While dry-aging is associated with red meat, this time-honored technique can also be applied to poultry - a popular trend among hunters, chefs, and meat aficionados!
The DRYAGER™ cabinet is capable of dry-aging more than steak. Poultry can be dry-aged to perfection with less time than beef or pork, because this protein is subject to a faster maturation (enzymatic breakdown) process. In general, poultry such as chicken, cornish game hens, and turkey have less fat content and should only be aged for 5 days or less. In contrast, waterfowl, such as ducks and geese, have a much higher fat content for added thermal insulation for the cold water.This fat layer just under the skin tends to be even higher if these animals are farmed. In addition, waterfowl are extremely active compared to other stationary birds since they migrate thousands of miles only to return to their original habitats once the season is over. To succeed in these long flights, waterfowl have twice the amount of capillary blood which keeps their heart and lungs pumping. Such excess blood flow, while good for the bird, develops a stronger and gamier taste for some, but it does not have to be. You may be asking yourself, “How do I mellow out the gamey, muddy taste of waterfowl, and other wading birds?” The natural way to remove this excess blood and break down the tough muscle is through DRY AGING!
By dry aging in the DRYAGER™ you can be sure that the right conditions are keeping the meat free of pathogens and bacteria. With little time, waterfowl such as duck and geese will result in meat that is as tender in texture as it is rich and savory in flavor. The results of dry-aging poultry are a crisper skin and succulently tender meat.
While there are various breeds of waterfowl, they respond well to the dry-aging method. We strongly recommend choosing sources that practice free-range farming. Chef Josiah Citrin of Melisse and Charcoal Venice, Timothy Hollingsworth of Otium, and Kevin Meehan of Kali Restaurant all use Liberty Ducks as their supplier of sustainably raised, fresh ducks. Since using a very high initial quality, fresh after slaughter (from the day before) is essential. We recommend looking to your local butcher, or farmer for more information on sourcing the best quality ducks. If you plan to acquire your proteins by hunting them yourself, we wish you happy hunting!
To prepare for the DRYAGER™ cabinet, it is important to work hygienically, to have a continuous cold chain and to activate the UVC system to sterilize the air inside the DRYAGER™ fridge. We recommend to dry age the whole bird with the skin on and to hang the birds with the head upright. They can also be placed on a shelf with the breast up. Make sure the abdominal cavity remains open, to prevent any liquid accumulating inside. For waterfowl you can go up to 8 or max. 10 days to render the best results. After that time the flavor does not improve anymore.
WATERFOWL DRY-AGING PARAMETERS
- Temperature: 1.5 °C
- Humidity: 82% RH
- Time: Range: between 8 to 10 days
Recipe for Dry-aged Leg of Duck with Sweet Dried Fruit
Serves 4 People
- 4 legs of duck, free-range, dry-aged
- Fleur de sel
- 1 large onion
- 100 grams of dried plums
- 4 slices of brown bread
- A little oil for frying
- 2 tbls. of honey
1. Brush a light coating of oil onto the bread.
2. Roast the slices of bread in the oven.
3. Spice the legs of duck with pepper and salt.
4. Fry all over in a hot pan.
5. Peel and halve the onions, cut into slices.
6. Add the onions and dried plums to the frying pan.
7. Add a little pepper and fleur de sel.
8. Cover the pan and fry on a medium heat.
9. Shortly before the end of cooking, pour a little honey over the legs of the duck.
10. Before serving, leave in the pan to stand for 5 minutes.
11. Arrange the onions and baked plums on the slices of bread.
12. Add a little fleur de sel.
13. At the same time, plate the leg of duck and enjoy it!
- Use dried apricots and cranberries instead of plums
- Use your favorite sour bread
- Use other poultry, like geese, pheasant, or Bresse chicken instead of duck
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