The Art of Butchery

Butchery course at The Black Pig Butchers

I was talking to one of my friends, who is vegetarian about why she choose not to eat fish or meat. It was a decision based on ethics. I see the logic but I also like fish and meat. M used to be a vegetarian for fifteen years and since he gave up he gave in to his inner carnivore. We have discussed this at home too and decided to eat less meat but buy better quality.

It makes me want to cry when I see how the margins are squeezed and the respect for the animal is taking a toll. I think we have all seen horrible clips of ruthless handling of live stock that is completely unnecessary. All for us to be able to buy our favorite cut of meat slightly cheaper and the supermarket to get a slightly better margin.

I now buy almost all of my meat from The Black Pig Butcher where everything comes from local, free range farms. All the farms are listed in the butchers so you could actually visit them in case you would like to have a look for yourself.

The number of UK butchers has gone down dramatically, from 15,000 in 1990 to only 5,240 in 2016 according to AHDB Beef & Lamb. The recent rise in popularity of cooking shows and chefs promoting less common cuts has led to an increase in popularity and interest for butchers rather than supermarkets and I think the quality and flavor is a world of difference.

 

I went to have a chat with Lizzy, the butcher a couple of years ago, when she had just opened and did a blog . Now she is expanding to butchery courses as well. Lizzy invited me to come to a class together with two gentlemen, Steve and Jim. Steve and Jim are two foodie friends who choose The Black Pig Butchers as it is a hands on, small class butchery course.

 

I have to admit until I went on the course my knowledge about butchering a pig is pretty much described here.

 

Butchering schedule for a pig

 

Lizzy provides half a pig, discusses and shows where and how to cut but the students do all the cutting and in the end they go home with a quarter of a pig each. Steve and Jim had their heart set on a barbecue along with some slow cooking the following day. What they didn’t cut would go in to the freezer. I came along as an observer and to take photos and I learnt so much.

 

Lizzy explaining the process and how to start cutting and the different parts of the pig. Here she is talking about what cut comes from where and how to cut to get the most meat from the bones.

Butcher course at the Black Pig Butchers

 

From there it was sleeves up and hands on for Steve and Jim. Tools of the trade were supplied.

 

Butchers knives

 

Butchery course at The Black Pig Butchers

 

Nothing goes to waste and the kidney was carefully cut off to be taken home.

 

Butchery course at The Black Pig Butchers

 

Butchery course at The Black Pig Bucthers

 

Some parts were a  bit tricky but looked so easy when Lizzy demonstrated how it is done.

 

Butchery course at The Black Pig Butchers

 

There was discussions throughout the evening about how to cook the individual cuts and Lizzy was at hand with advice. All smaller pieces were set aside for making sausages, also part of the course.

 

Steve and Jim came right in the middle of the wild garlic season and Lizzy had just picked some that was used for flavoring in one of the two kinds of sausage that they made.

 

Wild garlic sausage seasoning

 

Lizzy makes her own sausages as well as black pudding and they are delicious. The second batch was Cumberland sausages.

 

Sausage making

Mincing meat for sausages

 

They mixed the sausage meat with the spices and proudly showed the result of their hard work.

 

Sausage making at the Black Pig Butchers

 

The course took place in the evening. The atmosphere was great, lots of laughter, advice and a goodie bag full of pork to take home. You can also choose lamb or a sausage making and dry curing class.

 

It is a nice way to get closer to the produce we eat and for me, to learn more about what cut comes from what part of the animal. It is absolutely worth taking a course if you eat meat, want to learn more and get involved in the art of butchery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments
13 Responses to “The Art of Butchery”
  1. turkswhoeat says:

    This is great, it’s so important to consider the integrity of the animal.

    • petra08 says:

      hi Alex and Mehmet
      I am glad you like it. I agree it is so important. Thank you for stopping by have have a great rest of the week 🙂

  2. Very good blog, thank you for posting.

  3. David Darlington says:

    Kenny mentioned this to me. Good to read about it more. Great blog. Oh and LOVED your hot sauces KU got for me a few weeks ago! Thank you

    • petra08 says:

      hi David
      If you are interested in a butchery course this is a great one and you get a goodie bag as well! 🙂
      Glad you like the Hot Sauces and thank you for letting me know!

  4. What a fanatic experience Petra and good on you for championing quality over quantity. I personally gave up meat for a mix of m ethical and health reasons last year and I’ve been surprised how easily I have adapted. 🙂

    • petra08 says:

      Hi Laura
      I am glad you like the post. I like meat but do try to limit how much I eat and be as ethical as I can. I am glad you found the transition easy and whilst I could give up meat I couldn’t give up my vegetables! 🙂 x

  5. Sumith says:

    Beautiful informative post Petra. Thanks for the share.

  6. The art of butchering is such an important one for those of us who chose to eat meat. I find it a skill to be carefully honed and passed on. What a great way to learn!

    • petra08 says:

      Hi Clara
      This is a great way to learn, really hands on and from a butcher who is passionate about the trade! 🙂

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