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The Importance of Beef in a Steak House

One of the most common trends in our industry right now is a “fine dining” steak house. Chefs take you on a journey with trendy cooking techniques, uncommon foods from around the world, and a selection of beef to pleasure the individual’s style and palate.

Unlike how restaurants used to offer beef options (mostly when diners would only select the cut of meat they preferred), guests are now ordering the type of meat, option of grass fed, possibility to supplement such as wagyu or kobe, and lastly the option of aged or not. Our main focus is the concentration on aging beef, the styles of aging, and the benefits that come with it.

Most restaurants that offer aged beef on their menu will do this process in house if space allows. As for most chefs having their hands on every step of the process not only allows them to have a better knowledge of their product, it also gives a larger sense of ownership in the finished product.

The two major styles for aging beef are wet and dry aged. Wet aging beef is done in a vacuum sealed bag held at 32 to 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Since there is no importance on humidity or air velocity, this is the most common and inexpensive way to age beef. Wet aging only takes between 2 and 4 days and will help tenderize the product.

Dry aging beef is now a widely accepted and in most cases expected process for upscale steak houses. Dry aging is done for a period of 10 to 28 days while holding beef between 32 and 34 degrees Fahrenheit. The two other major characteristics with dry aging is having the humidity level between 85 and 100% and the air velocity of 0.5 to 2.5 m/sec. Since dry aging is more expensive, you will usually see high value cuts of meat such as loins and ribs go through this process. During the process of dry aging two things happen. Moisture evaporates creating a greater concentration of flavor and taste while the natural enzymes break down the connective tissues allowing for a tenderer product. Naturally there is product shrinkage and trim loss due to drying and surface mold.

Whatever your choice may be, the recognition of beef and its immense styles are endless allowing chefs to produce more flavors and focal points for you to choose from.

Seth Mahler
Chef De Cuisine - Aqueous
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort


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