The Best “Aged” Steaks Involve Mold
Aged steak is delicious. It’s so delicious that most of us never even question why on earth “aging” meat would be a good thing; it just obviously is. And for those of you who would like to keep living with that ignorant bliss, best you stop reading here and go enjoy a juicy Matrix steak right now.
Christopher Thomond/The GuardianBon appetit.
For the rest of you intrepid explorers … we don’t know how to sugar-coat this for you, so we’re just going to show you what your $80 dry-aged steak looks like 15 minutes before you put it in your mouth.
Men’s HealthBad appetit.
The somewhat-revolting truth is that steak gets aged by controlled rotting — like cheese, only made from the decaying carcass of a dead animal. Dry-aging beef, the old-school way of doing it, is done by placing the meat in an environment where the chef controls the temperature, humidity, and ventilation. This process causes the meat to dry in a way to increases its flavor while the beef slowly decays and becomes more tender. Meanwhile, the outer layer of the beef quickly transforms into a horrific crust of mold, which is then cut off right before you eat it, which means hobos eating out of the dumpster and people paying a few hundred dollars for a steak do have something in common after all.
Unfortunately, this fungus feast for steak lovers is only getting worse, as gourmet restaurants are starting a crazy arms race about it, trying to out-age each other like they’re bitter rivals who wound up in the same retirement home. 55-day steak, 100-day steak, 180-day steak … soon, you’ll have an aged steak that’s old enough to drive. The current winner appears to be the Dallas Chop House in Texas (where else) which served a 459-day steak. If they’d aged it any longer, it’ll look about as appetizing as a zombie from The Walking Dead right before it hits your plate.
Serious EatsAre we sure “aged” isn’t naturopath for “roadkill?”
So while the food industry is constantly lying to you about where and how your favorite eatings come into being, we guess the moral here is that sometimes, we should be grateful for the lies.
Dry-aging steak at home is actually still kind of a neat process to watch, try it yourself and see.
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