Part art and part science, dry-aging is a natural process which helps to concentrate flavor and texture in proteins. At 138°, we continue to explore possibilities that this process affords in order to bring diners the most delicious experience possible. Diners can witness our dry-aging first hand, as we are proud to exhibit our process.
What is dry-aging?
Dry aging is a controlled decay process. Meat is about 75% water and dry aging takes away this moisture from the meat, changing the texture and flavor by concentrating it into the remaining percentage of the meat.
The meat is hung in a humidity controlled room or environment in a way where all sides of the cut are exposed to unimpeded airflow. This allows moisture to pull from the meat gradually, creating mold that helps preserve the meat over time. The mold that is created is good mold, like one you would find in blue cheese.
During the aging period, some of the flavor compounds and other molecules in the meat undergo chemical change that will increase some flavor components while reducing others. Muscle cells in the meat are broken down by enzyme activity, forming fragments that are more flavorful than the original large molecules creating savory and sweet flavors.
Before the meat is cooked, the mold is trimmed away, exposing a more tenderized cut.
138° aging periods & flavor notes from Chef Matt
Beef is aged for 90-180 days. The longer it ages the funkier it gets with a richer beef flavor, and intensified nutty, buttery (like buttered popcorn), cheesy, flavors. If you’re new to dry-aged steaks, you’ll want to go for the steak that has been dry-aged the shortest time.
Duck is aged for 2-3 weeks. Unlike beef, it doesn’t add funkiness. It mellows out the gaminess and dries out the skin and the fat for incredibly crispy skin. You might expect to get notes of truffles, blue cheese, and nutiness.
Pork is aged for 2.5-3 weeks, just enough to dry it out and develop the flavor. The dry-aging process changes the flavor to taste less like pork and more like the flavors of beef profiles. It has a funkiness to it that is a little bit different from beef.
Fish is aged anywhere from 3-4 days to 10 days, allowing it to concentrate in flavor, but not lose all the moisture. What’s intersting about dry-aging fish is that it loses all of that sea aroma and fishy smell. The skin dries up nice and crispy, and brings out all of the natural oils in the skin. Surprisingly, dry-aged fish can stand up to more masculine flavors like rosemary and red wine. Dry-aging a fish allows you to do a lot of different things than you normally would such as preparing it like a meat, pairing it with differenct sauces. People who don’t typically like fish may like dry-aged fish because it smells and tastes completely different.