When it comes to being compassionate to animals, I have a kind heart toward any animal as much as the the next person. But I have also to admit that when it comes to food, I am a person who prefers beef and butter over the greens and beans.
That being said, dry aged meat ደረቅ አረጋዊ ስጋ is the most sought after in the meat industry with a steep price tag ranging in a $100.00 just for a couple of pounds. Dry aged meat is not typically sold in supermarkets due to the time and expenses involved in the dry aging process.
Why would anyone be willing to pay that much for a meat? It all boils down to flavor and texture. But the good news is that you can also do it at home and get the same result with a little patience and not so much expensive equipment’s. If you have a Frigidaire, you can dry age any meat at home.
The popular methods in the Frigidaire are the open air with the presence of salt-blocks and the other one, which I have used and satisfied with the result, was the use of a moisture permeable dry bag to protect the meat while it is aging.
While using the moisture permeable dry bag for about a month, surface mold growth was not present, flavor and scent exchange within the refrigerated environment was not a concern. The moisture permeable dry bag, which is intended for this purpose allows the meat to age and still achieve the same bold, beefy flavor and tender texture as traditional open-air dry aging.
The history of aging meat
Dry aging meat ደረቅ አረጋዊ ስጋ is not new. Meat has been hung and dry aged throughout history for the purpose of preservation.
Growing up in Ethiopia in the 50s, depending on the season, we used to have leftover meat hanging up for days, while freshly slaughtered meat is coming in. That was the good ol’ days when you just got some fresh slaughtered lamb and also fresh slaughtered caw beef on the side. We even had a saying “የስጋ ትል፡ የዘመድ ጥል” noting that a few worms on the aged meat is not a deal breaker.
That was then, but now thank God for technology no need to sacrifice wellbeing for flavor.
Meat aging experienced got a surge of popularity in the 1980s and highly demanded in high-end restaurants around the world.
The Process of aging meat
Depending on the desired duration 2 weeks to months, two major changes take place. Firstly the dehydration process creates a greater concentration of meat flavor and taste and secondly the meat natural enzymes break down the connective tissues in the muscle, which leads to more tender – melt in your mouth meat.
The process of dry-aging promotes growth of certain fungal (mold) species on the external surface of the meat forming an external crest to protect from spoilage, which would be trimmed off later for cooking. These fungal species complement the natural enzymes in the meat by helping to tenderize and increase the flavor of the meat.