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28 Coxtie Green Road
Brentwood, England, CM14 5PT
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Filtering by Tag: Foodie

Dry Aged Beef: Everything You Need To Know

Tom Pereira

You've probably seen dry-aged beef on the menu at your local butchers or favourite steak house, but what exactly is it and is the higher cost justified? We're here to settle the beef when it comes to dry-aged meat and explain how we dry-age, why we dry-age and what's in it for you!

Here’s what you NEED to know:

-                    Dry ageing uses airborne bacteria present all around us, meaning that it’s a super safe practice using the good old fashioned air that we breathe in every day!

-                    The dark crust on the outside of the beef carcass (as long as created in precise, dry conditions) is completely safe to eat and made by enzymatic build up…..minced down it has a wonderful flavour and is a bit of a secret ingredient!

-                    The reason it is not so widespread is that it isn’t commercially viable….vacuum packing ageless products makes far more money as you are literally selling blood and moisture that has not left the muscle. It’s also why commercial meat has no flavour!
-                    Read on for more!

dry-aged-wagyu

The Original Gangster of Superior Meat

 

With the rise of premium, artisan cuts of meat everywhere in recent years you could think that dry-aged beef was a recent culinary creation, but you'd be wrong! Far from the latest restaurant trend or fad, dry-aged meat has been on the menu for centuries – and there’s good reason why.

 

Dry-ageing meat is a long-established process which originated sometime in the 17th century - as we can see in this fine piece of art painted in 1655. It came about when butchers discovered that meat which had been hung and dry-aged developed a superior texture and deeper flavour compared with its fresh counterparts.

 

It's a trend with tradition and one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to butchery. Modern technology has since allowed for more efficient and controlled methods of ageing, but the basic principles and desired outcome remain the same as our ancestors would have experienced!

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The Dry-Ageing Process

 

Whether you’re a meat mastermind or a beef beginner, you’ve probably realised that the crucial part of the dry-ageing process is the ‘dry’ part! This means removing moisture from the air and the meat to let the dry-ageing do its magic.

 

Dry-ageing beef can be achieved by hanging meat in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment from anywhere between 4 weeks to many years! Our gold standard is in between the 35 to 60 day mark but on some parts of the carcass this can and may be tailored to a shorter or longer length of time.

 

Here’s a breakdown, pardon the pun, of what happens to the meat in this time:

 

·       The cold temperature (between 0-3 degrees) and lack of humidity (50 - 85%) preserve the meat to enable ‘controlled decomposition’ – doesn’t sound appetising but that’s what’s happening!

·       Airborne bacteria activate enzymes in the meat which breakdown connective tissues and muscle fibres, tenderising the meat

·       Water evaporates from the beef (something you don’t get with wet-ageing) and this moisture loss results in a reduced weight of meat but a more concentrated flavour – you end up buying all meat and no waste liquid!

·       Oxidation and evaporation create a protective crust around the exposed surface of the meat, under which enzymes and proteins work to mature the flavour

 

Think of dry-aged beef as the carnivorous equivalent of a fine wine or mature cheese – the yield isn’t as high, it costs a bit more but the taste and experience are incomparable to lower quality counterparts!

dry-aged-perfection

The Dry-Aged Difference

 

If by now you’re thinking “sounds great but I thoroughly enjoy the fresh meat I usually have” then read on to discover just how dry-aged beef delivers to all of the senses above and beyond your everyday meats.

 

Taste – Removing moisture from meat condenses its natural flavour, for a beefier taste with a deeper and richer flavour profile. The meaty process of getting our dry-aged beef just right is worth the effort from the very first forkful - there's no miss-steaking the superior taste of a dry-aged cut of beef!

 

Texture – Dry-aged beef is as tender as can be, giving a mouth-wateringly soft texture that's incredibly moreish. This tempting texture is all thanks to the enzymatic activity encouraged by dry-ageing, which breaks down muscle fibres and connective tissue to make them softer and easier to chew. This ease of eating paired with a superior flavour is a winning combination for any carnivore!

 

Appearance – Remember Rembradnt, our painter from earlier? Well we think he was right in recognising dry-aged beef as a piece of art. In fact, some say the dry-ageing process is more of an art than a science! You can expect your dry-aged beef to be darker in colour thanks to the maturation process, with lovely marbling all of the way through and a more robust shape.

 

Aroma – Meat mavericks and carnivore connoisseurs liken the aroma of a fine dry-aged beef to a rich and buttery popcorn, a nutty and earthy woodland, a sumptuous and decedent blue cheese and even freshly foraged truffles! We’re all for the theatrics of their descriptors but in our words dry-aged beef has the same appeal on the nostrils as a freshly carved roast joint – simply inviting and drool-inducing!

roja blanca dry aged beef

Thomas Joseph Dry-Aged Beef

 

·       Our beef is dry aged in-house using our purpose-built cold store with a dehumidifying system to filter, purify and dry the air to our specific requirements – we remove over a 1 and a half litres of water every day from our cold stores

·       We also use Himalayan salt blocks in the atmosphere to further dry and purify the air using their antibacterial properties. We feel the salt adds a depth of flavour to our meat along with seasoning it for a long as it takes!

