RMM Butchering Workshop The Whole Nine Yards
Weekends are suppose to be relaxing and downtime from the Monday through Friday routine. Ha! Saturday mornings can end up being the busiest day of the week, between the farmers markets, exercise routines and other “must do” errands. I did manage to get to the “Whole Hog Butcher Breakdown Class” this past Saturday morning provided by the great folks at The Red Meat Market.(We wrote about their launch in June 2012 here.) They are the ones on Twitter, @Redmeatmarket, “Eat it, Tweet It, #Goodmeat, #Chooselocal”.
I was a “drop-in” so I missed the first half of the session which included meeting the farmer, LouisJohn Slagel, of Slagel Family Farms, who provided the hog that was butchered, spoke about what sustainable meat is, how the animals are raised, and about his farm. The butchers, Jack Rinella and Tim Vickel of Buedel Quality Meats went over equipment, knives, sharpening. Ryan Hutmacher, who provided the airy space of The Centered Chef Studio described nose to tail cooking, making stocks and what he was planning to cook for everyone’s lunch.
What was interesting is that most of the students were there because they wanted to try butchering themselves. I arrived in the middle of the action where each person in the group was able to take a stab at butchering part of the hog. My timing was perfect, little did I know, but I should have expected, because Mark and Janet Wilhelms think of everything, that an incredible lunch was included with the workshop. I am not a meat eater, vegetables tend to be the star of my plate, but the piece of pork belly that Ryan had me taste was incredible and so simply cooked and yet again proved the point that if the beginning product is really good, the cooked(correctly) product is really, really good! It made me glad that I have not given up on meat completely.
At the end of the morning, students were given large bags of the freshly cut meat to bring home. Not only did the students participate in the process, meet all the players, the farmer, the butcher and the chef but they got to bring home some good meat as well! As one student remarked, she thought the whole class was an incredible value. I took away a “to do’”. I need to bone up on my cuts of meat. First off, there are so many cuts of meat and if I know more about what they are, it makes me a better shopper, cook and I can save money because some of the less well known cuts are cheaper but tasty to eat.
The other fun part of this workshop was the mix of people that it drew. From one familar social media face whose father, interestingly enough, was a butcher, to a caterer wanting to be more knowledgeable on meat, to people who just wanted to be able to participate in the process. I was happy that I was able to carve out the time and stop by!
(Disclosure: I was invited by the RMM folks and did not pay for the workshop)