What’s the best way to cook aged meat?
Again, this comes down to preference, but the chefs I spoke to all had different tips and tricks to making the best possible dry-aged steak.
For Pollaci, a super-hot cast iron pan and aggressively salt-and-peppered steak is key.
“I prefer to use canola or grapeseed oil to get a nice sear,” he said. “After you’ve finished searing, throw in a generous tablespoon of butter, crushed garlic, thyme, and bay leaf [and] continuously baste the steak in butter.”
Poll likes his steaks cooked the same way they do at Gallaghers, which is over hickory coals (the restaurant goes through bags upon bags of coal a day).
“It’s amazing, the difference of flavor,” he shared. “It’s easier cooking on a gas broiler or a gas grill because you can regulate heat. The coals, it fluctuates. But the flavor is absolutely, substantially different. The hickory coals complement it; it doesn’t overshadow the quality of the meat.”
Cosentino utilizes both methods: “I prefer to either cook them over coals or in a cast iron pan basted in butter and with herbs and garlic. Both of these methods add flavor and depth to the meat. The cast iron pan with butter and herbs helps bring out the nutty and cheese-like characteristic of the meat's age. The grilling over charcoal, depending on the woods, brings out a different aspect of the meat. It intensifies the umami and the rich grill char and smoke gives the nutty and cheese-like flavor a deeper more intense flavor and length on the palate.”
Whatever the method of preparation, whatever the length aging that’s occurred, and whatever the cut, at the end of the day, a dry-aged steak is a dry-aged steak. And what that generally means is that it’s going to be delicious -- regardless of it it’s aged in a Himalayan salt room, flamed over a special bag of coals, or basted in butter (though those things certainly don’t hurt). At the end of the day, if your steak wasn’t aged in a fridge that smells like wet cilantro and old cheese, it will probably be a good time.