Dry aging vs. wet aging beef has become a relatively common argument. Dry aging beef has been around for hundreds of years, while wet aging is rather new in relativity. So, what’s the difference and which one is better?
Remember, nearly all meats are aged in order to allow for the breakdown of tissues allowing for a tenderer cut of meat. Beef, however, is capable of being aged for a longer duration than most other types of meat. Let’s see the differences for each, both dry aged and wet aged beef below.
Dry Aged Beef: Dry aged beef is aged exactly as it sounds, without the aid of moisture. You’re probably familiar with this method, as it is seen in many movies, where whole sides of beef are hung in an open air container with the temperature just slightly above freezing for approximately 3-4 weeks. During this time period, enzymes break down the carcasses’ tissues and the meat actually loses some of its moisture (a very, very slow dehydration process).
This age old method is very efficient in procuring an extremely flavorful and tender cut of meat, yet it does have a slight downside. The slow dehydration actually results in some of the meat being lost (through moisture loss) and this results in a yield reduction. Also, the price for each pound of meat is elevated through dry aging, so the consumer eats that cost, literally. Even more loss of meat occurs once the surface of the dry aged beef is removed (as is customary) and this reduces even further the amount of meat.
Wet Aged Beef: As was stated earlier, wet aging is a newer technique. It came about due to better methods of refrigeration being available. You have probably seen vacuum sealing commercials, which guarantee to keep your food edible for much longer. Wet aging uses this same method, and it’s aged in a much shorter duration of time than with dry aging. The usual time period for wet aging is roughly 10 days after slaughter, then it is put on the market.
It is much cheaper for manufacturers to utilize the wet aging method. While the muscle tissues are subjected to some breakdown, it’s not comparable to the more flavorful and tenderer results yielded through dry aging. The upside of wet aged beef is that you don’t see the loss of meat through moisture loss and extra trimming, and since it is cheaper for the manufacturer to perform, you won’t see it listed at a higher price in your supermarket.
So, what’s the difference? Without question, the biggest difference between dry aged beef and wet aged beef is the flavor! Due to the longer duration of aging utilized in dry aging, the meat is subjected to more breakdown of the muscle tissues via enzymes that remove excess moisture. You’re essentially left with a smaller yield, yet one that packs much more of a punch in terms of flavor than with wet aging.
Believe it or not, you have probably never even had a cut of dry aged beef. Without a doubt, the meat you purchase in a store is wet aged. Dry aged beef is much more expensive and more difficult to find, therefore, when supplying meat for the masses it’s much more economically feasible for supermarkets and grocers to provide their customers with wet aged beef.
The Market is different. We give our customers the option of both dry aged and wet aged beef. Our thorough knowledge and expertise in butchery and cuts of beef have granted us the notion of supplying the more expensive, harder to find cuts of beef; because in the end, we know it’s worth it. If you have any questions about wet aged beef vs. dry aged beef, or are trying to find the best cut of meat that money can buy, call us at +966.13.845.6798 and we will be more than happy to answer any and all of your questions. We look forward to hearing from you soon!