The Hibernation Method Used To Age Expensive Cuts Of Steak

Most people (with the exception of pescatarians, flexitarians, vegetarians, and vegans) will sing the praises of a well-prepared, juicy steak, and these folks likely all have strongly-held opinions about which cut of steak is the most tender and flavorful. Many factors should be considered in the production of high-quality beef for that oh-so-perfect steak, such as the breed of cow, how they should be raised, and what type of feed is best, but what about hibernation?

When we think of hibernation, we think of an animal going into a deep sleep or dormant condition to save energy and survive through the winter. But in this case, it's the meat, not the cow, that does the hibernating. Though after consuming a hearty beef dinner, we might become groggy and feel like taking a season-long nap ourselves! So what do we mean when we say hibernation as it applies to pricy cuts of steak?

Putting beef to sleep

The method of steak hibernation was first introduced in the 1990s by the French Polmard family, which has been in the business of breeding and butchering cattle since 1846 (per CNN Travel). Hibernation, according to Robb Report, is a method in which the beef is dried with cold air blowing roughly 50 miles per hour, and then frozen for long periods at -45 degrees Fahrenheit. Where dry-aged beef is normally stored and aged for several weeks, this process can preserve the meat for as long as 15 years and is a method that is "believed to retain the flavor, texture and quality of the beef better than other" ones (via Maxim). 

According to CNN Travel, the Polmard family uses only meat from free-range cattle because the stress-free life produces lower amounts of glycogen and lactic acid, which they believe produces meat that is more flavorful and tender. Further, their method of aging beef produces steaks that, because of demand, are exclusive to the most famous chefs in the world (per Robb Report). So, where might one go to taste these sought-after hibernated steaks? Well, one possibility, according to Maxim, is by dining at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong, where, for a mere $4000 plus $390 per person, you can order an 8-course meal that includes the pampered beef. 

So if you happen to come into a mammoth-size inheritance, head right over and try it out!