Why We Dry Age

At Porter Road we take the extra step of dry aging all of our beef sides. It isn’t a necessary step, but it’s something we take pride in offering customers, as it adds a lot of extra flavor and tenderness to our already exceptional beef. Of all animals, beef is the only protein that contains an enzyme that tenderizes the meat as it ages rather than allowing it to spoil. It’s one of the most amazing things about beef, and we’d be remiss not to take advantage of it.

Let's start at the beginning — once the beef is harvested, the offal is removed (which includes Hanger Steak!) along with the Oxtail. As applicable, these items are trimmed, packaged, and stocked on the website right away. The remainder of the sides are kept whole and make their way to a climate controlled aging chamber. 

Almost immediately some of the benefits of dry aging can be measured — within 24 hours, 4% of the water weight evaporates. Less water means more concentrated flavor. Moisture continues to evaporate, albeit at a slower rate (1-2% per week), for the entirety of the dry aging process. When you buy meat at the grocery store, it technically has been “wet aged” during its time in transit, but the air-tight packaging means water is trapped and flavors can become metallic. You also end up paying for that water weight when it’s time to checkout.  

If you enjoy aged cheese, you’ve experienced the flavor-changing powers of healthy bacteria and mold — dry aging takes advantage of the same process. Neither the cheese nor the meat are spoiling, but the bacteria and mold break proteins down into amino acids which impart unique umami flavors. When it’s time to butcher the beef sides, the exterior looks dry and crusty, much like the rind on a wheel of cheese, but that is carefully trimmed away to leave just the delicious dry aged meat. 

We typically age whole sides because it reduces the amount of waste that must be trimmed away. Aging whole rather than in subprimals (smaller sections), means that some cuts, like Bavette and Osso Buco, have more dry aged flavor than others because they are more exposed to the dry aging processes. 

Long story short — our farmers work incredibly hard to help us source great meat, and we take it to the next level with our dry aging process. This is how we craft steakhouse quality meat, delivered to your door.