There are some things everyone should know how to do, like ride a bike, jump-start a car, peel a shrimp (the right way), and butcher a pig. That last one is according to the city's pig-whispering duo, Andres Barrientos and James Bowers of Miami Smokers. To school you in butchering skills, they'll kick off a series of classes tonight from 6 to 9. The first session is free. The lesson: the European way to butcher a pig.
No strangers to hosting charcuterie classes, Barrientos and Bowers are teaching the community the ins and out of meat. That's what gained Miami Smokers' Urban Warehouse notoriety in 2013. It only makes sense, then, that with new and improved digs, they would bring it back.
"After we did the demo at Cochon 555, we realized the interest," Barrientos says. "We're working with a buddy who captures and raises Heritage-breed hogs in Okeechobee and feeds them out for 30 to 60 days and just got a big shipment, so the timing made sense."
Tonight's introductory lesson will cover the European way to butcher a pig, and each class thereafter will have its own theme, from making sausage to curing bacon. "The plan is to have one every two weeks."
Each class will start with charcuterie and beer from a rotating partner (tonight's suds will be from Daddy Brews) and conclude with snacks (mini sandwiches) and more beer. Attendees can also buy some meats used during the lesson. And they can walk away with some kind of giveaway, edible or educational. "It won't be ready for tonight's class, but we're working on some cool type of infographic that tells you what the cuts are and what comes from where."
Which brings us to the European style of butchering a pig. "It's basically all about how you cut into the primal parts." And for Europeans, that method is referred to as "seam butchering."
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"Imagine your muscles are woven together and there's a seam between them. Europeans put focus on the whole muscles and curing, whereas in the States, we maximize the belly and ribs, so the butchering is different. You end up butting the neck and coppa, which kinda sucks because if you do a little research, coppa is one of the most sought-after cuts of charcuterie."
Get schooled on this and more at tonight's free introductory butcher class. Moving forward, lessons will cost $50 to $75, depending upon the meats and bones featured. Because space is limited, classes aren't interactive and are limited to 12 people. Still, copious amounts of charcuterie, suds, mini medianoches, and pig trivia make it one helluva way to spend your hump day.
Pro tip: Tonight's class will take place in the processing room (set at 50 degrees Fahrenheit), so wear your only winter attire.