How to Age Meat at Home
It’s a privilege to live in the United States and being able to enjoy aged prime meat. The unique flavor and texture that is usually said to “hit the spot”, unfortunately in Ecuador, is difficult to come by. This is because, in Ecuador, there is no culture for aged meat and in most cases, you can’t find prime beef.
However, there is a way to make it like at home even when living in Ecuador. Let me guide you through a few simple steps with no special equipment.
Expats and others visiting the area often ask me where to buy high-quality meat in Cuenca? Then once they’ve bought the meat they are curious as to why the meat is so gamey and tough. They quickly realize the beef isn’t like they are accustomed to.
By being a chef in the United States and Europe, I’ve found those questions to be very valid. There is a difference in the meat quality from the U.S. to Ecuador. The taste and softness of the beef especially. There are also different cuts that can be purchased in the U.S., that cannot be found here in Ecuador. However, I will provide you with some information that will be useful for you and increase your chances of enjoying beef at home.
Let me first explain why the meat here in Ecuador is harder than the meat in the U.S. It depends on how the cattle are slaughtered. Here in Ecuador, cattle are slaughtered in a traditional South American way. The same consideration isn’t taken for the animal in the United States.
However, in the past years the processes have evolved and now there are some companies here where they have a better and more efficient way to provide high-quality beef. This takes us to our second point, where to buy them? My first advice is not to buy in the market.
Where to Buy Meat in Ecuador
The best option to purchase meat, in my opinion, is Ital Deli or Supermaxi. Here, the meat is of better quality and will be stored and packaged properly. Although, you can tell that meats are more expensive than the market but with much better quality!
I’m certain that most will not find a problem with spending a little more to have the quality they enjoy. Ital Deli will also be able to make special cuts by request.
Top Chef Tips for Aging and Preparing Meat
Do some people wonder why beef here in Ecuador has a gamey taste? The main reason is the age of the meat and the way it is slaughtered and stored. As the meat ages, the gamey taste goes away. Now, follow these simple steps to age your meat at home. I have explained in the following points:
- Once you’ve gotten the meat home take out the packaging and rinse it (not excessive), then dry the excess liquid from the meat with paper towels.
- Wrap the meat in cheesecloth and place in a pan. (Do not to trim the meat before doing this) and place it in the refrigerator.
- The best temperature to age the meat is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid meat from spoiling.
- Leave it for one day, then change the cheesecloth, making sure there are no fibers stuck to the meat, then wrap it in a new piece of cheesecloth.
- Leave it for three to seven days. The longer you leave it, the better it will taste. You can now prepare how you like.
Extra Tip: To make the meat more tender, simply marinate with olive oil, papaya skins, and a bit of papaya pulp for two days. The meat will be most tender. A key point is not to add salt because the PH balance level of salt will dry out the meat. We should only add salt just before cooking.
As you can see, we can get the best possible meat following simple steps. Enjoy it from the grill or to sauteed with onions on the stovetop. It’s your choice! Bonn Appetite!
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by Sebastian Vallejo