Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pigs and Pinot

Pork goes well with Pinot Noir, there is no arguing that fact. We have learned a lot about Pinot the past few years during our adventures. But what about pork? I figured why not find out more about our wine's favorite companion. I took a 1-day pig slaughter and butchery class from the folks at TLC Ranch in Aromas.

my new friend

I have to admit I was a bit nervous about this class. Guts are not my thing and there was a serious barf/passout fear factor. Luckily I knew 2 of my classmates and we psyched each other up on our Saturday morning trip to Monterey County.

how could i not do this?

The ranch owner, Jim, was extremely cool, personable and knowledgeable. He explained to the 10 of us how he operates his farm, the types of pigs he raises, how they are treated and how their lives end. Our project pig was small and cute. His death, a single .22 shot to head and then a slit throat, was quick and not very gruesome. He was submerged in warm water for a few minutes to loosen his hair, and then the scrapping began. We all took turns removing every last bit of hair from the pig and it was at that point the class felt a sense of camaraderie. To keep this post on the non-graphic side, let's just say we made a few more cuts and guts were spilled.

big ones!

After the pig was hanging to dry, Jim took us on a tour of his farm. We spent time with a group of very pregnant sows and gilts, they are like giant dogs. We then ate a great pork based lunch and proceeded to learn to how to butcher a whole pig.

I learned a lot about the cuts on a pig and am good at carving out the ribs (babybacks and spareribs). I walked out of there with a lot of knowledge, appreciation for farmers and 20 pounds of prime pork. I can't wait to drink our 08 Pinot with that 3-pound roast wrapped in the skin from the leg. mmmmmm.

piles of pork!