Take The Time To Dry Age Pork Shoulder Steaks For Unbeatable Flavor

dry aged ham hanging
dry aged ham hanging - Martpod/Shutterstock

You've tried grilling, smoking, and braising your meats, but it's time for a real challenge: dry aging. Dry aging is a method of food preservation that's been around for hundreds of years. The process is basically a controlled decomposition of the meat. In the old days, people used caves. Later on, butchers created special rooms where they would hang meat to mature. It wasn't until technological advances in the 1970s that wet maturing became possible, quickly replacing dry-aged meat in the commercial sector.

However, dry aging is now popular again and is something meat lovers do because they enjoy the taste. Although dry-aged beef is a common choice, dry-aged ham is uniquely loved for its rich flavors. But, premium tastes come at a premium price, so if you have the time and motivation, dry aging pork shoulder at home is a great way to stretch your culinary muscles.

The factors you need to consider when dry-aging are temperature, humidity, and air circulation. If you don't have any dry-aging equipment, you can use your fridge to dry age meat, although it's not always recommended. The risk of spoilage is much higher thanks to all of the bacteria in your fridge, and your ability to control the necessary variables is much more challenging. Wherever you choose to dry-age your pork shoulder steaks, you'll need to keep the meat just above freezing with plenty of air circulation. The humidity is tricky, but you'll want it humid enough that the pork doesn't dry out.

Read more: The Most Popular Cuts Of Steak Ranked Worst To Best

Little Pig, Little Pig

dry aged pork salami
dry aged pork salami - D-VISIONS/Shutterstock

Most people choose to purchase their dry-aged meats instead of making them at home, and there's good reason for doing so. Dry aging meat takes a considerable amount of time, requires a decent amount of care and attention, has a very real chance of spoiling, and can require an upfront investment in equipment if you want to do it right. But, before we scare you off of trying to dry age at home completely, it is absolutely something you can do yourself. The past few years have seen plenty of people rediscovering the joy this often-overlooked cooking technique has to offer.

If you have a little extra cash on hand, purchasing a mini fridge specifically designed for dry-aging meat reduces your risk of spoilage. If you plan on dry-aging meat regularly, the fridge's reduced spoilage will pay for itself in the long run. The process will take about a month before you end up with tender, flavorful pork shoulder ready to be turned into a wide variety of delicious meat treats. If you're looking for inspiration on what meats to dry age, we recently chatted with a dry aging expert about what the best cuts of meat to dry age are. Pork shoulder was a top pick, but there's a whole world to explore.

Read the original article on Tasting Table