Chef John Tesar spends a good portion of his day tending cows. Not live cows, but the cuts of beef hanging in his meat locker. He’s dry-aging steaks or, as he puts it, “I’m winemaking with cows.”
He’s part scientist and part chef. He hangs whole subprimals—huge cuts with bones and fat caps intact—uncovered in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment for varying times. As it ages, a piece of beef can lose up to 30 percent of its moisture. Enzymes break down the tough muscle fibers. This produces a more flavorful and tender steak.
Is longer better? “Between 45 and 60 days, all of the better cuts are fantastic,” Tesar says. “At 240, it’s like eating a stick of butter. You don’t need to eat very much.”