Hanging meat is a crucial stage of the Burts Catering Butcher’s process, and should be for any quality butcher for that matter! So, let’s get into the many benefits of hanging meat and answer the question of Why do butchers hang meat.
The simple answer is, that enzymes in the meat make the muscle fibres softer and more elastic. Which, ultimately, leads to a more tender cut that is easier to chew and generally more palatable than harder meat.
Hanging meat is also the first stage of decomposition. When meat is hung in the correct environment, this isn’t anything to worry about. In fact, it’s actually been standard practice for generations.
Hanging meat also removes any moisture from the carcass. You may have heard of the term dry-ageing, this is essentially hanging meat.
Dry-aged meats are much better for cooking and storing. Young meat, which is wet and underhung, holds too much water. This water ends up in your pan when you cook it or on your carving board when you cut it. Fundamentally, all moisture is lost during the cooking process, leaving you with a dry and hard-to-chew piece of meat.
If you’re planning on freezing the cut of meat then you’re much better off opting for dry-aged. Simply because the water in a young piece of meat will expand and freeze into ice crystals. These ice crystals are formed inside the fibres of the meat. When you come to defrost and cook the meat these ice crystals will melt back into the water. The water will leach out much easier and leave you with an even drier piece of meat!
The duration of time that meat is hung depends entirely upon the type and cut. Meats that have less marbling or fat often underperform over longer hanging times. This is becauset the fat on a piece of meat protects it massively from deterioration. Pork, veal and lamb fall into this category.
If meat is hung for too long then the muscle ends start to dry out. This means that they have to be cut off and wasted.
Typically, lamb is hung for a week, turkey for 10 days and beef for 28 days. These are the recommended optimum times for hanging. It achieves a delicious flavour without compromising on the texture and minimising waste.
At Burts Catering Butchers we work from state-of-the-art premises that operate under strict controls for temperature, quality and storage. All of our staff members make sure that the high-quality meat we provide is prepared and stored in a clean environment. We commit to all our clients by providing the very best produce and the highest levels of service.
If you’d like to find out more about our processes, take a look at the How We Work pages. If you are thinking of changing your meat supplier then please get in touch. Either call us on 01424 730417, email us or fill in our contact form.
We look forward to speaking with you about your meat requirements. We work with large corporations as well as pubs, restaurants and cafes – any business that wants to serve exceptional quality meat to their customers.
Thanks for reading this blog about why do butchers hang meat. We hope you have found it useful!