What is Certified Piedmontese Dry Age?
Certified Piedmontese now has dry-aged products both on our website and in our retail location in Lincoln, Nebraska. You may have seen the term "dry age" before, but don't understand what it is. Here at Certified Piedmontese we also stay true to the actual way to dry age instead of using other quick cuts that may get you a different flavor in your meat but are not the exceptional dry-age flavor that you get with this genuine dry age process.
Dry aging is a controlled decay process used on meat, especially beef. What it does, is evaporate moisture out of the meat and condense the flavor. What ends up coming from the dry-aging process is a tender texture; this is the discerning characteristic of dry-aged beef. After dry aging for at least 30 days the steak isn’t as chewy. Collagen breaks down at this length of time giving a succulent & softer mouthfeel. The flavor will become more intense the longer the beef is aged, after 30 days it will start to develop a nutty or almost buttery popcorn nuance.
Anything dry-aged for less than 30 days will not have gained the benefits or characteristics of dry-aging that you look for when wanting to experience a product of this type or caliber. Anything past 30 days just continues to add to this extended flavor profile and escalate the tenderness, at some point though you have to stop dry aging to have meat remaining. Imagine what you can get from being patient!
The dry-age process started around the 1950s as a natural way to preserve meat. Butchers discovered curing meat through dry aging created a more tender and delicious steak.
On the other end, wet aging came around when plastic CRYOVAC bags were invented (after the 1960s). The bags block oxygen and thus slowing down moisture and product loss (most chefs and restaurants use wet aging because of product loss v. profit margins). It doesn't add any value to your steak, it just allows restaurants to preserve and keep the beef for longer.
With dry aging, you can have sub-primal cuts of beef get exposed to oxygen allowing natural enzymes in the meat to start breaking down the molecular bonds, which helps tenderize muscle fiber and connective tissue. Our Certified Piedmontese beef sits in a humidity-controlled environment that exposes all sides with unimpeded airflow around the entire cut. The good mold finds its way onto steaks which will slowly break down and increase the amount of evaporation. The oxygen allows for the aerobic bacteria to collect and grow on the beef, allowing for this amazing process to take place.
This moisture loss is the main aspect of dry-aging, and it is what changes the flavor of dry-aged meat. With this process, we are trying to pull moisture out of the meat over time. While this happens the mold will extend its life and growth. Think of mold on blue cheese- it's good mold not bad mold, necessary for better product and flavor.
Sometimes, when working with this process you can cap the steak with so-called “beef frosting”. After 30 days or so, we will take steak trim and render down the fat into liquid, and spread it on the outside to completely cover the meat to slow down the moisture loss and reabsorb the rich flavor from the fat. This still allows the natural enzymes to work magic inside and keep us from losing too much of the meat per subprimal.
Before the steak makes it to the packaging we trim all the mold, leaving the tenderized, delicious beef that is perfect to enjoy. It leaves an almost nutty flavor that occurs naturally that you won’t get with wet-aged steak from a plastic bag. The steak will then be shipped to you fresh, and we encourage you not to freeze a dry-aged steak. This could be the next best thing you can buy at Piedmontese.com! When you order a Certified Piedmontese Dry Age Steak you are getting the same great beef that is already lean, tender, and flavorful; but is made even more pronounced by this dry-aging technique.
To help understand more of this process another type of cooking metaphor we can use is how we would make a beef stock or beef jus. We start with a large pot of water and other ingredients on the stovetop. As more moisture heats and evaporates, the flavor of the stock gets more concentrated. Similarly, with our beef, as moisture evaporates, the natural beef flavor gets concentrated and intensifies.
As you can tell, we at Certified Piedmontese are working to make sure we use the best dry-aging process around, so that the product you get is exactly what you ordered and more! We have dry-aged products up on Piedmontese.com and if you are in Lincoln, Nebraska we have dry age products, including a handmade Dry Age Sausage, something you can't find anywhere else, available at The Mercato. We also serve our Certified Piedmontese Dry Age Steaks at our restaurant Casa Bovina in Lincoln, Nebraska.