With new classes every week at Hillsdale Farmers’ Market this season, there’s hardly a moment between wrapping-up one week’s agenda and diving head first (or knife first) into the next lesson plan. So when Market Manager Eamon Molloy stopped by the “kitchen” (meaning my canopied kitchen at the Farmers’ Market) as last week’s cheese-making demo wrapped up, I posed the question, “From whom will we get the pork for next week’s meat curing demo?”
Kookoolan Farms was a natural choice. Farmer Chrissie Zaerpoor is now bringing pasture-raised heritage breed Red Wattle Pigs, that she tends with her husband Koorosh on their family farm, to market. The pork is sold in half & full carcass shares, and sometimes USDA cuts. “Talk to Chrissie and see what she has available,” offered Eamon.
What Chrissie had available took me aback a bit.
Chrissie posed, “In your ideal world, what would you like to have for the demo?”
“I can get you a 5-pound pork belly,” she said. – Great!
“And I have a 19-pound bone-in, skin-on leg.”
I mean, well, honestly, my butchering skills are ok, but the thought of wrestling a 19-pound leg while demonstrating and talking sounded more challenging than I anticipated for this demo! I mean, I’ve already had one curve thrown my way when the “whole fish” for the fileting class arrived with guts in tact. A very spiny channel rockfish at that! (unlike me, the class was thrilled to see fish-gutting added to the demo, and cheered me on as I staggered through the process). I wasn’t sure I’d be up for another big undertaking in my primitive outdoor makeshift kitchen (professional kitchen with accoutrements is another story…as I say at the market – if I can do this out here, while talking as I go, you’ll have no problem in the cozy comfort of your home kitchen!)
But…thinking….dawning….my husband, Benny is a butcher….maybe I could persuade him….
And I did!
Ladies & gentlemen, I present an addition to Hillsdale Farmers’ Market’s Feed Me Fresh Cooking Series: Benny the Butcher!
Benny will lead the class in a whole pork leg butchering demonstration. He will skin, remove the tricky aitch bone, seam-butcher, and show how to appropriately cut the leg for ham, including a bone-in shank-end ham.
Then we’ll get to the meat of the matter (bad pun intended) and proceed to curing. American-style brined ham is on the agenda (which will later be smoked & glazed), and fresh bacon (which can be smoked or roasted).
See you at the market!