Properly Hung and Aged Fowl - Anyone Tried One?
I like my cheese aged. A 28 day + aged steak at Peter Luger is one of the great food sensations I have ever eaten. I'll drink my port or Bordeaux 20-40 YEARS old.
I guess it was recently reading Pig Perfect: Encounters with Remarkable Swine and Some Great Ways to Cook Them by Peter Kaminsky that got me thinking about aged food:
And yet the tradition of properly aging fowl seems to have gone by the wayside. I was watching a 1940s vintage movie on TCM last night and the English gentleman in the movie is served a particularly tasty goose that according to the innkeeper serving it "has been hung 4 months." My first reaction is, wow, that must be some putrid goose, but then I thought about it...
The classic is partridge or pheasant, but I supposed you can age a goose or duck as well. I remember at some point reading that you know when a pheasant has been properly aged because you hang it by the neck (presumably in a cool place) and it is properly hung when the head falls off and the pheasant drops free.
Has anyone ever eaten a properly hung and aged fowl of any sort?
Have you seen the recent thread "Is gamey such a bad thing?" (I think that's it.) It offers some interesting perspectives, some from actual hunters. I tried aged pheasant as a teenager and didn't care for it. The hunters in England left them hanging outside on the fence. As I recall, it rained every single day that August, so they must have been soggy. Seems kinda strange to me. I'll be interested to see if you get other responses.
Aging any game tenderizes and improves the flavor. There are some interesting comments about this in the exerpts of an article I posted in the Home Cooking section regarding the venison and partridge recipes we used for Thanksgiving. Fortunately, our hunt club in Long Island has proper/segregated meat lockers for aging both large game and upland game birds. When you "breast out" (removing breast meat only instead of plucking and cleaning) some of the birds for convenience you generally have to marinate or slow cook the meat to get it as tender as an aged bird.
During hunting season, the meat section of Harrod's food hall is ringed with hanging game birds of all kinds -- no refrigeration. Don't have a clue how long they age them, but I've never seen a bird fall, headless, to the floor.