I'm always looking for some way to stay interested (and thus, interesting). My goal this year is to seize as many opportunities possible, to enhance my skill set through classes and food contests. Recently, I attended 2 classes to do just that--Sausage Making and Pig Butchering. I've made sausage a few times before but it never hurts to witness other's methods for producing the succulent, flavorful links we all love. Party Downtown was our host and their resident 'sausage kings' showed us (and we helped!) how to produce fresh sausage, and 'emulsified' sausages (think hot dogs, mortadella, etc.). The Eugene Meat Collective spearheaded the class and we came away with our own stash of juicy links. Some of it is pretty labor-intensive but well worth the effort! Really helps to have a set of SEVERAL hands for some of it.
The Pig Butchering class was also a EMC production. We arrived the day AFTER the pig had been butchered to find a 1/2 of a 250# pig. Frankly, I was relieved to know that we didn't have to be involved in THAT part of the process. I want to know that an animal was treated and killed 'humanely' (and it was because that's what the EMC is all about) but I don't personally need or want to be the one to 'take it out'. I respect the animal in the butchering and cooking process--no part left on the table, so to speak. EVERYTHING is used in some fashion. Learned a LOT about an animal I grew up eating--leaf fat, bone dust, lardo, and other esoteric terms specific to swine. Left class w various cuts to play with down the road and knowing the source (Laughing Stock Farm) and how it was handled makes me feel good about eating such superior pork.