Jason Savard, the head butcher at Walden Local Meat, a shop in the South End, learned the trade while working on a Pennsylvania farm years ago. Now in his 30s, he’s part of the upcoming generation of young meat cutters at butcheries that source pasture-raised, grass-fed meat from local farms where sustainability and animal well-being are paramount, and where a nose-to-tail approach is embraced so nothing ends up wasted.
“It’s a young person’s game now,” says Savard.
If you’re interested in learning butchery to enhance your culinary skills, Savard offers demonstration classes: beef and pork butchery and sausage-making. You won’t actually do any cutting, but you will still learn about connective tissue and muscle structure and the different cuts as you sit around the shop’s long butcher block table as Savard and his team break down an entire side of pork, shoulder to trotters. Also covered are types of knives and cooking techniques. You might learn more than you expected.
“Pigs are super smart, super loyal, and actually clean,” Savard adds.
At the beef breakdown class, where a 400-pound half steer hangs from a hook, he explains why some sections are tough, others tender, and how to cook them. “The goodness is there; it’s up to us not to ruin it,” he says. “There are key concepts we want people to leave with.”
In the hands-on sausage-making class, you use a grinder, seasonings, and casings, turning the underutilized pieces of pork to form links. Wine and beer are offered, so it’s also a bit of a party. There’s a goody bag to take home with 3 to 4 pounds of a mix of cuts or the sausages you created.
Classes are $120, $135 with wine or beer, and run on Thursdays, 6-7:30 p.m. For the schedule, go to waldenlocalmeat.com. 316 Shawmut Ave., Boston, 857-277- 0773.
Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at email@example.com.