Monday, February 27, 2012

Whole Hog Butchering Class, Part One

A week ago I went to Bolzano Artisan Meats in Milwaukee to attend a whole hog butchering class. It was well worth the time. Some of the photos to come may be offensive to some, so I will be putting most of this series under the fold, as they say.

Bolzano is a two person operation, husband and wife, Scott Buer and Christin Johnstone-Buer. They run the shop in a warehouse section in Milwaukee. It used to be part distillery, part dairy.

If memory serves, they used to make all sorts of stuff like cured hams and other delicacies, but now they only make salamis. The market has spoken. They don't typically even cut up pigs anymore except for these classes. They have the slaughterhouse grind pork shoulder for them for their salamis and then they mix it with their own spices. Their salamis are all dry cured - more on that in a moment.

When we arrived there was a short orientation, and then Scott gave us a bit of a lecture on the pig and what we were going to do, and some tips on keeping clean.

Here is yours truly with hairnet and beard net.

After the orientation, we got a look at some salamis doing their deal. The white stuff you see on the outside is basically mold as far as I know. It is called the "bloom" and that actually means that things are going well. No bloom, no dice. The product loses weight by approximately 30% before it goes to market. The "cooler" was actually fairly warm and humid. It smelled AWESOME.

Finally the star of the show was brought out, a Berkshire that was slaughtered, gutted and scalded just a few days previous. Hanging weight was 180 lbs. approx.

Much more to come in this series.


Mark said...

What inspired you to take this class?

Dan from Madison said...

I have always loved all pork products. The last several years we have bought a whole pig from a farmer and I have always wondered how and why the different cuts come from different places on the carcass. So mostly for my own education, I guess.

Jonathan said...

You might say Dan is going whole hog in his pork quest.

Gerry from Valpo said...

Was dispatching and evisceration part of the class?

Dan from Madison said...

Nope, it was as you see it above when we arrived.

Anonymous said...

Did you get your own hog to butcher or did everyone take turns on the same one?

Dan from Madison said...

You will see in subsequent parts. Basically the instructor worked on one half and the students took turns while watching him on the other half. With 8 students it ends up being mostly observation, but still everyone who wants to gets their hands dirty.