Compared to other types of steak, dry-aged meat has a different texture, flavor, and mouthfeel. The process of aging a steak uses a controlled environment with a controlled temperature and humidity.
During the process, enzymes break down tough connective tissue and make the meat more tender. There are also molecules that enhance muscle shrinkage.
In addition, the outer layers of the meat take on a dark, rich red color. This color is indicative of the oxidation that has penetrated deep into the meat.
Another tidbit is the presence of a protective shell known as a pellicle. Typically, the pellicle is trimmed off for textural reasons.
The dry aging process has been around since prehistoric times. Its main function is to preserve the meat. For this reason, it is usually preserved in bags. The moisture in the bag keeps the humidity at a level that promotes a long storage life.
The most obvious feature of dry-aged meat is its enhanced flavor. The procedure also increases the beefiness of the meat. In addition, the liquids inside the meat condense out and give it a sweeter taste. The meat can be seasoned with salt and herbs to give it a unique flavor.
During the process, a substance called metmyoglobin forms in the meat, which is a form of oxymyoglobin. This is the chemical change that makes the meat’s name-sake.
The dry-aging process also creates veins, similar to the ones found in cheese. These veins are edible.