Going Whole Hog on the Butchery Trend


The class listing reads like this:
     “Whole Hog: We will butcher a 100+ lb. hog. You will take home and butcher 7–8 pounds of pig.”
     “Obviously, it’s not for everybody—not everyone is into cutting up a whole hog or lamb,” admits Sacramento chef/cooking instructor Mark Liberman, who recently began conducting butchery classes for novices and nonprofessionals. “It’s even intimidating to me when I confront a 400-pound hog.”
     But in these days of socially conscious eating, it’s hip to source everything locally and become one with your food, prompting what some are calling a butchery renaissance. “I think it’s gaining a lot of popularity in the mainstream,” says Liberman, who worked at high-end restaurants in Las Vegas and San Francisco before relocating to Sacramento earlier this year. “A lot of people want to know where their meat comes from these days.”
     Butchery classes at Taylor’s Market in Land Park routinely sell out. And local chef and caterer Pajo Bruich is finding a niche with cooking classes that include how to break down whole chickens and fish. “I think the awareness people have about their food is growing at a rate we’ve never seen,” Bruich says. “It makes perfect sense that people are going back to their rustic roots, preparing and sourcing their own food. It gives you a connection to the food that’s very unusual.”
     Another plus: You can cut the meat exactly as you want it. “If you want a nicely frenched chicken breast, you can do that,” offers Bruich. “That’s not something you can buy in the grocery store.”
     True, his vegetarian friends are “not too keen on it,” says Liberman, owner of Black Sheep Butchery. But to his way of thinking, Sacramento was the perfect place to bring his butchery business. “Sacramento is a meat-and-potatoes town,” he reasons. “It fits in here.” 

Check out our exclusive video on Mark Liberman’s butchering class at http://www.sacmag.com/Sacramento-Magazine/Dining-Blog/June-2010/Video-Butchering-Class-in-Midtown/