Archive for the ‘Meat Events’ Category


Nose-to-Tail Cooking from the Butchering Event

In Butchering,Meat Events on August 29, 2010 by fred

I received an email from Christina who attended the hog butchering event with Neal Fraser and enjoyed it so much I asked her if I could repost it.  Salud to Christina who is embracing nose-to-tail cooking — thanks for sharing!


Hey Fred! Got so caught actually cooking my pig parts that I totally forgot to email you.  Anyhow, wanted to send you a few photos about my progress with the “nasty/tasty bits.”

Pig Tail and Trotter

I made a fried pig tail, and cooked the trotter. Verdict: tastes delicious but the effort and resources that went into actually cooking it it might be better saved for the restaurants. I’ll eat mine at Lazy Ox from now on.  Shaving and burning bristles off were also a… treat? I made a handful of fried pig skins.   Super delicious and will definitely be making more. They’re like extra bad-for-you chips. And the Country Rib Roast I split apart and just did a basic rub with pan fry, and a panko fried chop.  It was excellent!

Fried Pig Skins, Pork Rinds, Cracklings, or Chicharrón

Currently 10-days in on the guanciale curing/drying process. Just strung it up to dry in my fridge this last weekend. It’s kind of hilarious because I ssentially have a hunk of raw meat drying in my fridge. Not sure how this is going to work out but it looks like it’s going along beautifully so far. I used a banana hook to hang up the meat in the fridge and put a bowl of rice grains underneath to help keep the air dry. My rationale was that if rice will dry a cell phone why not absorb humidity in the fridge? Yes? No? Hi.Larious either way. Would appreciate your advice if you’ve ever made guanciale. No clue what I’m doing here, just making it up as I go.

Guanciale in Christina's refrigerator

Haven’t tackled the porchetta di testa yet, it’s still in my freezer. Thinking about doing that in the next couple weeks. Not looking forward to shaving it.

Loved the class, had an amazing time!  Let me know if/when you do another class. Maybe Hog Butchering 201 is that we all get our own small pig to butcher?  Hands-on learning. :)


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Hog Butchering Event a Success!

In Butchering,Meat Events on August 17, 2010 by fred Tagged: , ,

The hog

The hog butchering event was quite successful Sunday, with more people waiting in the wings to get into the next one!  A fantastic group from all over Los Angeles got to watch Neal Fraser butcher a 120 pound local hog while enjoying some charcuterie from Neal’s Restaurant BLD and cold drinks.  The event was held at good friends of Neal’s home near the top of the hill at Coldwater Canyon.  Picturesque, even with the pig.

Neal Fraser and the class

 After discussing why we thought the event would be a great idea, Neal proceeded to carve up the pig one primal cut at a time.  The group discussed what you might use each piece for and it became apparent to me why having a top chef lead the class is probably bettter than having your butcher do it — we got a lot of great tips on how each piece could be cooked exquisitely as Neal moved through the butchering process.

Being local, the price for the pig itself was substantially higher than you might pay for a hog purchased on the commodity market — $5.00 a pound rather than $1.20 a pound.  But what we got was incredible.  We know the farm where the pig was raised and the farmer who raised it.  We know it was fed black beans and waffles to finish its flavor (don’t quote me on this, but apparently these provide the pig with additional lycine and lactic acid.)  And we know it was killed and dressed out Friday morning before being brought into town for the event.  It doesn’t get any fresher than that, and knowing all of this about the pig made it that much more interesting and special. 

A stack of primal cuts

On a side note, what brings the price of local meat down?  Seeking out and purchasing locally raised meat products.  The more we start asking our butchers and grocers for locally raised meat, the more they will realize the demand for it is out there.

So, to everyone that was able to attend, thank you so much for your interest and we hope you enjoyed the class and the free takeaway pork!  If you did anything special with it or you’d like to share how it tasted or provide comments or suggestions about the class, please submit a comment on the site.  I’d love to hear it!


Hog-butchering class in Los Angeles

In Butchering,Meat Events on July 29, 2010 by fred Tagged: , ,

I was lamenting the fact that there were no whole hog butchering classes in Los Angeles, while San Francisco and New York seem to be swimming in them.  I mentioned it to Neal Fraser (owner Grace Restaurant and BLD), who offered to hold a private butchering demonstration at his home.  Actually he said, “I can butcher a hog with my eyes closed.”

So we’re buying a locally sourced hog and Neal will butcher it for an intimate group of ten, answering any and all questions.   Interested?  Sign up on the Event Sign-Up Page.  UPDATE: — SORRY, THE EVENT IS COMPLETELY FULL. To sign up for notification of future events, subscribe to the Opa’s Craft Mailing List.


2:00 – 4:00 p.m.  Beverly Hills, California

The cost for the event is $150 per person.   Each attendee will get to take roughly ten pounds of local farm raised pork home with them.  Light hors d’oeuvres, refreshments and an apron are included.

BTW — Neal won Iron Chef America when the secret ingredient was — wait for it — pork!  So it should be fun.

Updated: August 13, 2010