All You Need to Know About Dry Aged Steaks

All You Need to Know About Dry Aged Steaks

Our new dry-aged organic steaks are expertly prepared by our butchers and aged in Himalayan salt chambers in our own organic abattoir for 35 days, for optimum flavour and enhanced tenderness.

Here, our Lead Butcher Bayan explains what dry ageing is, how and why we dry age our meat and the benefits of dry aged steak. We have also shared expert tips from our chefs about how to cook the perfect dry aged steak at home. 

What is dry ageing of meat?

Dry ageing is both a culinary art and a food science with a history that goes back generations. Before refrigeration was invented, the best way to store meat was in a controlled open-air environment, such as a cool cellar or cave. Dry ageing is a time-honoured technique that enhances meat’s flavour and texture and today we do it in a controlled way to achieve meat with superior eating quality. 

At Daylesford, large joints of beef (known as “primal cuts” or “primals” to the butchers) are aged in Himalayan salt chambers for 35 days before they are trimmed and cut into steaks. Himalayan salt helps remove moisture from the air and naturally minimises the growth of unwanted bacteria. 

Dry ageing of meat in this way draws out the moisture which intensifies and enhances the flavours and helps create a tender texture. 

Why do you dry age a steak?

There are two main reasons to dry age meat such as beef steaks: transformation of texture and flavour. 

By exposing the meat to air, the enzymes naturally present in the meat slowly break down the muscles of the meat, making the texture more tender. As the meat dries, a crust forms over the muscle, while the inside stays moist. Natural moulds and yeasts develop during the dry ageing process, which affect the final flavour – similar to a fine wine or artisan blue cheese.

The 35-day dry age steak process we use at Daylesford creates an intensified umami flavour profile and helps the meat become tender.

What is the difference between dry aged steak and regular steak?

All meat benefits from some amount of ageing to relax the muscles and create a more tender texture – nobody wants a tough steak. When it comes to dry aged steak vs fresh, there is a “sweet spot”; too little ageing and the texture will remain tough, too much ageing and the flavour will become too intense. 

All our steaks at Daylesford are aged for at least 21 days and our new range is dry-aged for 35 days, which we found to be the optimum length of time to build layers of complex flavour and enhance texture.

Dry aged beef does not spoil – the key is consistency and control in air flow, humidity and temperature to ensure the meat ages without rotting. At the end of the dry age steak process, the dried-out layers around the exterior are cut away, leaving you with a beautifully aged, dark-red piece of meat.

Dry-aged meat is more expensive because dry ageing requires more space and expert monitoring of temperature, humidity and air flow, and because the meat will lose up to 30% of its original volume in water loss, which leads to smaller yields by the time they are trimmed and cut into steaks. 

Steaks are the most prized part of the animal, so dry ageing is the best way to elevate the cut and honour that animal’s life. 

What is the difference between dry and wet aged steak?

Wet ageing involves sealing the meat in a bag for the duration of the ageing process, which retains moisture. Wet ageing will help improve tenderness but will not affect the flavour. 

With dry ageing, moisture is drawn out of the meat. Fat retains more water than lean muscle, which shrinks around the fat and makes it more pronounced, giving the beef more flavour. The dry ageing process produces a rich, intense and robust flavour profile that you do not get with wet ageing.

What does dry aged steak taste like?

With dry aged steaks you can expect the meaty, rich umami flavours to be deeper and more intense. Think of the difference between grape juice and a fine wine: both are delicious, but the aged wine is more complex, nuanced and sophisticated. 

Some people say dry aged meat tastes nutty or cheese-like, which is apt because the final flavour of the steak is affected by the natural bacteria and yeasts which develop during the ageing process – similar to an artisan blue cheese.

You will be able to detect a rich, intense scent as soon as you open a packet of dry aged beef and cooking “wakes up” the molecules in the beef, creating a mouth-watering scent as the steak sizzles.

Are dry aged steaks better than other types of steak?

