When I first saw the email from HOME about their 2-hour Pork & Pint Party, I scooped up two tickets immediately, thinking that it would be a great date afternoon for me and Jake. But as the event inched closer, a project deadline was looming for Jake and R, so I ended up taking my Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf with me instead.
I think it worked out for the best anyway. Some kids have a favorite band or favorite musician. My kid has a favorite chef and it's Chef Brad!
As we were driving up to Soquel, D wondered if the pig was going to be intact, meaning with a head and entrails in place. He said that he needed to mentally prepare for that, but I'll write more about that when I showcase Rancho Llano Seco, the ranch that provided the heritage pig for the class.
D visibly relaxed when he saw that the pig did not have a head and entrails. He watched, entranced, as Chef Brad butchered the pig.
We learned about the leaf lard...
And when Chef Brad was done, D jumped into the hands-on part of the class: making HOMEmade pork sausage. This isn't a recipe, per se, but I'll share the process we learned.
They ground the meat - not with the hand grinder, but he did show them that one; they used the Hobart and it was much, much faster.
They seasoned the meat with brown sugar, Maldon flake salt, fennel seeds, paprika, red pepper flakes, and black pepper.
They added in minced garlic, fresh oregano, and fresh parsley.
Then they donned gloves and mixed that all in by hand. Thank goodness the teenagers were game; all the adults were busily sipping beer as the 'pint' part of the Pork & Pint party.
Chef Brad brought out the sausage stuffer, demonstrating how to load the casings on to the tube. Then they stuffed the sausages.
They made links by pressing into the casing at 6" intervals and spinning the sausage for three rotations, alternating directions. Brad made it seem easy. D said it wasn't easy.
And we ended up with some beautiful pork sausages.
Everyone wrapped some and took sausages home.
Chef Brad did roast some of the sausages in the wood-burning pizza oven for us to enjoy right then and there.
I cooked ours a couple of nights later - oven-roasted in cast iron - and the little critic said Chef Brad's was better. No doubt.
It's always a treat to connect with food purveyors and local chefs! I'm grateful for these opportunities to underscore that the meat we eat was once an animal and how simple, fresh ingredients make amazingly tasty meals.