Pork Butchering and BBQ with Thrillist
The days before I went to the Thrillist Rewards pig butchering event at KTCHN 105, I was so excited and told everyone about it. Most people were horrified. Some were encouraging. Most thought it was perfectly normal I wanted to butcher a pig.
What they didn’t know is my maternal grandmother was a butcher. She specialized in pork. I didn’t grow up with this grandmother and she had more or less retired by the time I got to know her. My uncle took over the business. Still, I was very enthusiastic.
It turned out this class was extremely popular. I estimated about 65 or 70 people were in attendance. Who knew so many others attended? The admission of $60* got you charcuterie, beer, tequila cocktails, a chance to help wrap up pork and BBQ with plenty of sides. We also got to watch how bacon and sausages were made.
We started off with a tequila cocktail that featured chrysanthemum bitters. It was very nice and I liked the sangrita they served as well. The charcuterie was so fresh. I loved the warm meaty bits and tender slices of pork.
The butchering was demonstrated by Chef Michael Puglisi of Bouchon along with Alex Guzauski. See all the videos on my youtube page.
The opportunity to tie up the pork pieces was raffled off. Late we had the opportunity to purchase the pork.
Chef Michael demonstrated how easy it was to break down a pig. He mentioned he used mostly 2 small knives to do the job. Sometimes he used a saw but he more or less did everything with a small knife where he “traced” the parts. He said once you knew how the anatomy worked, it could be applied to larger (and smaller) animals. This pig was from Lindy and Grundy. Since he knew they source from good meat sources, he said he would probably eat some of this medium rare. Though not raw. There was a guy in the audience who asked at least 3 or 4 times about eating raw pork. I wouldn’t do that, kids.
After you butchered your piece of pork belly (or acquired just that piece), you first make a pork brine. Depending on the size of the piece, it needs about a week in the fridge to absorb the flavor of the brine. When you’re ready to cure the bacon, you take the pork out of the fridge and pat it dry. You want to make sure the meat is somewhat tacky or it won’t cure properly. Instead of smoking, it’ll just steam and that’s not bacon.
After a few days baking in the over (slow and low!), you’ll have bacon. Again, it depends on the size of the piece of pork you have but 2-3 days sounds about right.
Chef Michael mentioned you can use the skin to flavor soups and stews.
The other half of the pig was BBQ’d. It had been cooking for several hours.
KTCHN 105 where we were is touted as having great brunch. I can’t wait to go back some other time after having a taste of these sides. I enjoyed the slaw, potato salad and tomato chutney along with the BBQ pork, of course.
We ran a bit short on time. Originally we were to have a chance to help make sausage but the chefs demonstrated it instead. You first cut up your pork into thin slices to fit through the food processor. It then grinds the pork suitable for making link sausages or you can form it with your hands for patties.
Chef Michael said the first link usually has a bit of air so you might lose that sausage. The next few links were noticeably longer. The casing is pork intestine.
It was a great time and I would love to attend another class. Perhaps a smaller one where there is more hands-on experience.
Check out more photos on my flickr set here.
1250 Long Beach Ave., Ste 105 – Los Angeles, CA 90021
* media was sponsored