Sharing our passion for Dry Aged Meat – the how and the why.
The process of meat ageing is not widespread practice in many restaurants, many will purchase good dry-aged meat, but only few have the expertise and equipment to age the beef further to reach its full potential in terms of flavour and tenderness. At Sciacca, we do both. Through our stringent procurement process, we source aged meat of the finest quality and put it through our unique process to take the flavour and texture to new heights. So much so that the beef requires minimal additional seasoning nor any elaborate sauces to add flavour. It is perfection and speaks for itself.
What is meat ageing?
Sometimes referred to as ‘conditioning’ or ‘ripening’, meat ageing is a natural method that intensifies meat’s tastiness and overall quality, particularly regarding rib and loin cuts.
We subject the meat cuts to controlled, refrigerated storage conditions. Typically, we only choose the most desirable beef cuts for this process. While carcasses from any species can be aged, it is more common for beef due to the comparative youth of pork, lamb, and veal.
How does meat ageing work?
Meat ageing is a naturally occurring process in all muscle tissue, whether vacuum packaged or in the form of carcasses or wholesale cuts. During the conversion of muscle to meat, natural enzymes in the muscles break down specific proteins in the muscle fibres. This fragmentation of protein strands, called myofibrils, results in better-quality meat tenderness. Tenderisation happens at a relatively fast rate of 3 to 7 days post-mortem, and the grade of amplified tenderness tapers with time.
What is the difference between Dry and Wet Aging?
Wet ageing is a relatively new method that has evolved with developments in plastics and refrigeration. Cuts of beef are vacuum sealed in plastic and shipped to the market. In this technique, the actual ageing ensues within 4-10 days, between butchery and sale during the meat’s shipment.
The dry ageing process constitutes large cuts of beef aged from several weeks to several months, before being clipped and cut into steaks. This process helps the steak mature in taste and makes it much more tender than it would be when completely fresh. The main difference between the wet and dry ageing process is that while both enhance tenderness, only dry ageing deepens the flavour; hence we specialise in the dry ageing method.
The balancing act of dry ageing meat
The initial ageing method is to place the entire carcass in a chilled room for 21 to 28 days at around 0-2° C and 75-80% relative humidity, with an air velocity of 0.5 to 2.5 m/sec. These three conditions are significantly crucial in the proper ageing process.
While ageing at a higher temperature can fast-track tenderness, amplified microbial growth becomes a severe issue at higher temperatures. Moreover, the amount of humidity is meticulously observed, because too much moisture will allow inconsistent microbial growth, whereas too little will cause excessive shrinkage.
Air velocity is equally crucial since it acts as a medium for eliminating moisture from the refrigerated zone. Low air velocity will allow unnecessary moistness to shrink the product, and consequently, spoilage will occur. Then again, if the air velocity is too high, this will result in excessive surface drying, resulting in weight and trim losses.
What kinds of meat should be aged?
Several aspects determine how significantly meat will profit from ageing, yet a certain amount of ageing ultimately matures all beef. Nevertheless, some muscles respond better than others, for example, the eye part of your ribeye will have a better tenderness response than the cap on your ribeye.
Furthermore, out of all proteins, beef is the most adjustable in terms of tenderness. Usually, pork, lamb and veal are already tender, and it simply boils down to poor cooking methods that cause them to be tough.
How Long does it take to age the meat?
It can be a bit subjective, but generally, the consensus is that 30-40 days of dry ageing will bring out some unbelievable characteristics and deepen the flavour of your meat. You can think of it as a high-definition variety of a standard steak, like the process of matured pungent cheese, or a glass of finely aged wine.
Discover the richness and bold flavour of dry-aged beef
Fresh beef is aged to allow the naturally present enzymes to metabolise the muscle tissue, resulting in advanced consistency and taste. Exposed to air so dryness can further augment the meat’s flavour, dry-aged beef is juicier and has a smoother yet beefier flavour.
While this type of beef is extraordinarily rich in taste, it can be an acquired taste. When sampling this calibre of meat, one must keep in mind its level of concentration and rich mineral content. That’s why many of our clients only consume a 150g portion size since its flavour is rather bold and depends on each person’s particular palate.
Dry-aged meat is revered by true gastronomic connoisseurs and is an entirely different taste experience than traditional beefy steaks.
Here at Sciacca, we believe the dry ageing method is not only sophisticated, but ultimately boosts the flavour to the maximum.
We invite you to book a table at our elegant Valletta venue or at our more vibey St Julians location, where you can come and enjoy an intensely meaty experience with us like no other.
Latest At Our Restaurants
Have you ever wondered what sets Sciacca Restaurants apart? Let us give you a taste of their individual characters! Choose your favorite, we are waiting for you.
Discover the benefits of a business lunch and explore Sciacca Grill Valletta’s diverse lunch menu. Fuel your body and mind with healthy and delicious options while building relationships in a relaxed atmosphere.
Sciacca Grill RestaurantsFor the Love of WinesAt Sciacca, if there is one thing we are as passionate about as good food, it's wine. Creating the perfect taste for our guests often starts with the wine list; a well-chosen wine will enhance the guest experience of the...