Visual thinking, or fact – so what happens when you get a 1kg steak, hand carried from far away? You should first check its condition to see whether or not it fared the flight. Often when meat is aged, it rots, dehydrates and can develop unpleasant odors.
Often meat from newly slaughtered cattle is aged to allow the tough connective tissue of the muscle to be broken down by enzymes activity. A boneless primal cut of meat is often dry-aged by exposing the meat to air conditions, including temperature, humidity, and airflow. In this case its claimed to be up to six weeks to eight weeks. I doubt it.
In the aging process, a natural breakdown of the meat occurs during which the muscle at first shortens and stiffens (rigor mortis) but then becomes tenderer over time. Chemical changes occurring in the muscle and fat during aging produce meats desired flavor, aroma, and tenderness.
But this isn’t what can cause meat to smell. If you look at the primal cut the bone has been sawed (left exposed) and inside is the marrow that is decaying. This decay causes the red blood cells to essentially breakdown, rot and develop a bone marrow stench. That’s the obvious answer so don’t be worried about the meat, check it carefully.
During aging mold furs on the crust give the beef its signature “nutty” flavor profile. At the same time the blood from the bones is trapped inside and goes through its own aging, developing odors that can be unpleasant. If you take the bone-in meat, it often has a more distinctive even “off” aromas that get trapped within the meats bone structure. It rots trapped inside and smell like hell, puts you off. Consider cooking the steak by removing the bone.
In many cases wet aging is the fastest and least expensive aging process. By vacuum packing meat in a plastic layer, the meat is sealed so that moisture generally cannot escape from within and the meat is surrounded by and absorbs its juices. Storing meat in this manner, without an ability to breathe through the plastic barrier, produces a distinctive taste. I was told by Bruno Goussault that meat was always aged in its own blood and this was a traditional French standard.
But when it comes to meat, you should know that the external fat thickness is the amount of fat covering the rib eye at the point of the 12th and 13th rib. Beef yield grades provide an estimate of how much lean, edible meat the carcass will produce. Yield grades are 1,2,3,4 and 5 with 1 being a lean, heavy muscled carcass that will yield a high percentage of lean meat, and 5 being an overly fat, light muscled carcass. The percent yield of the carcass is also called the cutability of the carcass.
From the standpoint of high-end meats, the hind quarter cuts of the carcass represent about half of a side of a beef carcass and traditionally have been greatest in demand. In particular, the hind quarter includes the full loin with the short loin and sirloin, the round, flank, and kidney knob. Thus, the hind quarter is the source of the well-known beef cuts including the top loin steak, T-bone steak, porterhouse steak, tenderloin roast or steak (such as chateaubriand or filet mignon), top sirloin steak, sirloin steak, tenderloin roast or steak, beef tri-tip, round steak, top round roast or steak, and rump roasts. 🙂
The fore quarter/front quarter, which represents the other half of a side of a beef carcass, includes the chuck, rib, plate, brisket and shank. Products typically produced from the fore quarter/front quarter include cuts such as the rib roast or steak, rib eye roast or steak, back ribs, skirt steak, whole brisket, shoulder roast or steak, or chuck roast or steak.
So when it comes to thinking about meat, think about you are eating. Think about colloquially speaking cows, but think about steers those castrated males, heifers, and those female bovines that gave birth. The male bovines are castrated when young and which have not begun to develop the secondary physical characteristics of bulls. In Japan the well-known Kawamura in the Ginza Tokyo uses Steers instead of the usual heifer. While heifers are considered young and popular in the market, they are less than 3-year-olds and have not developed the physical characteristics typical of cows, e.g., have not borne a calf.
I prefer female cows, black from Kobe, Matsuzaka, and Yonezawa and all of which are brand beefs that are highly acclaimed belonging to the Japanese black group. Next time you decide when you go to the butcher choose what you wish to eat. Better still check the pedigree, age and type of bovine you are buying. If the butcher doesn’t know – find a new butcher.