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Dry aging of red meat – New strategies for iconising New Zealand red meat flavour

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posted on 2023-06-21, 21:41 authored by Renyu ZhangRenyu Zhang, Carolina Realini CujoCarolina Realini Cujo, Mustafa FaroukMustafa Farouk

Dry-ageing of fresh meat is a natural processing strategy. It focuses on developing the signature, dry-aged meat flavour to satisfy growing consumer demands for exceptional eating experiences. Dry-aged meat is a niche product preferred by meat purveyors for its tenderness and unique flavours, such as intense nutty, roasted, earthy, buttery and umami flavours. Research focus on dry-ageing has significantly increased in the last 5-10 years as scientists and the meat industry aim to understand the key advantages of dry-ageing, and how dry-ageing can provide alternative merchandising opportunities for local and export markets.

Traditionally, dry-ageing is done by hanging primal or subprimal meat cuts, or placing them on shelves, in an ageing chamber (Figure 1). This allows critical elements of meat ageing to be controlled, including temperature, air velocity and relative humidity (RH). The typical process is to dry-age at refrigerator temperatures (0-4 °C), with effective air circulation and an intermediate RH (e.g. 70-85%), for a minimum of three weeks to develop the characteristic dry-aged meat flavour. Dry-ageing can also be seen as “ageing under drying conditions”. A series of physical and biochemical reactions take place during the dry-ageing process, such as dehydration, oxidation, proteolysis, lipolysis and growth of microorganisms (Zhang, Yoo, Ross, & Farouk, 2022). These develop the unique quality of dry-aged meat.

Studying dry-ageing of red meat is one of the unique capabilities in AgResearch’s Food Processing and Technology team. Early career meat scientist, Dr Renyu Zhang, established the mechanisms for developing unique dry-aged meat flavour based on his Ph.D. research (Zhang et al., 2022). Renyu’s research priority is advancing knowledge of dry-ageing, while also developing viable strategies to support the meat and food service industries to produce dry-aged meat with more consistent quality, tailorable flavour and lower costs. This mini review provides an overview of recent dry-ageing research at AgResearch.


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  • PRJ0452204


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Food New Zealand



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