I am about to purchase my first dry-aged beef steak. How do I know the steak has been properly dry-aged? How do I know if the vendor is not trying to sell me spoiled meat?

From some photos dry-aged steak seem like meat left in the freezer for too long.

  • 2
    Are there good butcher in your area ? find the butcher first, and the meat second.
    – Max
    Oct 14, 2016 at 2:38

1 Answer 1


While there's some similarity in looks between aged steak and rotten meat (both usually have a dark color) it's easy to tell the difference. Spoiled meat will smell rotten and very unpleasant, and will probably have a slimy feel to it. I've found that dry aged meat has an intense, rich smell to it. Spoiled meat, or meat past its prime will lose its bounce, if you stick a finger into it the impression will last. Good meat will spring back and the impression will disappear.

Meat that has been frozen too long will look very different from a dry aged steak.

Meat loses moisture in the dry aging process, leaving the meat more concentrated if you will. Put a steak that has been dry aged for a good amount of time next to one which hasn't and you will tell the difference. Buy from a butcher with a good reputation and compare to a supermarket choice steak and you will see what I mean.

  • In 1999 I had the good fortune to visit many of the great steakhouses of New York for the purposes of my work. From memory, Gallagher's stood out among its peers for their efforts to display racks of meat-cuts hanging over weeks and months in their onsite 'dry-aging' facility. In terms of 'taste', I rated Peter Luger & Sparks as joint best-of-the-best, followed by Gallagher's, Palm, Smith & Wollensky in no particular order. Oct 15, 2016 at 7:04

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