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Sausasis ir šlapiasis mėsos brandinimo menas

The dry and wet art of maturing meat

We can't say for sure why fresh meat is so deeply ingrained in the Lithuanian consciousness, but we can assure you that aged meat beats fresh meat by a country mile. This is not only because of the flavour and aromatic qualities of the meat: it is not only the tenderness, marbling and texture of the meat that most often captivates lovers of aged meat, but also the fact that aged meat is easier to digest.

Meat maturation: what is it?

In general terms, meat maturation is the storage of meat under special conditions, but it is by no means the curing of meat. It is a natural metamorphosis that gives good meat even better flavour. It has been shown that ageing meat has a positive effect on the organoleptic characteristics of the meat: juiciness, tenderness and flavour.

meat aging, aging, steak, grills

Meat is usually matured for 20 to 60 days at temperatures between 0 and 4 °C. Higher temperatures may cause the meat to spoil, while lower temperatures may prevent fermentation and maturation.

Meat ageing is divided into dry and wet ageing, but the essence remains in the enzymes. They break down the connective tissue of the meat, making it softer, juicier and definitely tastier. Meat, like cheeses, develops a fifth flavour when matured for a long time and properly umami.

Dry and wet ageing: history and differences

Aging meat is a true masterpiece, which seems to date back to the history of art in the 17th century. The famous painter Rembrandt depicted in his work the carcass of a bull hanging in the air, being watched and studied with the eyes of the butcher's wife. People had already discovered the taste qualities of dry-aged meat in those days, when it was common practice to age the meat simply by hanging it on hooks.

ageing, meat ageing, rembrant, painting by rembrant

Although the dry and wet ageing methods are similar, the results are definitely different. Wet ageing only came about in the 1970s with the discovery of vacuum ageing technology. The meat industry has benefited from this, as wet-ripened meat does not lose weight.

Wet-aged meat has a more acidic flavour - mThe flavour of the meat is altered by the lactic acid bacteria that are produced. During wet ageing, the meat is kept at a temperature of 0-1 °C in vacuum bags, so that it does not 'breathe' and matures in its own fluids.

In contrast, dry-ripened meat can lose up to 40 % of its moisture (depending on the weather and the ripening time). Dry ageing is valued for its ability to bring out the flavour of the meat.

The meat is kept at a constant temperature when hung or shelved and loses much of its liquidity, reacts with oxygen and is exposed to the micro-organisms in the environment, which give it the true flavour of aged meat. Dry ageing also requires good ventilation and airflow variations to control bacterial growth.

meat maturation, maturation, wet maturation, dry maturation

Maturing different types of meat

Are you ready to try your hand at dry-aging game, pork, beef or other meats? Learn about the specifics of ageing different types of meat.

ageing, meat ageing

If you have a lot of white meat (turkey, chicken) lovers in your area, let them try a different kind of meat - aged poultry. It is not really necessary or necessary to age poultry meat, but a short ageing period of 2-3 days will certainly not harm the meat, but rather improve its taste. No special equipment is needed, just letting the poultry meat hang dry in the fridge is sufficient.

This is probably not news to hunters: game meat should be aged for 7-14 days. However, what will come as a surprise to hunters is that it is recommended to age venison whole.

Will you age pork? Prepare for a longer process. Pork should be aged between 35 and 42 days.

And, of course, the most commonly aged meat is beef. It is recommended to age beef for at least 18 days, but if you have the patience of a gourmet and want to taste longer-aged beef with naturally occurring blue mould, you can age it for 180 days. This is perfectly safe, provided that the meat is matured under the right conditions.

 maturation, meat maturation, grills, poultry maturation, game maturation, pork maturation, beef maturation

Did you succeed?

There are a few very simple things you can do to recognise well-aged meat. First of all, well-aged meat turns a reddish-brown colour. Secondly, the meat should leave a depression when pressed.

It is also important that not only the maturing of the meat is successful, but also the grilling. Here are some tips on how to cook aged meat properly:

  • To prevent the juices from running out and the meat from drying out during cooking, cook aged meat only on a well-heated grill grill rack or plate.
  • Do not overcook - use a thermometer to check and monitor the internal temperature of the meat.
  • After the meat has cooked, let it 'rest' by wrapping it in foil. This will relax the muscles and release the juices.
  • Add the spices after cooking. Don't overdo it: the following will do salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • If you want extra flavour, use wood chips or aromatic fire herbs.

meat maturation, maturation

Wondering how to get a smoky aroma from a gas grill? Click to read here.

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1 comment

  • Mindaugas

    Sausai brandintą kepti proto daug nereikia. Pasidalinkit patirtimi, ką darot su apdžiuvusiu išoriniu sluoksniu.

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