·       We’re experts in tailoring the ageing process to specific parts of the carcass, so that each cut can reach its full potential

·       We love to hear from you – if you have a specific dry-ageing request, drop us a line and we’ll see if we can make your dry-aged dreams come true! (Visitors MORE than welcome J)

The Bountiful Benefits of Drinking Bone Broth!

Tom Pereira

Bone broth is a nutritious, delicious and health-boosting meal that can transport you back to your dietary roots and allow you to reap the benefits! The nutrients it contains help to support the health of bones, joints, skin, hair, nails and all kinds of bodily tissues. As a bonus, you get to reduce food waste by using up animal by-products that usually go to waste. Winner winner bone broth dinner!

 

The Skeleton Argument for Bone Broth

·      The modern diet is drastically different to that of our ancestors - lots of nutritious meals haven't stood the test of time and are no longer eaten by most

·      Demand for convenience products and a taste for processed junk food is driving the obesity epidemic and plaguing the population with chronic health conditions

·      Even for those of us striving towards a healthier diet, we are missing some key nutrients that used be eaten pretty routinely centuries ago - and our bodies miss them!

·      Bone broth is a cheap, sustainable and simple recipe to boost levels of certain nutrients commonly deficient in the modern diet

grass fed bones

Health- Boosting Nutritional Benefits

 Bone broth is packed with health-boosting nutrients that support both physical and mental health – let’s take a closer look…

·      Strong Bones

Thinking along the lines of you are what you eat, it makes sense that bone broth would be good for your bones! Our bones need to be incredibly strong but also slightly flexible to avoid breakages. Bone broth is a rich source of collagen, the most abundant protein in the body, which is prominent in bones and connective tissue. Its crisscross formation makes it the perfect ingredient for maintaining strong and sturdy bones.

 ·      Durable Joints

Joints are the connective tissue between bones, think of them as the glue that holds your skeleton together. Over time, joints can get worn down and become inflamed - which is not only painful but degenerative to bone health. Bone broth simmers down the connective tissue of the animal, making the joint-healthy nutrients it contains more digestible. It also provides a good dose of collagen, elastin and proteoglycans - which can be used by our own bodies to repair and maintain joints.

·      Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails

Our skin, hair and nails are all made up of a matrix of proteins including collagen, keratin and elastin, which helps to keep them strong and healthy. Some beautiful benefits of eating bone broth include shinier hair, stronger nails and plumper skin. As we age, our body's natural production of collagen drops. This contributes to the visible signs of ageing including sagging skin, wrinkles and furrowed brows. Boosting collagen in the diet helps to minimise these effects by giving your skin the tools it needs to stay youthful for longer.

·      Gut Health

Proteins found in the connective tissue of animals are broken down into amino acids when consumed and can then be reused to make our own proteins. These are then used to structure and regulate all kinds of bodily tissues, including the gut.

The gut is an incredibly intelligent organ, capable of communicating with the brain via something called the gut-brain axis. This communication regulates mood, emotion, stress levels and sleep patterns. So, providing your gut with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy can promote mental as well as physical health.

Nutrients found in bone broth also help to maintain the gut lining, reducing inflammation and preventing digestive conditions like leaky gut syndrome - which causes toxins and waste products to leak into the bloodstream, as well as nutrients to be lost through the intestinal wall.

side order to a grass fed steak

Bone Broth uses up Food that would Otherwise go to Waste

When animals are slaughtered for meat only half the animal ends up on supermarket shelves, with the rest separated out into animal by-products. These aren't commonly eaten but are packed with health-boosting nutrients.

Bone broth turns the connective tissue, bones and marrow often wasted in the meat industry into a nutritious meal. What's more, because of low demand for such products these are incredibly cheap to buy. As if this wasn't good enough, you can also reduce your own food waste by keeping off-cuts of meat and bones that you'd usually discard and freezing them until you've got enough for a fresh batch of broth! 

Relishing the Recipe 

Bone broth is an up and coming concept, so there's heaps of products out there presenting you with a readymade or concentrated broth. But making it yourself is a doddle, not to mention cheaper and more sustainable – so why not give it a go?

There are many variations of bone broth and there's no right or wrong way to make it. You can add meaty off-cuts, the bones from any animals and a variety of vegetables to your broth - just experiment until you find the right mix for you – you can also buy our bone broth in the shop ;).

Whatever you choose to use, roast everything first and then simmer in a large pan with some good old water for up to 3 days to let the ingredients break down and the flavour develop. Many recipes recommend adding some vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar, to help release the nutrients and make them easier to absorb. You should only need a couple of tablespoons to help this along.

Embrace your Inner Chef

Bone broth can also be enjoyed as a base for soups, sauces, stocks and gravies. If you're cooking up a pan's worth you can freeze in batches for handy little stock pots that can be added to any meal. And f you're feeling brave you can even add a dose of bone broth to shakes and smoothies for a potent protein boost!

Here are just four reasons why you should give the broth a go :)

·      Reduce Food Waste

·      Support your Local Butcher

·      Boost your Physical and Mental Health

·      Get Creative in the Kitchen

So what are you waiting for?! - get simmering, sipping and savouring to enjoy the many benefits of a hearty bone broth!

In the shop you can find our pure beef bone broth made from grass fed bones. We roast our bone broth for an hour and a half then simmer for 72 hours to really pull all of the goodness out. We refrain from sending it out via courier as we have had some issues, needless to say we are working on a resolve, watch this space!

Team CGF x