“Pork is generally undervalued,” says Brooklyn-based butcher Brent Young. “It deserves to be on the menu at a steakhouse right off the New York Strip or your ribeye.” Ben Turley, his partner at the meat hook Butcher shop, is in full compliance. With their high opinion of pork, they decide to experiment with dry-ripened pork, which they believe will result in a steakhouse-level dish.
The experiment includes a dry aging process lasting around four weeks. “[At four weeks,] You don’t get the funk or umami from [longer] Dry aging but you get a really clear and precise picture of the product you just received from the farm, ”explains Ben.
You start by slaughtering half a pig Gibson Family Farms down the loin and place in the aging refrigerator, set between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 to 80% humidity. After four weeks, the color and texture of the meat changes from light pink to dark red, the loin weighs two pounds less due to moisture loss, and the meat has also peeled off the bone.
The two compare a fresh piece of pork tenderloin with the dry-ripened one, which is cooked in butter as well as in garlic and thyme. For both pieces, they render out the fat and fry it on both sides over medium heat, then turn it up to sear. When it’s time for the taste test, both of them conclude that the fresh pork tastes simple and clean. When you try the dry-ripened one, you’ll be amazed at how “piggy” it tastes, with fat that melts in your mouth.
“It’s really just a more intense version of our control,” says Brent. “It’s extremely juicy and extremely tender, just because of its dry age. We only gave the pork the time it needed to achieve what it can be. ”