Butchery And Ageing Of The Meat
WE MATURE OUR BEEF FOR AT LEAST 20 DAYS IN ORDER TO GIVE IT THE BEST FLAVOUR. AFTER SLAUGHTER, THE MEAT IS HUNG IN A COLD ROOM, WHERE THE TEMPERATURE IS MAINTAINED AT BETWEEN 0 – 2°C; THE HANGING PERIOD DEPENDS ON THE BREED, CUT, AND HOW WE INTEND TO COOK THE BEEF.
At The Beef Club…
It is normal for a traditional butcher to allow the meat to rest for at least a few days after slaughter. At The Beef Club we have chosen to hang the meat ourselves.
From the farm to our cold room
Our meat comes directly from The Ginger Pig farm [in North Yorkshire, UK]. Tim, who is a butcher as well as a farmer, slaughters and stores the beef in a cold room in order to start the dry-ageing process, which we continue after it has been delivered to us.
Tim knows that our needs change depending on how busy we are and always keeps a ‘buffer’ stock for when our demand increases. Our meat is usually delivered to us by Tim himself, but if not he sends a member of his team. When Tim comes to Paris he often brings us other English artisanal products, such as cheeses, and takes home French produce, which he sells in his Ginger Pig shops. While he’s here he also casts an expert eye over our beef during the dry-ageing process.
Once or twice a week, a butcher will come to prepare the different cuts of meat – ribs, rib-eye, rump steaks, etc – for us from our matured beef. This is a big job and takes several hours. Here at The Beef Club we grill our meat, and the most suitable cuts for this are taken from the hind-end of the animal, where the muscles have worked moderately during the animal’s life. In contrast, the fore-end is very muscular, and the cuts taken from here are more suitable for long, slow cooking. The cuts from the middle of the beef are the most tender, as the muscles here have done very little work, so the meat can be cooked quickly and kept very rare.
Dry-ageing at the restaurant…
The meat is kept at a constant temperature in a protected environment – our purpose-built cold room. During the maturing process the moisture evaporates from the beef and it develops an outer crust, which helps to tenderise and concentrate the flavour of the meat. Once the beef has been aged for the required amount of time, the butcher meticulously trims away the crust, resulting in a reduction of around 30 per cent of the weight.
… And at home?
Dry-ageing meat is a craft and should only be done by experienced professionals – not at home. Although cooking destroys most bacteria, if the meat isn’t carefully monitored it can still present risks. Dividing the meat into the various different cuts also requires great skill. So, to enjoy well-aged beef, buy it from a butcher who matures his meat for at least 28 days, or eat at a restaurant that serves it. Thanks to our close ties with Tim and the butchers we use, and our careful dry-ageing process, we serve choice cuts that have been aged for four-to-six weeks. For some customers we even extend the maturing period to 90 days. All this is what gives our beef an incomparable flavour.
For the full feature and images grab the September 2014 issue of MAXIM, in stores from August 21 to September 18.
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