If meat is stored in a proper aging environment, it undergoes an enzymatic change that softens some of the connective tissue. The optimal period and temperature are 10 to 20 days between 34F and 38F (Freezing would inhibit the chemical process, and too high a heat would foster excessive bacterial and mold development).
The traditional dry-aging method does more than tenderize. It also deepens the red flesh color and intensifies the meat's flavor, mainly because of the 10 to 20 percent shrinkage that occurs. Finally, the longer you age meat, the quicker it will cook to any desired degree of doneness. An alternative dry-aging method uses ultraviolet rays to kill surface bacteria. This allows the meat to age at about 70F. The higher temperature shortens the aging time to two or three days, therefore reducing shrinkage. This process saves the processor money at the cost of tenderness and flavor for the diner.
Another aging technique is to apply two minutes of intermittent electrical shocks to the hanging carcass. The process is fast, the results poor.
** Asian Recipes **