At Gilmour Butcher we 'Dry-Age' all of our Beef. Dry-ageing is the process of reducing the moisture content in the meat. The two main objectives of dry aging are to create greater tenderness and flavour. It focuses the flavour and allows the meat time to mature and become incredibly tender & juicy. The meat hangs in a state of the art dehumidifier (ours is the most powerful & sophisticated piece of kit in Scotland no less) for 35 days.
Without this slow and important process the meat does not have time to develop and create the beautiful flavour and texture that creates a lovely bit of beef for your Sunday Roast.
You can find beef that has been dry-aged from 7 to up to 120 days, but we believe that the best time for a steak to be dry-aged is 35 days. We even ran a study with Queen Margaret University to ensure this was the optimum time – they agreed! The meat doesn’t spoil during this time, because it is aged in tightly controlled conditions that precisely monitor the levels of moisture and bacteria throughout the whole process, from start to finish.
During the dry-aging process, excess moisture is drawn out of the meat. This causes the flavour to become even beefier and more flavourful. What’s more, the ageing process causes the beef’s natural enzymes to break down the connective tissue in the meat, making it incredibly tender.
We think it’s the only way to prepare beef to get the very best flavour and tenderness, that’s why we do it with almost every bit of beef we sell – from our gigantic tomahawk steaks, the beef in our homemade steak pies right through to the our beef mince, which is cut from the trimmings of our steaks. It doesn’t get much better than this!
Stages of Dry-Ageing
Collagen has just begun to break down, but the beef won’t have the flavour or texture qualities that you look for in a dry-aged beef. It cannot be sold as “aged” at this stage. The meat is still fairly bright, but it will darken as it ages and dries.
The beef loses 10 percent of its weight in the first 3 weeks through evaporation. The water seeps out the front and the back of the meat, but the fat and bone on the sides of the beef make the sides waterproof. Because the meat shrinks, it will become more concave as it ages. Although the fat doesn’t shrink, it does darken in the ageing process.
This is the optimum number of days to dry age the beef. The beef has developed the flavour and texture qualities associated with dry-aged meat: it is very tender. At this point, the steak has lost 15 percent of its total weight and is at the absolute best it can be!