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Thursday 2nd October 2014
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When beef is hung for 28 days, why doesn't it go off?

Question

BeefWhen you go to a butcher’s shop, it says the meat is hung for 14 or 28 days. Why doesn’t it go off? If I had it in my fridge for that long, it would go off.
Pauline, Harrow

Answer

** Definitive **
Name: Chris, Camden
Qualification: Used to be a butcher
Answer: It was always beef you hung up for 14 days - it is because it is such a tough meat so it tastes better the older it gets. Because it is in a fridge it won't go off, but it will get more tender. Tender meats like pork or lamb don't improve with hanging.

** Additional definitive **
Name: Robert, Chiswick
Qualification: Degree in hotel management
Answer: Before cling film was invented, they used to hang the meat on a hook in a fridge and the blood on the outside of the meat congealed, causing a seal around the beef. It doesn’t rot because essentially it’s cling filmed it’s own meat and the air and bacteria can’t get in. Also inside the meat, there is marbling of fat, which contain amino acids which help tenderise the meat. In olden days, people would have only bought brown meat, not red.

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