DRY AGING WITH HANK SHAW AND JESS PRYLES
Chef & James Beard award winning author Hank Shaw hosts a podcast called Hunt Gather Talk. Season 4 focuses on food preservation and he kicks it off in Episode One by sitting down with Jess Pryles - live-fire cook and founder of Hardcore Carnivore. Whether you’re a dry aging expert or are just getting started, their conversation has something for everyone and covers topics including meat science, wet vs dry aging, dry aging safely at home, and more.
The Pursuit of Undoing Rigor
While guest Jess Pryles is likely best known as the creator of the Hardcore Carnivore line of spices and
First and foremost, the reason meat is aged in any form (wet or dry) is to increase the tenderness of the product by allowing the effects of rigor mortis to subside. When an animal is harvested, whether it be wild game in the field or beef at the processing facility, rigor mortis sets in within hours, rendering the meat very tough and undesirable to eat. By aging the protein in a controlled environment at temperatures above freezing, Jess explains how we are effectively engaging in “controlled decomposition” and releasing the tension in the muscles. From an impact on tenderness, Jess refers to aging as “the pursuit of undoing rigor.”
Only Dry Aging can Promote Flavor
As the conversation continues, Hank and Jess make their way into the territory of discussing the similarities and differences between wet and dry aging. As Jess shares, all types of aging will have an impact on tenderness of the meat, whether it is wet aging in a vacuum sealed package or dry aging in a dedicated chamber, like a DRYAGER cabinet. However, when it comes to flavor, only dry aging can promote flavor, whereas wet aging will have a neutral or even sour impact on the flavor profile. When in pursuit of flavor, wet aging simply cannot compete with dry aging.
Dry Aging at Home Made Safe with the DRYAGER cabinet
Dry aging is a highly aerobic process, which allows for wonderful flavor development but also poses certain risks when not done correctly, namely in the form of mold growth which can lead to toxins within the meat. While the two discuss different methods of dry aging at home, Hank explains how aging in his DRYAGER cabinet has allowed him to “set it and forget it” without worrying about the food safety issues which often plague home-made dry aging setups like converted beer fridges.
To listen to Hank and Jess’s conversation in full, visit the Hunt Gather Talk podcast webpage or download Season 4 - Episode 1 of Hunt-Gather-Talk wherever you listen to your podcasts.
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