The process of dry-aging meat dates back centuries. Nowadays, the method of dry-aging meat is still used but with much more advanced techniques. Before the invention of dry-aging cabinets, the main problem with dry-aging meat was maintaining a perfect climate for the process. Maturing meat makes it very flavorsome and creates a very tender piece of meat.
In the old times, dry-aging meat was only a job for the butchers of your local community. However, the invention of dry-aging cabinets has enabled every individual to own a dry-aging cabinet and mature their meat. Modern dry-aging cabinets work to mature the meat, and they are also used as attractive display cabinets in the butcher’s shop.
How do Dry-Aging Cabinets Work?
The process of meat maturing is straightforward yet very sensitive at the same time. Therefore, a minor fluctuation in the settings of the process could result in bad meat. When using a dry aging cabinet, the cabinet allows you to adjust the temperature, humidity, and ventilation according to your preferred settings.
The process of meat-maturing takes a specific amount of time. The air passing around the hanging pieces of meat inside the cabinet is the core step. This air passage slowly and gradually changes the texture and flavor of the meat. These cabinets remove the humid air according to the settings set by the user.
The result? Perfectly matured pieces of meat that are incredibly tender and flavorsome.
What Makes a Good Dry-Aging Cabinet?
A good maturing cabinet essentially requires good ventilation, Electronic temperature control, and a suitable climate. Meat is one of the most temperature-sensitive foods and requires great care to achieve optimal drying and ripening.
Electronic temperature control
For meat to dry-age correctly and achieve the desired taste, it requires a temperature between 1 – 3° C. There are various bacteria like salmonella that accumulate and spoil the meat at unregulated temperatures. A good dry-aging cabinet ensures that this doesn’t happen; it regulates the temperature and keeps it cool throughout the process. Most modern dry-aging cabinets come with futuristic temperature control systems. Maturing cabinets with digital thermostats and even smart thermostats that connect to your smartphone are available on the market.
Oxygen is an essential component in the aging process. Oxygen gives the meat that signature dry-aged crust. Good ventilation is crucial for the oxygen to reach and come in contact with the meat hanging in your dry-aging cabinet. The oxygen present inside a dry-aging cabinet is bound to be used up in the process, and more oxygen is brought in through the ventilation system.
If a dry-aging cabinet has a faulty or lousy ventilation system, the maturing process of the meat is at high risk. Without ventilation, the air inside the dry-aging cabinet becomes stale, resulting in a risk of the growth of anaerobic bacteria. Proper ventilation guarantees that anaerobic bacteria don’t grow in “stale” air.
So make sure to look for meat maturing cabinets with proper ventilation systems.
The right climate
Meat is not only sensitive to temperature, but it is also sensitive to fluctuating levels of humidity. High humidity doesn’t allow water vapor to evaporate and thus interferes with the aging process. High humidity levels mean high water content in the air inside the dry-aging cabinet. High water content inside the cabinet can lead to many problems. Firstly, the meat won’t “dry” as the humid air will contact the meat and deposit water droplets on it. High water content on the hanging meat in the cabinet can result in bacteria or even fungus growing on it. Excessively wet walls of the container are also a threat for bacterial growth, and wet walls make it difficult for you to see the meat hanging in there.
A dry-aging cabinet does require a specific amount of humidity level for optimal results. For the dry-aged meat to dry perfectly, a constant humidity of 60 – 90% is required. The percentage is different for different cuts and varieties of meat that are going into the dry-aging cabinet.
Pleasing to Look at
The chances are that you’re interested in buying a dry-aging cabinet for your butchery shop. Like all other businesses, it is imperative to catch the customer’s attention some way and somehow. When a customer walks into a butcher shop, and their eyes gaze upon a stunning piece of modern equipment that not only makes the meat look incredible but well organized as well, they’re bound to purchase out of that cabinet. Dry-aging cabinets with attractive displays are the way to go if you’re looking to enhance your customer response.
Tips and Tricks to Use a Dry-Aging Cabinet
Let’s suppose you go out of your way and buy a dry-aging cabinet, no you know enough about what makes an excellent dry-aging cabinet. Why not talk about operating one with perfection?
Here are some crucial points to remember when you use a dry-aging cabinet.
- Please make sure all the components of a dry-aging cabinet are squeaky clean and are not contaminated before using it. Cleaning the hooks that go into the meat might be the most vital component to clean out of them all. An essential tip is to never grab the hook from the part that is supposed to go into the meat.
- The meat must hang utterly free so that the air can pass around it freely. If you’re laying your meat out inside the cabinet, it would be a good idea to grab specially made drying racks for the dry-aging cabinet.
- While hanging up the meat inside the cabinet, it is essential to make sure that no meat is in contact with another piece of meat. Meat that is closely hung together and comes into contact with each other deteriorates the cabinet’s airflow. Meat touching other meat inside the cabinet can leave wet stains. Wet stains on meat are vulnerable to decay.
- Only use meat inside the dry-aging cabinet, as placing other items inside the maturing cabinet will hinder the drying process of the meat. Beef absorbs flavors from the surrounding during the maturing process, and altering the surrounding can impact the taste of the matured meat.
- Do not clean the cabinet with strong detergents and washing materials as they could leave a residue and mess up the drying process in upcoming uses. Residues of washing liquids could have a significant impact on the flavor outcome of the dry-aged meat.
- Keep a close eye on your maturing meat as you don’t want to leave it in there for too long or too short. Leaving the meat inside the cabinet for too long or too short could hinder your matured meat.
Follow the tips mentioned above, and then you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your flavorsome and tender dry-aged meat.
From meat in a dry-aging cabinet to controlling the temperature, humidity and ventilation are all core steps to a deliciously matured piece of meat.
Maturing meat has to be one of the best things to do to a piece of meat. Who doesn’t like a perfectly flavorful and immensely tender piece of meat?
Now that you’re well enlightened on dry-aging cabinets, why not go through our guide on what to consider before buying a pizza stone to know all about pizza stones.