2 Feb 2009

Pork Butchery Class

This is the third butchery course I have taken at the Ginger Pig under the tutelage of Borat and Perry – this time it was pork having already taken the beef and lamb editions. The courses feature lots of hands on experience, crucial when getting to grips with where muscles and bones of the animal are placed.

Beginning with the farming practices used to rear the rare breads of pigs on their 4 farms, we learnt about different types of fat, how they make their renowned sausages (albeit brief as there is indeed a sausage making course too) and the differences between organic and free range pork husbandry.

Eager to get into chopping up the meat, we moved over to the butchers block as one lucky student was tasked with lifting half a pig off the hook onto the bench. Wanting to be at the heart of the action, I got a little too close and was surprisingly smacked in the face with the pigs’ trotter. After we’d chuckled about the dangers of handling pigs we began to identify the different pork cuts, taking turns to hack, chop and slice our way through 3 sides of pork.

Being hands on is the most efficient way to learn, so for the end of the session created a porchetta roasting joint from a section of pork loin to take home. Removing and scoring the back fat for crackling, then prizing the bones from the precious loin meat we each concentrated on not slicing our fingers with the sharp boning knifes. Smothering handfuls of salt, pepper, fennel seed and garlic pulp to the flesh, the back fat was then tied back in place with masterful butchers knots (after half a dozen attempts... I wish they would run knot tutorials!)

Whilst we had been butchering away, Borat had been roasting a porchetta for us to devour with a well earned glass of wine. Accompanied with potatoes roasted in beef dripping we devoured the meal as we swapped hearty foodie stories on road kill butchery and wild boar hunting – not for the faint hearted!

So, the weekend has forced a Saturday supper of porchetta (although enough to serve about 6, we’ll be enjoying leftovers all week) roasted to perfection with cracking crackling. Only the sausage course to go and I graduate from the Ginger Pig School of Butchery – maybe an apprenticeship next?

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Simply...Gluten-free said...

Wow, I am so impressed!

Kim McGowan said...

Thanks...I do have a strange fascination and respect for meat and butchers. Its a true food craft!