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Subject:  Re: If Animals Weren't Meant To Be Eaten... Date:  6/7/2005  11:33 AM
Author:  ariechert Number:  238121 of 876335

I found a link that talked about "dry aged beef." It's what I was talking about, hanging beef for long periods of time, so that it gets extra tender. Here's an excerpt from the article about "dry aged beef." Fascinating stuff if your into meat. - Art

"Only a tiny amount—less than 2 percent—of all beef is good enough to be dry-aged, and most of this is graded "prime." A small percentage of "choice" beef—Certified Black Angus, for example—is also dry-aged. At the slaughterhouse, steers are cut into sections like whole ribs (from which rib steaks are cut) or whole strip loins (from which New York strip steaks are cut) and shipped for dry-aging at places like Smith & Wollensky, where the meat is put into refrigerated walk-in boxes for three to four weeks. The temperature in these aging rooms is a constant 34° F to 38° F, the humidity a steady 50 percent to 60 percent. During this period, two things happen. First, the meat loses a great deal of moisture: A 20-pound whole strip loin will lose about 20 percent of its weight, says Kissane. The good news is that this moisture loss concentrates flavor.

The second effect of dry-aging is that the beef's enzymes break down the muscle fibers, tenderizing the meat. When a whole strip loin has gone through the entire dry-aging process, the outside turns a deep mahogany color, and the texture is that of a stiff leather saddle—more like something you'd ride on than something you'd eat. But that crusty exterior is trimmed dramatically, reducing the weight of the strip loin by an additional 20 percent to 25 percent—another reason why dry-aged beef costs so much. When the strip loin is cut into New York strip steaks, the color is an appealing rosy red—not much different from wet-aged steaks."

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