If you are looking for deep, complex flavour, then yes. 

Taste is all down to personal preference, and there is a place for other types of steak, but food experts and chefs around the world agree that dry aged steaks are unbeatable in terms of flavour and texture. Most food lovers find dry aged steak does taste better.

What are the benefits of dry aged steaks?

It all comes down to the eating experience, namely the flavour and texture: dry-aged beef has a more complex, savoury flavour and the meat is wonderfully soft, making it easy to cut and some say, easier to digest.

Organic beef offers high quality protein and essential nutrients including iron, zinc and vitamin B12.

How to cook dry aged steak?

Our chefs at the Cookery School at Daylesford have shared a video on how to prepare and cook the perfect steak at home. Watch the video here or scan the QR code on the packaging to view – the recipe and method is also written out here

You may also like to try our recipe for Perfect Steak with Wild Garlic Sauce

Bear in mind that 35-day dry aged steaks may cook faster because there is less moisture in the meat, so keep an eye on your steak as it cooks.

Bring out the natural deep flavours of the meat by cooking simply with oil, salt and pepper, or enjoy with your favourite sauces and accompaniments. 

The beef herds at Daylesford

We raise our beef herds organically at our farms in the Cotswolds and Staffordshire and amongst the community of British beef farmers we choose to partner with. Traditional, low-impact and high welfare organic farming systems produce the finest meat and benefit the animals and land. Organically raised herds mature slowly, which aids in nourishing the soil they roam on to keep the British countryside diverse and thriving. 

We are proud to be a part of Britain’s living heritage by raising five rare and native breeds on our pastures, which are naturally suited to organic, regenerative farming systems:


A rare, native breed that produces both meat and milk with an incredible depth of flavour. Gloucester cattle have been bred since the 14th century and were recently in danger of extinction. In 2006 we rescued a small herd and brought them to our Cotswolds farm, where they thrive.

Aberdeen Angus

This world-renowned breed is known for its rich marbling and exceptional flavour. Originating from Scottish cattle in the 1800s, we have been breeding Aberdeen Angus at Daylesford for over 30 years.

South Devon

This breed produces tender, well-marbled beef. The largest native breed in Britain today, bred since the 1700s in the West Country.


Consistently tender and bred since the 1700s in Herefordshire, neighbouring our Cotswolds farm.

Ruby Red

This versatile breed also known as “Red Poll” is noted for exceptional tenderness, good marbling and well-developed flavour. Bred in England since the latter half of the 19th century for both milk and meat.


The 35-day dry aged steak range includes the following premium cuts:


The sirloin cut has a generous marbling of fat, offering a balance of depth of flavour with a tender texture.   


Rib-eye is one of the most flavoursome cuts of beef, taken from the inner rib muscles. The rich marbling guarantees maximum flavour and juicy succulence – a cut favoured by aficionados.


The leanest steak cut, offering a meltingly tender bite. Taken from the small end of the tenderloin, a small and little-used muscle underneath the sirloin. Because the lean cut has very little fat running through the meat, fillet does not have the rich flavour of other cuts, but is prized for its soft, delicate texture. 


The T-bone contains a portion of tender filet, as well as a cut of sirloin, giving two different flavours and textures. The premium T-Bone cut has recently received the 1* Great Taste Award 2023.  


Cut from the rib section of the cow, the Côte De Boeuf cut is a rib eye steak left on the bone, which keeps the meat extra juicy. This cut is well-marbled with fat, which gives the steak its characteristic rich flavour. This premium Côte De Boeuf cut has recently received the 1* Great Taste Award 2023. 

Available from to buy from Daylesford farmshops and online and via Ocado. 

Bayan Hani heads up our talented team of butchers at the Daylesford farmshops in London. He has worked in food for more than 20 years, first as a chef before focusing on meat and becoming a fully qualified butcher. He joined Daylesford in February 2023 and is responsible for making sure the range and service available from our butcher’s counters are of the highest quality.