process provides dehydration that sees moisture evaporate from the muscle and the resulting desiccation through oxidation of fat and other fat-like molecules creates a greater concentration and saturation of the natural meat flavour and taste. The meat's natural enzymes break down the connective tissue in the muscle that brings about greater tenderness. In short, your taste experience is enhanced massively as you are consuming extremely pure meat flavours.

Dry Aged V Wet Aged

All fresh meat is aged for at least a few days and up to several weeks to allow the meat's natural enzymes to break down the muscle tissue, where dry aged meat differs to the meat purchased in a supermarket is that supermarket meat is generally wet aged and therefore, as you might suspect, contains more moisture (water content) leading to a less concentrated taste than dry aging and far greater shrinkage of the meat during cooking.

Good Things Take Time

Dry aged meat is typically not sold in most supermarkets because it takes much more time and effort, plus the resultant reduction in moisture content would reduce the sale price of the meat in a vac-pack on their meat counters as they can earn more for wet aged meat where customers will be unaware that the meat they are paying for has a much higher moisture content and therefore contains more water. In some cases up to 30 per cent of the meat bought from a supermarket vac-pack is water.

There is an opinion among some that supermarkets are more concerned with weight of the meat rather than the quality of flavour that comes from dry aging. Wet aging also brings no oxidation of fat, which means there is no development of what are regarded as the desirable flavours that come from only dry aging.

Farmison & Co's Approach

Tender, flavoursome meat that you will remember fondly for some time to come and will lead you back to Farmison & Co for repeat orders or to try other produce from farmers who care about their animals is a real long term plan. That’s why all Farmison & Co meat is dry aged. It certainly takes longer to reach the perfect taste that is desired but the feeling is that this time spent is more important than haste where quality meat and full flavour is concerned.

Nothing Better

Co-founder Lee Simmonds comments: 'Many people who still buy their meat from supermarkets think they are buying something good after selecting from various vac-packs, mainly by looking at the colouring and size of what they have in their hands, but the amount of moisture contained within the meat is in my opinion like ruining a fine malt whiskey with more than a nip of water.'

'For us, meat is all about taste and the good feeling you get when you’ve had a great cut of meat. Our dry aged meat is simply the best by virtue of the traditional values we use in its production. If you're having a party, with guests around, and you want to impress there is nothing better than a cut of fabulous dry aged meat.'