Wet Aging Meat
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In Wet Aging, after slaughter, sides or quarters of meat are vacuum-sealed in plastic and remain there, refrigerated at 34°F - 38°F (1.1° C – 3.3° C) between 7-28 days but on average 23 days, until they are butchered for sale. Some critics believe that Wet Aging does little for the meat’s flavor and just tenderizes it at a reduced cost while prolonging its shelf life before sale.

The lack of flavor gain argument rests on the fact that Wet-Aged meat loses relatively little weight or volume during aging so the flavors are not Concentrated. An opposing point of view suggests that Wet-Aged meats are “juicier” since they retain their moisture. But remember, “juicier” does not mean more flavorful. It only means there is more moisture, even if it is bland moisture.  As Merle Ellis, “The Butcher,” put it "Wet-aging is just a fancy name for meat that has been cut by the packer and conveniently sealed in Cryovac. It does get older—and mushier -- at the same time."

The main benefit of Wet Aging is price. Wet-Aged  Beef is on average 25% cheaper than Dry-Aged Beef. The main drawback of Wet-Aged Beef is flavor, and in its original package, shelf life after sale.


Still in its cryovac package, the beef blood and enzymes are outside of the meat, essentially rotting it, instead of actually aging it from inside the meat as Dry Aging does which means still in the package you have a shorter refrigerated holding time (3 weeks at most) and a shorter frozen holding time (2 months). Even if the meat has not turned green or putrid, it can still be rotten and a risk to good health.

The solution is to open all your cryovac meats before storing them. Once opened, wash them and dry them before re-wrapping them for Refrigerated Storage or Frozen Storage to Avoid Freezer Burn. Out of the cryovac and properly wrapped your Wet-Aged meat should last 4-5 days refrigerated and 3 months frozen in a home freezer. In a commercial freezer, the meat can last 4-12 months frozen.