Aging Beef to create the perfect steak The Facts vs The Myths!

Let’s start with the big one: why do we age beef at all? Aging is employed to improve two major meat characteristics – taste and/or tenderness. As unpleasant as it sounds, the process of aging meat is essentially carefully controlled decomposition.

Did you know that even the meat you buy at the grocery store has undergone at least 7-10 days of aging? It’s an industry-wide consensus that beef aged for at least this long is significantly better than freshly-slaughtered product, which ironically can taste “less-beefy” and highly metallic.

In fact, tenderness is such an important quality for steaks that the meat industry has developed a method for measuring and assessing the texture characteristics of meat known as the Warner-Bratzler shear force test (kind of like how chilis are measured in Scoville units). So I guess you can actually assign a value to something that ‘cuts like a hot knife through butter’!

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Wet aging is less talked about, but far more commonly practiced. The term ‘wet aging’ simply refers to product that is vacuum packed, and therefore “wet” from sitting in its own liquids. So think about it; any piece of vacuum sealed meat you see is technically being wet aged right in front of your eyes! It’s a faster process than dry and is also cheaper because all you really need is a vac sealable bag. In addition, it’s the more popular method because you don’t lose any of the product to shrinkage. Wet aged meat can have a pale, unappealing appearance when first de-bagged, but when exposed to air oxymyoglobin is allowed to form, and the meat will start to return to its signature red colour. The downside to wet aging is that because the product sits in its own ‘juices’ (FYI, technically speaking these ‘juices’ are not blood, but rather a mix of water and myoglobin), it retains a strong minerally/serum(y)/metallic taste.



Dry aging works by exposing the naked beef to a carefully controlled environment with precise temperature and relative humidity levels. In addition to an increase in tenderness, the flavour 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 flavour, 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 destructively, so there’s less of it to sell, and whatever is left becomes more expensive per kilogram. Additionally, the surfaces which are exposed to air develop a gnarly dark appearance which is dryer than old leather, 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.

The biggest difference between the wet and dry aging methods is while both have an effect on tenderness, only dry aging intensifies flavour. 

HOW LONG TO AGE? (With some Very Important Notes)

For tenderness: Whether using a wet or dry method, here’s the bottom line: in terms of tenderness, aging is most effective between 14 – 28 days. Studies utilizing the aforementioned Warner-Bratzler method show that any benefit starts to decrease after the 14 day mark, and by 28 days the change in tenderness is nearly negligible. So basically, any given piece of meat has a limit to how tender it can become, and it generally hits that mark within 28 days. In fact, wet aged meat that has been sealed too long will actually go beyond the point of tender, starting to decompose into unpleasant mushiness caused by rotting.
For taste: There are some pretty fancy restaurants selling steaks that have been aged for 60, 90 or even 240 days, and you can bet you’ll be paying a premium for their aging efforts. Since taste is so subjective, it’s nearly impossible to define the point where ‘sublime’ becomes ‘stinky’, and the bulk of the scientific research so far has been centred on tenderness, not taste. Having said that, general consensus is that 30-40 days of dry aging will bring out some incredible characteristics in your beef, and intensify the flavour. Sort of like a High Definition version of your regular steak.
Extended dry aging (I’m talking 100+ days…) is an extremely personal preference, where older and pricier doesn’t necessarily mean better. One could argue that there’s something inherently wrong with your waitress merrily volunteering that the odoriferous reek coming off your plate is intentional. A super whiffy dry aged steak is a completely different eating experience to the traditional beefy steaks that are universally adored by carnivores worldwide. In fact, I’d compare extreme dry aging to a mega-stinky cheese (say, Epoisses, which has such a horrendously pungent odour that it has been banned from public transport in France) it’s not for everyone, and it’s ok if you don’t like it.
And while wet aging doesn’t improve taste, it can still affect it (and not for the better). In addition to an unappealing mushy texture, over-wet aging will also result in unpleasant, serumy flavor changes from unwanted microbial growth.



Overall, a number of factors determine how significantly meat will benefit from aging. Lower grades actually get more out of it, so a Select graded cut will respond better than a Choice graded cut, because there’s more room for improvement. Although a certain amount of aging does ultimately help all beef, some muscles respond better than others; so the eye part of your ribeye (Longissimum dorsi) will have a higher tenderness response than the cap on your ribeye (Spinalis dorsi), even though you’ll be buying them together as one steak. And have you ever noticed it’s only beef that gets aged? Well, out of all the commercial consumer proteins, beef is the most variable in terms of tenderness. Generally, pork, lamb and veal are tender enough to begin with, it’s just poor cooking skills that can make them tough.






Now that we have identified all we need to know (and removed all the BS), what makes the DRY-AGER your best investment?

  • The Ideal Dry-Ageing environment
  • Ideal Temperature
  • Ideal Relative Humidity
  • Ideal Distribution of Air and Humidity
  • Ideal Sanitised and Clean Atmosphere

We have to control Air (oxygen), Temperature and Moisture

Air is filtered and sanitised
Temperature is kept consistent without force, correct airflow created through the smart design and engineering the process
No drying out of the air, the moisture is kept inside the carcase ensuring flavour is not lost!



By allowing all of the above factors to be managed weight loss is curbed to less than 12 % even after 6-8 weeks of ageing.

• ZERO foul smells of scents of decay present on any part of the carcass. NO horrendously pungent odour. 

• Flavour profiles are rich and beefy with sensations of butter and a creaminess on the pallet. 

• Tenderness is in the tissue and not the mass, thus a sensation of firm but tender is experienced.

• No chance of a dry meat sensation even with over cooked medium to well done steaks.

• Pellicle that forms on the exterior of the exposed carcase is now reduced to a thin walled barrier, that in most instances don’t need trimming away!

• If the practice of Tallow (covering the exposed muscle/carcase with fat or butter) is introduced the weight loss can be reduced to under 8% for the same period.


Consumers/customers will now be exposed to meat that has had the benefit of maturation without the funkiness of traditional matured beef cuts. Furthermore the ageing process can be extended way past the present periods to achieve even more from the flavour profile development.


Customers who traditionally shied away from eating “rotten” meat, will now gladly enjoy the amazing dry aged flavours. This will unlock revenue previously unavailable, due to all bad media associated with matured or aged meat! We have supporting results that point to a 30 to 40% in revenue created by these new customers. Also consider that dry aged portions are 70-100% bigger than deboned portions that will add even more to the revenue model.