Alton Brown Predicts That Dry Aged Fish Will Be The Dish Of 2023

There are some food buzzwords that we hear a lot, but don't always understand until we dig a little deeper. Sure, we've heard of Wagyu beef, but just hearing the name didn't teach us anything about, for instance, the difference between Kobe beef and Wagyu beef. The same goes for the phrase "dry-aged." It seems pretty self-explanatory (and at the end of the day, it is), but if you are a little skeeved out about the thought of aging meat, then "dry-aged beef" could sound scary at first. But these days, dry-aged beef is a well-known, prized preparation of meat at steakhouses and butchers shops alike. So could the same someday be the case for dry-aged ... fish? Alton Brown thinks so.

It's the time of year when everyone starts trying to predict what the food trends of the next year will be, and Alton Brown himself hopped on Twitter to join the conversation. Brown dropped what he called a "#CulinaryTruth," saying "dry aged fish will be the 'it' dish of 2023." But his Twitter replies didn't seem so certain. "Don't put that evil out there, Alton," said one user. "A wedge of mouthwatering hardtack would really round out the meal," joked another person

Some commenters seemed to think that Brown was joking, but it turns out, he's on to something — and he's not the only person predicting that the dry-aged fish trend on the rise.

What is dry-aged fish?

So, what is dry-age fish and is it safe to eat? According to San Diego Magazine, "not only does dry-aging preserve the fish, the methods — when done correctly — improve the flavor and texture." Because of this, in Japan, aging fish is common practice at many high-end sushi restaurants. As the fish ages, the water within evaporates, making the flesh of the fish denser and more concentrated in flavor. It also can make the fat in the fish creamier, which improves the texture. And those with food safety concerns should note that aging the fish in a dry, controlled environment helps prevent spoilage (per San Diego Magazine). 

In Los Angeles, California dry-aged fish is becoming more and more popular. Fishmonger Liwei Liao is credited by many chefs in the city for popularizing dry-aged fish, which he hangs in temperature and moisture controlled refrigerators for up to 24 days (via Eater). The dry-aging process can even transform less-beloved cuts of fish into something worthy of sashmi, which helps prevent food waste (Liao's shop, The Joint, is a nearly zero-waste establishment, according to Culinary Backstreets). 

When a food city like Los Angeles starts embracing a trend, it seems like only a matter of time before we start seeing it everywhere. Keep your eyes peeled and you just might see Alton Brown's predicted food trend pop up at a restaurant near you.