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Wet vs. Dry-Aged Steaks

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

What are "Wet-aged" and "Dry-aged' steaks? What is the difference? Allen Brothers sells both and Meyers only sells "dry". 

post #2 of 17

Wet aged beef is aged in a cryovac bag and  gives you a higher yield before cooking.   Dry aging is "air aged" in a temperature and humidity controlled environment.   You get much less yield prior to cooking, but you also lose less moisture during the cooking process.

 

 

 

Dry aging is more expensive because of the process and because of the lower sellable yield, but its also generally regarded as a better product because the beef flavors are more concentrated.

 

 

Dry aged beef looks and smells pretty disgusting before the butcher trims it up, but it sure is delicious!

20100323-PH-dryageroom.jpg

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks Twyst for the explanation. Might order both wet/dry porterhouses to sample from Allen Brothers to see if I can taste the difference. Or not. And just order some dry-aged steaks.

 

What did you mean when you said wet-aging gives you a "higher yield before cooking"? 

post #4 of 17

If you end up doing a side by side Id be really interested to hear a report back after!   Ive never done a side by side from the same premium butcher and am curious as to how big you find the difference.

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twyst View Post

If you end up doing a side by side Id be really interested to hear a report back after!   Ive never done a side by side from the same premium butcher and am curious as to how big you find the difference.

Will keep you posted if I do. I might. Worth trying at least once. 

 

What did you mean by "...more yield before cooking" when talking about wet-aged beef?

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by BDD8 View Post

Will keep you posted if I do. I might. Worth trying at least once. 

 

What did you mean by "...more yield before cooking" when talking about wet-aged beef?

Lets say I buy two 10 pound ribeye racks, and I dry age one and wet age one.   After wet aging, I still pretty much have 10 pounds of usable ribeye.  Meanwhile, the one that is dry aged has a good bit of moisture evaporated from it as the flavor concentrates, and then requires pretty extensive trimming to get rid of the "rotten looking" outer crust.   You may get say 7 pounds of usable ribeye from that rack.  (Im making up figures, I dont know exactly how much you lose, but its a fair amount)

 

 

 

 

 

On the other hand, after aging, if I grill a 16 oz ribeye from each rack exactly the same way, the one that was dry aged will actually weigh a little more after the cooking process than the one that was wet aged.

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

Ok gotcha pal. Thanks.

post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by BDD8 View Post

What did you mean by "...more yield before cooking" when talking about wet-aged beef?

 

Wet aged beef is aged in the cryo so the weight does not change. Dry aged beef looses about 25% of it's weight between drying a trimming and that's why dry aged beef is more $$ per pound.

Wet aging uses the enzymes in the blood to help tenderize the meat. Dry aging enhances the flavor of the meat by reducing the moisture content.

If you cut a dry aged boneless 16 oz steak and a wet aged 16 oz boneless steak the most noticeable difference is that a 16 oz Dry aged steak is going to appear physically larger.

FWIW wet aged meat can smell pretty rank as well after aging for four weeks.

 

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

I was reading how one of our "premier" (local Toronto) butcher shops ages their beef. It sounds like they are dry-aging since they are air-dried in their own cooler correct?

 

http://www.thehealthybutcher.com/organic_meat.html

 

Is it "wet-aging" ONLY if put in a cryovac bag? 

post #10 of 17

"wet aging" is really just the process of letting the enzymes present in the meat begin to break down and tenderize the meat. The term "aging" is really not a very good term for it, nor particularly relevant to be honest. The process takes, at most, a few days and most steaks and meat you buy at the butcher or grocery store will have this, mostly just by the processing, packing, shipping, and selling time. The process will tenderize the meat but do little or nothing for flavoe development.

 

This process happens naturally whether the meat is cryovaced or not. The cyrovacing just ensures that little moisture will be lost during the couple of days it takes to achieve the enzymatic effect. 

 

Truthfully, wet aging is more of a marketing term. 

 

Dry aging is a whole different ball game. It essentially concentrates flavor through moisture loss (less water means more concentrated flavor) and a bacterial or some sort of fungus or something (can't remember which, but something grows on the outside) grows a "crust" on the outside of the meat and emparts a distinctive "tang." This crust is cut off from all around the steak/primal before cutting into portions. 

post #11 of 17

CRYOVAC OR VISKING Started in the 50s and was done with a vac. cleaner. Air was sucked out of bag and then sealed. The wholesalers found the meat would last longer.However today is different , Today it is totaly vaceum packed and the package is actually heat shrunk at the same time. (all air removed) The more blood in the bag the older the meat till it gets to a point of actually going bad. You will loose weight because as the meat sits it throws off moisture from within,

   Dry age requires a special fridge and special controled enviorment .There is a fine line between going bad and dry age. The fridge must be a dry box (very littl humidity or moisture ) The bad bacteria can be controled with black light (ultra violet) which retards growth of some mold. 

      Someone above mentioned a cooked dry aged steak will not lose much weight . This is correct as the moisture is less internally then a wet aged steak. Most Great Steak Houses dry age. IE The Palm, Smith Wolensky, Old Homestead. Peter Luger  etc. Their steak cost them and you more. Is it better? I think so but then  everyone has their own opinion. Most of these places use top choice and prime grade only. The Palm steak chain even though family owned could not get enough good meat to sustain it's volume, so they purchased their own cattle ranch and grow and breed their own meat.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by BDD8 View Post

 

Is it "wet-aging" ONLY if put in a cryovac bag? 

 

Wet aging can only be done to a noticeable affect in the cryo. Meat is cry is put in cryovac during processing. Standard SOP for every manual I have written is a two week hold time on cryo meat.

Wet aging will alter the flavor profile after two weeks. You can test this at home by wet aging a strip loin, rib eye or tenderloin for 2-4 weeks before cutting it into steaks or roasting.

Some steak houses do offer wet or dry aged steaks. I'm not sure I've ever seen wet aging used in a marketing sense to sell meat on a retail or whole sale level.

Dry aging is another whole can-o-worms and falls into the caveat emptor category for the consumer.

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #13 of 17

Many years ago before individual cryovac and vac.heat shrink many steakhoses used to submerge their precut steaks in a 2 inch pan filled with oil. This prevented oxygen or air from hitting the steaks and actually kept them fresher longer. I have not seen this done in about 15 years, but it was common practice

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #14 of 17

  I have seen some places submerge steaks in oil but never for wet aging but rather to marinate. That process was  common for steaks and lamb chops with garlic oil in the 80's. In reference to wet aging I'm only talking about primals and sub-primals. IME "Aging" individual steaks is an effort in futility.

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
post #15 of 17

I have never seen it done for for wet ageing eitherI  nor did I say it was . it was a way to have steaks last a long time prior to individual cryovac or heat shrinking or souvide it kept all air and oxygen away from steak

Marinating lamb chops with olive oil and rosemary  and steaks with assorted seasonings and herbs is mostly done for flavor not to preserve them.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #16 of 17

are we  all talking about steak and lamb chops that are about to go bad and we just want to sell them,

post #17 of 17

If they are going bad, I dump them. READ the post , you submerge them under the oil while they are good to keep air and oxygen from making them go slimmy and bad. And it was in the day before cryovac was even invented., and you were probably not born yet.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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