Chris Bolyard is ready to share his secrets.
If you’ve ever wolfed down a pork chop, slice of bacon or sausage link and thought, “I wonder how they turned a pig into this,” you’re in luck.
Chris Bolyard, the owner and head butcher at Bolyard's Meat and Provisions (2810 Sutton Boulevard, Maplewood; 314-647-2567), will be offering guided butcher classes once a month this autumn. Each class will be about two and a half hours and will cost $125. During the course, each guest will be able to sample Bolyard's charcuterie along with local beers and drinks, while at the end each guest will go home with one pound of sausage and two fresh cuts.
Bolyard is a graduate of Culinary Institute of America and his shop has been “the undisputed king of butchery in St. Louis
” since its 2014 inception.
Each class will be capped at twelve people to keep the setting intimate. Guests will see the entire breakdown of half of a hog, Bolyard says. “There's a lot of information thrown at them in terms of the farm itself, the breed of the hog, how it was treated, and a lot of background on the shop too."
Don't worry about getting your hands dirty; the class is entirely demonstration by Bolyard, with no hands-on activity. Bolyard describes the course as "pretty laidback." It usually takes on a conversational tone with people asking questions as he cuts through the hog. No prior knowledge is needed. In fact, Bolyard expects that most guests won't know a thing.
But Bolyard believes that, even with the lack of hands-on experience offered by the class, you could still try your hand at butchering once you get home. "After seeing it, it’s a lot less intimidating," he explains. "At the end of the day if they make the wrong cut and it kind of gets hacked up, it’s still going to be edible."
Bolyard's has offered occasional classes in the past, which filled up quickly and were well-enjoyed, so the shop decided to schedule a few for easier signup. Asked what past guests have walked out with (besides a pound of delicious sausage and two fresh cuts, of course), Bolyard says, "I think they had a greater appreciation for butchering in general, and they were excited to take home the fresh cuts because of the information that I gave them. I think they were more excited to cook at home and to come back and try other things."
Classes are currently scheduled for Sunday, September 16; Sunday, October 14; and Sunday, November 11, with each from 2 to 4:30 p.m. To purchase tickets, you can either stop by the shop or call at 314-647-2467.