Charcuterie is the art of making meat-products such as sausages, terrines and all the stuff you love to put on a slice of bread which is not cheese. It’s a big deal in France, like everything else in the culinary business, taking very seriously in France, has a long history and tradition. There are local, big, small, industrial, village style, family, gourmet and modern charcutiers. These are all great reasons for us to learn at least 2 lessons of the basics of the trade. The first charcuterie class took place this week. We walked in to an unfamiliar “lab” at  school, on 8 am of a chilly morning. In the lab waited for us our guest of honor:

About 50 kg half a pig waiting to be sliced

We started off with two hours of theoretical lesson about everything we just must know before starting. We have to know a lot (!) of things. Was long but very interesting class about types of pork, industrial raising, from birth to slaughter, fat rating system, systems of cutting, prices of pieces of meat in the beginning, middle and end of processing, industrial supplements and why they are malicious, all the pieces and cuts that are taken out of this half a pig and what they can be used for, techniques of salting, cooking, using these cuts. How to season them, to wrap them and tie roasts and all different kinds of traditional sausage wrappings, and the differences between them. It was intense. Then the chef started cutting, bonning, and separating the different cuts for us to see, experience and then in the end, use to cook and eat 🙂 We have had in 5 hours a complete tour of a pork starting from its slaughter to it being eating with a baguette. Apart from just being interesting it was also hard and sad to hear the story of an industrial growing of an animal. Sad but important to know, understand and keep in mind at all time. It’s not gonna make me go vegetarian but I do think we should know what we are cooking and eating, including the growth and the whole journey the animal had before reached a vacuum plastic wrap.

Enjoy the video + photo journey. I kept thinking about meat lovers I know and wish had been with me this day. So this post is dedicated to you: Alon and my mom. It’s not like you could actually be here but the videos very much gives the high lights of the day.

The charcutier chef's explanation of the different cuts of pork, the beast waiting for it's turn

Very simple and every part has a use in the french cuisine

The Jambon

The poitrin, belly, breast. Here is the Bacon!!!

Cutting the ribs

After cutting all of the main cuts, the pork looks a lot more familiar

Now it's time to take each cut and deal with it

One roast is "diable" with mustard inside and out

Wrapped in caul pork's fat (Barak this is your favorite!)

Read what it is here

And tied in the regular one strip technique we already know

Another tie technique which takes more time but one can cut in the middle after tied and the roast doesn’t fall apart:

Like a kid in a candy shop!

“Frenching” the pork chops:


Our time to help. I got the "Pointe" to bone, it's the shpitz of the butt including the tail. What you see here is the taןl with the boned meat

Me and the tail wiggling

I was over-excited about this tail


Grounding some lean and fat to make sausages

mixing with shallots, parsley and spices

Using sheep intestines as a cover, making the sausages

Tying the long sausage to individual size

We're trying as well!

Every one can have one of these machines at home, it's not expensive at all!

Why not eat something? Frying the sausages made ourselves

All the rest of the meat get vacuumed to use next lesson

Chef got us some other stuff to taste. Rabbit galantine and pork sausage with mushrooms

Eating the freshly made sausage with warm baguette. Heavenly!

Carving the diablo roast


Hope next time we will get more things to do ourselves. It was a great day for me and as you can imagine, we all went to lunch after that, of course!!


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8 Responses to Charcuterie, Having Fun With Half A Pig

  1. A very exciting post for all meat lovers. Alon you will like it!

  2. Alon says:

    This is what I call a cooking class! A pleasure to the eye of any carnivore.
    The ribs looks exactly like the ones I’ve cooked in our oven this Friday 🙂
    And the sausages … magnifique, magnifique!

  3. Nachman says:

    I’m running out now to get a half a pig to practice on – it looks like so much fun!!!

  4. Sharin says:

    I’m sorry – this was too much for me, you know I don’t like that stuff..
    But at least I learned how sausages are done! I was always very curios..

  5. john says:

    Jews eating pig! very nice! now you can baptise and everything will be good!
    Jesus loves you!

  6. […] charcuterie class. We went into the kitchen and re-joined with our beloved half a pork from the former charcuterie class. As we were peeling a great amount  of onions and shallots, the chef filled the […]

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