Dry Aged Steak
WHERE’S THE DRY AGED STEAK IN CHICAGO?
If you want the best steak, Dry aged steak is the best way to go. Dry aged steak is beef that has is hung from a hook or stored on a rack in a cool, low humidity room to dry for several weeks. Once the cow has been slaughtered and then cleaned, either the entire steer or half of the steer will be hung so that all fluids can drain and the aging process can begin. Then, primary cuts, including strip loins, rib eyes, or sirloin are separated and placed...
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Dry Aged Steak
WHERE’S THE DRY AGED STEAK IN CHICAGO?
If you want the best steak, Dry aged steak is the best way to go. Dry aged steak is beef that has is hung from a hook or stored on a rack in a cool, low humidity room to dry for several weeks. Once the cow has been slaughtered and then cleaned, either the entire steer or half of the steer will be hung so that all fluids can drain and the aging process can begin. Then, primary cuts, including strip loins, rib eyes, or sirloin are separated and placed in a refrigerated unit, which is known as a "hot box". Dry aging of the steak takes considerable time and cost. Time must be allowed to lapse for the dry aging process to take place; and, this aging must occur in a cooled storage room almost at the point of freezing. Sub-cuts can be dry aged either on racks in climate-controlled coolers; or, within a “drybag”, i.e., a bag that allows moisture to penetrate but keeps the steak dry.
Normally, only the highest quality cuts of steak are dry aged in this manner, i.e., those that have a high, evenly distributed portion of fat. Due to the length of time this process can take, it’s usually the best steak houses that will allow the steak to undergo this process. For many of them, you can actually see the process as they often will showcase their dry aging room so customers know they are getting the best.
There are a limited number of butcher shops in the Chicago area that also follow this process. The number of establishments that offer dry aged steaks is small due to both the time involved in the aging process and the fact that significant weight is lost from the steak during the aging process, which is priced into the cost of the steak. Remember many diners prefer the of a wet aged steak. W have put together a list of local butcher shops that dry aged beef in house.
Dry aging of the steak produces a higher concentration and saturation of the natural flavor of the steak, as well as creating more tender portions of meat. Thus, the dry aged steak is what many of the beef connoisseur seeks; and, many of Chicago’s best steak houses provide it!
How does the dry age process improve the taste and texture of the steaks? In two ways: first, the process, and time that elapses, allows moisture to escape through evaporation thus allowing more concentrated flavor and taste; and second, the natural enzymes in the steak will break down the connective tissue in the steak over time and this leads to a more tender steak.
Dry aging of the steak will also promote further growth of certain fungal (mold) species on the surface of the meat. This does not cause spoilage, due to the cool temperatures at which the steaks are stored and aged, but will form a crust on the meat's surface. This crust is trimmed off as part of the preparation of the steak for cooking. The fungal species that grow as part of the dry aging process actually complement the natural enzymes in the steak and help tenderize the steak and improve the flavor. The time to dry age a steak usually lasts from 20 to 35 days but can last up to 55 days or more, the longer the more concentrated the taste and flavor. For most the 45 day plus aging is to much. During the dry aging process, the steak can lose 33%, or more, of its weight, primarily due to moisture evaporation out of the steak (again, this is why it isn’t easy or cheap to buy dry aged steaks in the grocery store.
The best place to get a dry aged steak is at one of Chicago’s best steak houses. Chicago Best Steaks takes the guesswork out of where you should go to get these prime steaks.
Chicago’s Best Steaks uses a number of measures to define the restaurant that offer the best steaks. First, the steak house must feature USDA Prime Beef on its menu; the steak house must also offer world-class service; and, stock an extensive supply of wines and spirits, in keeping with the enjoyment and atmosphere that are part and parcel of a great steak house.
Each of the steakhouse included on this site and in our guide is highly regarded by local and national media outlets such as Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, DiRoNA, Wine Spectator, and Zagat. So, you as a diner, will know that the quality of the meal and the ambiance of the restaurant will meet your strictest requirements and afford you a relaxing, enjoyable meal.