The maturation of the meat consists in refining it under specific conditions in the refrigerator from 28 to 120 days. We discover how a chef explores the possibilities of this preparation technique to create the ultimate beef steak.
Mirco Beutler, a German living in Dubai, is nicknamed the “Dry-Ager Guy” (“the guy who matures meat” in French). With more than twelve years of experience in 5-star hotels, he recently opened in Dubai what he presents as the first matured meat shop in the world. In addition to selling premium pieces, customers can find tips on how to select the piece that best suits their taste and how best to cook it.
Among the shop’s most popular pieces are Tomahawk, Porterhouse and T-Bone steaks. Alternative options such as lamb, duck, roe deer and camel are also available.
The maturation process
In meat, the muscles contain about 70% water. By removing this moisture, the meat becomes more tender and its taste is more intense. To allow this process, specific refrigerators are used. The shop offers a range of personalized refrigerators, the price of which can exceed 6000 euros.
These devices maintain the temperature of the meat between +1.5°C and + 2°C. Which is ideal for removing moisture. In addition, to improve the aging process, the conditions in the refrigerator are controlled in order to maintain a constant humidity inside.
After fourteen days, the moisture will have been removed, and the meat will be more tender. Then it is still necessary to wait fourteen days for the complex flavors to develop.
How to ripen meat at home
If you want to give up the skills of a butcher or the cost of a refrigerator specialized in maturing, here are some tips for maturing meat yourself.
The choice of meat is essential because the size and weight of the piece will decrease under the effect of the process. So it is better to choose a large piece of beef with an outer layer of fat. This will reduce the loss of meat when trimming at the end of the process.
One of the reasons why home refining can be considered expensive is that it is highly advisable to have a separate refrigerator. A dedicated device is needed because the smell of meat can be powerful during the process, leaving other products placed in the refrigerator with an unpleasant smell and taste. In addition, temperature and humidity are more likely to be maintained in a separate device.
Insert a small fan inside the refrigerator to maintain air circulation. Then place a metal grate on a tray. The tray will serve to collect the juices. Make sure that the grill is raised so that air can circulate on all sides of the beef as any part of the meat that does not receive air may rot. Then place your piece of meat on the grate and let the ripening process begin.
After 28 days, take the piece out of the refrigerator and remove the unwanted outer layer of meat and fat exposed to air. Finally, cook your steak and enjoy it. As with cheese, the longer you dry the meat, the more unique its taste will be.