Last Friday was my birthday. Hooray! I have a fantastic wife, so she treated me to a pig-butchering class at The Brooklyn Kitchen. I like meat, and I like being educated about what I eat and respecting the animals I consume. So Tom Mylan was a fantastic person to lead the evening: Knowledgeable and passionate about his work as a butcher, and (as his blog demonstrates well) able to articulate that in a way that's approachable even to rank amateurs like me.
Even better, my wife posted a great writeup over on Serious Eats. There's lots more info on other Brooklyn Kitchen classes and on Tom there. And as I've mentioned before, I love displays of true competence, especially in regard to knives. And Tom has a stellar post about choosing knives which shows off exactly that kind of expertise.
There's a lot of cuts of meat in a pig, as the diagram here shows. (That's courtesy of the Wikipedia page on pork.) And if you, like me, want to see more examples of the process of breaking down a sizable animal, Adam Fields has a full photo set, and The Brooklyn Kitchen's Flickr account has a photo set on the making of head cheese. Both of those photo albums are probably not for those squeamish about butchering.
- Ask The Meatman offers an Interactive Pork Chart.
- Ben Trott went whole-hog as well.
- Chris Cosentino butchers a pig's head — with video!
I could ramble on about this forever, but we have about 15 pounds of fresh pork in the kitchen now, so there's work to be done.