Today was a great day for the Smokehaus. We received two local hogs and were able to butcher them ourselves: this means we could perform special cuts in order to create special meats, such as the Austrian Speck and Germanic head cheese.
Eric’s brand-new soul brother Mike Phillips was on hand, teaching us technique and getting a pig of his own. Mike comes from Minneapolis by way of Iowa, in a town a stone’s throw away from Eric’s hometown. Amid fascinated stares from the Smokehaus crew and more bone-saws than a splatter-porn, the first hog was beheaded, de-jowled, and made into a facsimile of “meat” before most butchers could have their cleavers sharpened. Mike sure does know his way around a carcass.
Although this task was (ahem) a little graphic, this blogger believes that it is the duty of any chaircutier to understand the animal, in all its stages – guts and all. In the abstract, the flesh is profoundly beautiful – with elegant pink muscle stretched against the skeletal architecture, filigreed with snowy white fat – the animal on the butcher’s table is the proverbial sculptor’s granite, just waiting for the craftsman to reveal the hidden, intrinsic masterpiece.
We plan on doing this a lot more in the future, but for now we plan on smoking, curing, rolling, tying, braising, and savoring every part of this glorious animal. And that is sublime.