High And Dry

A French Butcher Is Dry-Aging Steaks for a Decade or Longer

Meat sweats.
Meat sweats. Photo: Roman Marzinger/Westend61/Corbis

People who think dry-aging gets diminishing returns at some point need $3,200 and a trip to one of the very few restaurants where Alexandre Polmard’s 2000 vintage côte de boeuf is served. This steak — 15 years old! — is supposedly exquisite in taste and hardly requires a knife, thanks to a process he calls “hibernation.” Meat gets blasted with cold air at 75 miles per hour while sitting in a negative-45-degree room. The sixth-generation French butcher says the result is a steak that can be kept for any length of time with no loss of quality. (Daniel Boulud would possibly disagree.)

Polmard’s dad and grandfather invented the idea in the ‘90s, and it looks like that’s turned out pretty well for them, because, according to a CNN story, the Polmards now sell the “world’s most expensive meat” out of a shop in Paris.

Naturally, the cows that provide this meat must be ultra-exclusive as well, so the Polmard family uses a rare breed called Blonde d’Aquitaine. The cows chill out in a forest in northeast France, have daily chats with Polmard, and will soon go to a special million-dollar abattoir that only butchers four cows per week, ensuring minimal levels of glycogen and lactic acid.

CNN doesn’t list the select few chefs Polmard entrusts with his steaks, but it does mention one, Fabrice Vulin at Hong Kong’s two-Michelin-star Caprice, who slices pieces off the côte de boeuf and charges $700.


Butcher Dry-Ages Steaks for 15 Years