PREP YOUR BEEF RIGHT

A handy guide on how to cook any cut of beef

Epicure - - SEEN AND SAVOURED -

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.

BRAIS­ING

Tripe, ox­tail, shank, knuckle, tongue, cheek and short rib. Any part of the leg, ex­cept the rump.

SLOW-ROAST­ING

Rump, chuck, shoul­der, brisket and neck – mostly sec­ondary cuts.

GRILLING

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.

TIP

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