When ordering a steak in a restaurant, it’s expected that a waiter will ask how you prefer it cooked. But imagine being asked which “month” you’d prefer it from? This may well be a question you hear soon, as the ageing of beef is becoming increasingly popular in the gourmet world: many chefs like Stevie Parle (in the picture, courtesy The Telegraph), use them in their recipes.
Just like fine wine, beef too acquires value becoming more tender and flavourful over time, despite what may be commonly thought many meats can take on a whole new life when left to age. Of course, this procedure is highly specific and it’s crucial to follow the correct preservation techniques.
Dry ageing is the most popular and widespread method, and consists of vacuum packing large pieces of meat, directly from the carcass, and letting them age in a refrigerator from one to three weeks – sometimes longer.
Controlled climate conditions are another way to age beef: the meat is hung in a room where the temperature, humidity and, of course, sterilization are strictly monitored. Air is blown through the room for a length of time that varies according to the type of meat and intended result. But what you can find on your plate is a perfectly “seasoned” piece of meat, a piece of aged meat that may even rival the mighty steak...