Dry Aging Knowledge

What is dry aging?

Dry aging is the process of storing carcasses or sub primal cuts of meat, without protective packaging, in a controlled environment to allow natural enzymes to tenderize and improve flavor of the meat. This concentrates its flavor, and the result is a tender cut, with a complex flavor profile that can be described as nutty, “funky,” and blue cheese-like.

What is required for dry aging?

It requires air flow, consistent temperature, controlled relative humidity (RH) and time.  

Can I dry age any cut of meat?

The optimal cut of meat to dry age is a large cut, not a single portion, with a fat cap or bone that covers a section of the meat. Dry aging results in a product that is a dark, deep red, with a dry surface called the pellicle. Every part of your meat that has been exposed to air needs to be trimmed off, so using a larger cut will result in a larger amount of product at the end. A large cut of meat with bone in and fat cap intact promotes flavor and protects the finished product from excess shrinkage.  

What is the optimal amount of time to dry age?

The length of time depends on personal taste.

- At 21 days, the meat will start to become tender.

- At 30 days, the meat will develop a nutty, buttery popcorn flavor profile.

- At 45 days, you’ll get a much more intense meaty flavor with a blue cheese note. 

The basic rule is the longer you age the meat, the more depth of flavor you will get.  After a certain point, the taste might be too strong for some people’s liking.  

How do I know if my steak is dry aging correctly? 

You know you are dry aging correctly by observing the surface of the meat and smelling the meat.  If your dry aging is successful, a hard crust (pellicle) will form on the surface in around one week’s time.  As time goes by, it will develop a nutty, cheese-like smell.  If the smell is very unpleasant and the surface of the meat has a slimy feel to it, then it is probably rotten.  It is also important to keep a record of the storage conditions to ensure the temperature and RH are consistent during the aging period.  

What are the benefits of having a UV-C light in the fridge?

UV-C is the most effective way to sterilize the air in the fridge, which prevents bad mold and bacteria from landing on the meat.  Why the UV-C light is placed in the fan and not shining over the meat is because we do not want the UV-C light to stop any of the biochemical process of dry aging.  

After dry aged a 45 days boneless short loin, I saw some brown surface in the edge of meat near the fat cap.  Are those bad? Edible?

The brown coloring is due to oxidation, which plays a role during the dry aging process. It does not have to be trimmed all the way, in fact it’s what gives the nutty sense of uniqueness to dry aged meat. But we would recommend getting bone in cuts for your next aging, to protect the meat and increase the yield of the final product.

I spotted some white dots on back of my bone-in pork loin.  What is it? Bad mold?

It looks like penicillin-based mold like the white mold you find on a fine cheese, such as French Brie or Camembert.  It is a natural part of the fermentation process.  Bad mold are usually greenish or black, and would have a distinct pungent smell.

How many kgs or lbs of meat can I dry age in Primo Ager?

With our exclusive Primo Rack, you can dry age up to 100 lbs (45 kgs) of meat  

With the hanger rod, you can hang up to max 132 lbs (60 kgs)

Are salt blocks required for dry aging?

In the past, salt was used to sterilize the blood drippings of the meat and absorb excess moisture in the air.  Since Primo Ager has UV-C air sterilization and true humidity control, salt blocks are not required.  

revised: 17 Jan, 2022