My family and I take food very seriously. It's the main component of each of our gatherings, it's our mission to unveil the best of the best when travelling, and we do our best to stay on the forefront of any food related event. So it's no shock that butchery lessons, paired with a fabulous feast, from Make Tribe is totally and completely up my alley. With photos from Lindsay Hite, there's more right here!
Knife to Table marked MAKE TRIBE’s first Skill Supper — the inaugural event in a new dinner series based on hands-on learning. Butchery brought our guests around the table and into George Marsh’s kitchen at the soon-to-be-opened Parts & Labor in Remington.
Guests were greeted with a “Field Trip” cocktail created by Stephanie Griber of Shoo-Fly Diner, a refreshing and zingy concoction of Millstone Cellars’ Gingerroot cider, organic vodka and blueberry preserves. After some mingling and introductions, attendees were ushered into the kitchen as George began his butchery demo. Guests gathered around the large butcher-block table as half a hog was brought out for examination.
George explained the technique of seam butchery and taught guests the ins and outs of carving, breaking down the hog while he spoke. After a 45-minute lesson, guests moved around the bar for Stephanie’s cocktail demonstration before taking their seats at the 50-foot table.
Petal and Print designed the greenery-filled garland that swept above the table top, and Esther & Harper made our tablescape visions come true by providing the vintage butcher scales and assorted iron weights. An array of white pillars, tapers and tealights, in addition to Petal and Print’s spring-centric floral arrangements, made for a lush, romantic setting.
MAKE TRIBE produced, printed and hand-sewed booklets outlining the butchery process and featuring an exclusive interview with George. Along with a screen-printed menu at each place, each guest also received a personal jar of Pork Rib Rub spices in a Weck jar to take home, and a conversation starter card was sneakily tucked under each place setting. Guests enjoyed a three-course meal complete with beer pairings for each plate.
In seam butchery, the butcher follows the seams of the muscles and bones of the animal for a more natural, organic cut. Below, a few pro tips on breaking down a hog from George Marsh himself, head butcher at Parts & Labor in Baltimore.
1. Use a boning knife with a curved blade, and handle it like you would a sculpting tool. The curved blade allows for more control while cutting.
2. Focus on using just the tip of the knife. The less blade you use, the smaller the mistakes you’ll make. And, not to mention, the slower you’ll dull your blade.
3. Use a butchery saw as little as possible—only when you really need it, as in when cutting the belly from the loins.
4. Don’t make the mistake of throwing away good stuff. You can use the skin to make pork rinds, grind up the skin, meat and fat to make an emulsified sausage and even use the heads for head cheese or scrapple.
5. It’s key to have a working knowledge of the cuts you can glean from a hog, which has three primal cuts: Shoulder Primal, Belly & Loin Primal and the Leg Primal. The cuts of meat derived from the shoulder primal: shoulder, lardo, copa, bottom blade, butcher's cut, hock and trotter. The cuts of meat derived from the belly primal: boneless pork chops, pork loin, belly & ribs. The cuts of meat derived from the leg primal: various hams.