Why You Should Dry Age A Whole Chicken In Butter

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Dry aging is something we are supposed to value when it comes to premium cuts of steaks, and it probably conjures up images of giant legs of red meat hanging in an icy room. Dry aging just means allowing the meat to rest in a temperature-controlled environment before being butchered into smaller cuts, such a steaks, loins, and so on. But the sumptuous meat prep doesn't have to stop there. You can actually dry age many types of meat like pork, venison, and yes, chicken, all of which are perfectly suited to dry aging. 

You can also age meats in a thick coat of butter, as seen by Nick DiGiovanni who did so with a cut of wagyu beef. TikTok creator Gustavo Tosta of Guga Foods also tried out what he claims is "the world's first butter dry-aged chicken." The chicken is coated with a shocking amount of whipped, seasoned butter — think 5+ sticks. He allowed it to rest for 2 days in the fridge, which may seem like a short time in the world of dry aging, but regardless of prep methods, meat doesn't keep forever, and longer aging times equal a greater likelihood of spoiling. So even if you see videos of home chefs dry aging steak for months on end, be cautious, especially when working with salmonella-prone poultry.  Regardless of the short aging time, Tosta reports that this butter dry aging method produces, "The best chicken [he's] ever had in regards to tenderness." 

Give butter dry aging a chance

It should be noted that the butter slather combines two methods: salt curing and dry aging, thanks to the salt-seasoned butter coating. Salt is a powerful flavor enhancer and tenderizer, and works to draw moisture out of the chicken through osmosis, which leads to remarkably tender meat that can crisp up easily in the oven. Butter aging is an amazing way to infuse the chicken with fat and salt, all while tenderizing it ahead of cooking. If that amount of salt is a bit too rich for your blood, be sure to use unsalted butter. 

And yes, that is a wild amount of butter, especially from a cost perspective — 4 sticks of Land O Lakes butter clocks in at $4.98 from Walmart. But you don't have to just limit its use as a curing agent. Tosta puts rice and potatoes at the bottom of his cooking pan, but there's no reason you couldn't do this with a larger number of veggies, such as celery, carrots, and onions, or even lemons, because while butter, potatoes, and rice are delicious, it can also be a bit rich, to put it mildly. Plus, once cooled and filtered, you can have a pretty incredible spread known as schmaltz, which can be used again while cooking other meats or veggies, or just spread on a slice of toast.