Do you trim the exterior parts of dry aged meat ?
As beef consumption continues to increase globally, the demand for high-quality beef and beef products is naturally increasing too. Many people desire dry-aged beef because of its unique, characteristic, aged, beefy and roasted flavor and tenderness. Dry aging became well-known method that enhances meat quality, especially flavor, and is a feature of some high-end restaurants.
Dry-aged beef is commonly produced when the beef is stored in a refrigerated condition (approximately 2℃–4℃) for 1–5 week without any packaging. The meat surface directly contacts air and readily dries. The surface of dry-aged meat is termed crust. The crust is considered waste and is usually trimmed off. Undesirable characteristics of crust for consumption include hardness, dryness, and presence of a large number of microorganisms. Specialists reported that trim loss of dry-aged beef strip loin exceeds 34% after twenty eight days of aging. The amount of discarded crust will increase as the production and consumption of dry-aged beef increases. This represents a huge economic loss.
The exterior part of the dry-aged beef, also called the crust is inevitably forming on all dry-aged meat and is usually trimmed and discarded before being sold, but not always.
From my experience, most people say that the crust is rotten meat and should always be thrown away, but letting my nose be the judge I came to the conclusion that it’s impossible to be rotten. We conducted an experiment with this kind of meat, the aim of this study was to explore and find out methods for utilizing that crust.
Trimmed vs Non Trimmed Dry-Age, is there any difference in taste?
We dry-aged four sirloins for 30 days at 3-4℃ (75-77% relative humidity) with this question in our minds : do you trim the exterior parts of dry aged meat ? . All of the crust that we obtained from the surface of the sirloins after the dry-aging completion was lyophilized. We prepared patties with and without the added crust, the ones without were our control. We aerobically packaged, and stored the meat at 4℃ for 7 days. After those 7 days passed, our noses could tell a big difference between the two types of patties, the patties that contained crust seemed to smell “more dry-aged”, hitting us with that nice, aged smell.
When cooked, compared to the control patties, the patties that did not have the crust removed had a higher flavor, tenderness, juiciness, and acceptability scores in a sensory panel evaluation. In addition, the patties that contained crust were less hard, gummy, and chewy than the control patties after 3 and 7 days of storage.
We found out that the number of total bacteria was a bit higher in raw patties with crust than in the control patties during the storage, but we did not find any pathogens. 2-Thiobarbituric acid reactive substance values of patties containing crust were significantly lower than those of control patties after 2 and 6 days of storage (both p<0.05). Thus, crust from dry-aged beef can enhance the flavor by providing beefy and palatable flavor without a long period of dry aging.
We then did the same experiment with two wagyu A5 steaks, we dry-aged the steaks for a total of 35 days and then roasted them on the grill, using only salt and pepper, then basting them with butter, using a basil basil brush. This experiment came out a bit different. Two of the three people conducting the experiment preferred the trimmed version, as the crust gave the meat a harder and crunchier bite and a more intense flavor, witch for them was a bit too much. I, as the third person, preferred the crusted meat because it felt like a fine wine. If eating a big portion of steak I would also choose the crustless version, but in moderate quantities, the crust gives some rich, aged aromas.
Summary – Do you let the crust of the dry age on ?
To summarize, do you trim the exterior parts of dry aged meat ? If you want to get full from a steak, trim it, but if you want a stronger, more flavorful taste, keep the crust. While on patties, always go with the crust.
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