PREP YOUR BEEF RIGHT
A handy guide on how to cook any cut of beef
Dry-ageing vs. wet-ageing – what’s the difference?
During dry-ageing, whole cuts are hung in a controlled environment of 0 to 4°C so that moisture from the meat can evaporate and the flavours are pushed inwards towards the centre of the cut. Enzymes in the meat’s muscle cells also start to break down proteins, fats and glycogen into amino acids (which includes glutamate – what gives food an umami flavour), fatty acids and sugars. Depending on the flavours you’re after, dry-ageing can take anywhere between 10 and 60 days. The final step: shave off and dispose of the dried, darker exterior of the meat to expose the redder interiors. Because this process produces more wastage, dry-aged beef is more expensive than wetaged beef. The result is a richer flavoured beef, which can be described as roasted or nutty.
Wet-ageing, on the other hand, is a more modern method that involves first vacuum-sealing the cuts in plastic bags such as Cryovac, then allowing them to age in a refrigerator. As the meat sits in its own juices, natural enzymes break down its connective tissues – like with dry-ageing – but without the weight loss or mould growth. This also means the process costs less for producers, which is why wet-ageing is the prevalent method used today.
Tripe, oxtail, shank, knuckle, tongue, cheek and short rib. Any part of the leg, except the rump.
Rump, chuck, shoulder, brisket and neck – mostly secondary cuts.
Flat iron (also referred to as the feather blade in the U.K. and the oyster blade – which comprises two flat irons – in Australia), ribeye, sirloin, blade, T-bone, tenderloin, top round, intercostals, skirt, tri-tip and flank. Pan-searing is an alternative if you don’t own a grill.