Ah beef, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways — 1…2…3…. But alas, I had no idea what you were fully capable of until the other night. I met you in the refrigerated section of Iowa Meat Farms. You looked so cold, tender and darker than the other more generic cuts over in the case. A nice man came out from behind the counter and explained that you had been in there all alone for 45 days or so, and that you were more intense than the others.
Okay, enough of that.
Anyway, on a whim I ordered two aged rib-eye steaks as sort of an end-of-the-year FU and good riddance. I had no idea that I’d be ruined on lesser beef.
Apparently while the beef is sitting for a certain amount of time (30 days sealed, 14 days open in the fridge) at a certain temperature (between freezing and 36 degrees F) great things occur. Tissue starts to break down and the meat dehydrates a bit, intensifying the flavor. Because this process is time consuming and expensive, only a few butchers do it. Combined with the fact that only the best cuts are used, the price per pound reflects it. Now, I had always toyed with the idea of ordering an aged cut from a restaurant, but I never followed through with my threat for fear of being disappointed. I reasoned that if I cook it myself, I have only myself to blame. Fortunately, there is no blame to lay here. The cut of beef was amazing and restraining myself from over seasoning it, though difficult, worked. Just a bit of salt, pepper, and garlic paste was all that was needed to send this meat powered man’s taste buds into the stratosphere. I can’t possibly explain how beefy it was, but I’ll try—it’s like adding a reduced veal stock to your cup of beef stew. The amplification of flavors was amazing.
So when the stars align, treat yourself to an aged cut. You won’t regret it.