There are some things that are just better with age. Music is one thing that comes to mind; Beethoven and Mozart were both popular composers in their time but through the years became the Classical Masters. Wine too becomes more mellow with age, as does steak. Steak should be aged like fine wine to intensify the flavor.
How does aging beef intensify the flavor? You have probably heard of marbling before as the thin layers of fat within the beef. The marbling is important when cooking beef because the more abundant the marbling the more tender the steak becomes during cooking. The marbling serves as a natural way to baste the meat during the cooking process. Without enough marbling, the steak would become dry and require basting periodically to retain moisture. An aged steak is tenderized before cooking to create an extremely tender steak. An abundantly marbled steak which has been perfectly aged will produce a steak so tender it will melt in your mouth.
How does aging steak make it so tender? Fresh beef consists of muscle fibers held together by collagen. The natural collagen is what causes a steak to toughen during the cooking process. To prevent this toughening, select cuts of beef with abundant marbling are aged either through a wet aging process or a dry aging process. During the aging process, natural enzymes cause the collagen to break down. As the collagen breaks down, it melts away leaving only the tender meat fibers and the marbling. The water in the steak is evaporated during the aging process but the entire flavor remains intact resulting in a more concentrated flavor in the aged steak.
To ensure maximum flavor and tenderness, the aging process must be measured with precision and the steak removed from the aging environment when the desired age is accomplished. The different aging processes of wet aged and dry aged require different time frames to reach the ultimate tenderness. To help ensure the proper age is reach, a tool called a Warner Bratzler Shear Device can be used to measure the tenderness of the beef throughout the process. The Warner Bratzler Shear Device works by applying weight to the meat to measure resistance. The concept behind the device is the less weight needed to cut through the steak, the more tender the steak has become during the aging process.
Chicago Steak Company offers a wide selection of both wet aged steaks and dry aged steaks. Our steaks are always abundantly marbled and perfectly aged, resulting in a classic steak that has mellowed to the perfect stage for delicious dining.