New addition to the Culinary/Hospitality program
Since Southeast Community College Culinary/Hospitality program Instructor Brandon Harpster is “obsessed with dry-aged meats,” he’s especially excited about the latest addition to the program: A dry meat ager.
“We are most excited for this as it is a great way for the students to see and understand the process of dry aging and why the cost is higher and how the flavor of the products is affected and improved,” Harpster explained.
According to Harpster, a dry ager is a special refrigeration cabinet that properly ages meats, sausages, charcuterie items, and fish. It controls the humidity and airflow in the cabinet, assuring the meat ages correctly.
“The process of dry aging is most commonly done with beef, and that is what we are using it for at SCC,” he added. “It allows excess moisture to evaporate from the meat causing it to become more flavorful and at the same time helping the meat become more tender and have a better texture when cooked.
The dry ager will be utilized in the program’s Selection of Protein Products class. Harpster said they will use the ager to age meats, compare flavor differences to common wet-aged beef, and look at the costs associated with dry-aging meats. He said the program is excited to experiment with it and hopefully feature these types of meats at the Course Restaurant.
“We do offer our meats when we have them available as specials at Course Restaurant, and we hope to have a special dinner at Course in the late summer all about dry-aged meats and highlighting the flavors of meats when they are aged at different lengths of time,” he said.
Drying the cuts of meat can take anywhere from 28 days to several months or more. It not only enhances flavor, but also makes it more tender than it would be completely fresh.