I feel like the most intense wave of pork-madness has already receded—you remember the one, in which chefs put so much bacon and/or pork belly everywhere on anything that people actually, en masse, started complaining about being sick of bacon? True story.
But Portland is still a charcuterie town, and people are still interested in learning new skills, especially when they're skills that, in the long term, can work to economic/environmental/bragging rights advantage (see: all aspects of urban homesteading). As such we've seen instructional demos about breaking down whole pigs before, but the one just announced by Old Salt—just the first of what they promise to be a whole series of "butchery intensive training courses"—is practically a graduate degree in comparison to what are usually one-shot affairs.
Led by Old Salt's Master Butcher Christian Cleaver (get out of here with that name!) and Head Chef Ben Meyerheirs, theirs is set to take place over the course of six weeks, every Sunday from noon-4 pm starting March 16, and at $600 it's probably not something you'd want to do as a lark. But if you eat that much pork and you're serious about making this a regular part of your kitchen routine, it could save you money in the long run. Plus, you get snacks! And dinner party conversation for life. Then there's the fact that if you're going to learn this kind of thing from anywhere, you'd be hard pressed to find better tutors than the ones at Old Salt. Appropriately titled "Pork 101" they promise to cover everything from knife skills to how to cure and cook each bit, with no waste (cuz if you're going to eat an animal...):
Meet Mark Payne, our hog rancher. Discuss the specifics of how and why he raises pigs in the manner which his family has been doing for over 125 years here in Oregon —breeding, feed, and farming, flavor, texture and slaughter practices. Start with a whole side and learn the specifics of separate primals. We will spend six four-hour sessions covering the details of where different cuts reside, how to properly remove and portion them, and the best ways to cook, cure and utilize them. Each lesson will include method and recipes to take with you. We will discuss the muscle groups, how they work and how that affects flavor and texture. Our goal is for you to walk away with a full working knowledge of the beast, how to procure a whole carcass, and how to not waste a drop.
They're keeping the class to an intimate 10 students, so if you've got the money, the time, and the enthusiasm, holler at 'em sooner than later.