Porks & Knives: Oct 28 – Nov 1, 2015

Kari Underly overhead group4 Days of the Pig: From Slaughter to Butchery and Beyond

A Martha’s Vineyard Culinary Adventure

Animals are the landscape of American agriculture. Our society is moving closer to a ‘slow’ and fair methodology for raising and procuring ingredients for our respective tables. A major experience that most of us might never encounter first-hand is to raise an animal and transform our livestock to our next meal. Not only do animals provide us with food and fiber, but they recycle nutrients into our soil. As factory farming has replaced this beautiful and natural balance, we have distanced ourselves from this way of life.  Likewise we have lost the ability to grow, forage, and process our meats.

This four day experience is designed to reconnect and nurture the most basic techniques that have been, in some way, a part of every human culture for centuries. Join us as we return to our agricultural roots in a beautiful setting beside farm and sea.

Open to professionals and amateurs alike, the object of the week is to bring people closer to locally raised animals and to build a gateway of accessibility to these ancient traditions. Coursework will cover farm tour, dinner with farmers and chefs, and hands on kitchen work. We will learn about heritage breed pigs, slaughter, primal cuts, curing and smoking.


This workshop is an opportunity to work side by side with farmers and professional butchers while sharing passions and challenges. Every day begins with our farm eggs, bacon, and greens and ends with a meal around the table sharing our days accomplishments. Laughter is guaranteed!

Participants will also be taken to different island farms for dinners as well as observe local operations of farmers raising sheep, goats, geese, chickens, dairy cows and more. Conversations over dinner will be around the challenges of farm to table procuring as well as highlights.

Day 1, Oct 28 – Slaughter Day

After gathering our eggs from our chickens, participants will gather and participate in farm slaughter where we will learn how to bleed, gut and process Large Black Berkshire Pigs which have been pastured on kitchen scraps, acorns, and organic grain.  We  will demonstrate how to preserve the blood, remove the offal, and brine the heads. The afternoon will be a demonstration of Primals and Butcher basic cuts. Each participant will produce his or her own cut sheet planning for the following days.

Day 2, Oct 29 – Break and De-bone, & Sort 

Participants will roll up their sleeve and begin to breakdown the animals from their whole state into smaller sections and muscle groups that are specificly tied to a variety of preparations. Primal cuts will be broken down into sub-primals and de-boned. Head cheese will be cooked, and we will begin to cure and make stocks. We will debone a belly and prepare for our dinner of porchetta.

_MG_0264Porchetta has roots stemming from  1000 years ago, in the heart of the Mediterranean. We will be preparing porchetta for our celebratory dinner with chefs and farmers from Martha’s Vineyard. Past participants have agreed this is the highlight of the week – this is where we share wine and lore, challenges of bringing local food to the table, and our common love of land & food.

Day 3, Oct 30 – Stocks, Rendering, Testa & 1st Salting  

As any chef knows, it’s the stocks and rendering of the secondary by-products of using whole animals that separates the amateur from the professional.  We learn how to render lard, and begin curing in salt.

Swine & Dine: Local Smoke Out

We will end our third day, Halloween Night, with Local Smoke Friday, an All You Can Eat Pulled Pork extravaganza! This event is a wonderful opportunity to meet the local farming community, as well as relish in deliciously prepared, homestyle food. You will have the opportunity to enjoy live country music, delicious local beer, and local pork smoked all day. This is a family friendly event!

Day 4, October 31 –  Salumi, Pate, Rillettes Sausage _MG_0110

Part of the final two days of work that will review the classic recipes of a wide variety of salumi. Including, fresh & fermented sausage, Country Pate, Rillettes  & more!  We will demonstrate how to best prepare these items and reveal techniques that will enhance your curing and processing at home and at the restaurant. We will begin to put together our menu for the grand gala dinner, addressing the costs of cured meats and fresh and balance of flavors and techniques.

Swine & Dine: Morning Farm Tours

Our final day is culminated with two excellent events. The first is our local farm tours. Jan Buhrman will lead the group in exploring local farms committed to raising heritage breed pigs. Heritage pigs are an important part of keeping alive historic local agricultural traditions, to which many Martha’s Vineyard Farmers are dedicated. Participants will also get the chance to see some of the harvest that will be highlighted in Saturday Night’s Heritage Pig Gala!

Swine & Dine: Heritage Pork Grand Gala

Our second special event of the day is our Celebration of Heritage Pigs. This Six-Course, Grand Gala Dinner is the culmination of all the hard work put in by our participants, local farmers, and teachers. This speakeasy event highlights the work and experiences that Porks & Knives strives to provide.

  • Jan will discuss in-depth raising heritage breed pigs, as well as the importance of upholding heritage traditions in a rich agricultural community.
  • Kari and Nathan will explore and explain the process of butchering and preparing humanely raised pigs on a professional level. They will overview what we have learned, expand on the importance of whole animal meat production, and discuss healthy portions and cuts the modern consumer might not be familiar with.

The Grand Gala is attended by local chefs, conscious carnivores, and farmers alike, and acts as the perfect wrap-up to our four day journey. It is meant not only to celebrate our bounty, but through an active dialogue re-instill the hands-on lessons we have learned.


Kari UnderlyKari Underly red door

Kari Underly is a third generation Master Butcher and author of the James Beard nominated book, The Art of Beef Cutting.  She is the Principal of Range, Inc., a meat marketing and education firm based in Chicago, IL. Kari is known for her significant contributions to the meat industry. She was instrumental in developing and introducing important retail cuts like the Flat Iron steak and the Denver cut to market. Kari and her Range team created award winning meat marketing and educational campaigns to introduce small, healthy portions to the consumer. She draws sold-out crowds to her workshops  and training sessions all over the country, and speaks frequently on the topic of whole animal utilization, including identification of the right cuts for salumi and charcuterie. It is clear that Kari’s passion is education. She is determined to develop the Range Meat Academy, a school designed to elevate the butchery trade by offering certifications to aspiring butchers and meat experts. She is on the faculty at the IGA Coca-Cola Institute as the resident meat expert, and is highly sought after to train and educate meat staff, chefs, and butchers. Kari’s favorite cut is a grilled fresh pork coppa.

Book Cover_lowresawards

Accolades for Kari Underly’s The Art of Beef Cutting:

“What a rich treasure of clear photos, easy instructions, and creative tips…a superb resource for meat enthusiasts of all abilities. It’s like having an entire college course at your fingertips!”
– Chris R. Calkins, PhD, Nebraska Beef Industry
Professor of Animal Science


“Kari Underly’s The Art of Beef Cutting should be mandatory reading in all professional cooking schools. It is very clear, simple, and organized—a must for any chef or butcher who wants to fully utilize  primal cuts of beef and maximize food cost.”
– Ariane Daguin, D’Artagnan


Jan Buhrman_MG_9878

Jan stumbled into the pig rearing business 16 years ago through necessity and sustainability. She realized that the kitchen scraps from her catering business needed an outlet and pigs were the perfect solution. So Jan, and her husband Rich, began to raise heritage breeds.

After leaving professional slaughter facilities, dismayed with their inhuman standards, Jan and Rich learned to slaughter and process their pigs themselves.

“I could not raise these animals on pasture, giving them a good life only to witness them completely stressed out by traveling to a slaughter facility where they simply were not treated well. I’d prefer to kill them myself then to experience that again!” says Buhrman, although it is Rich who bears that chore.

Over the years, they have perfected select sausage recipes, bacon, curing, and other pork preparation.

_MG_9645While the Large Black is the breed they typically raise, they have also kept Berkshires, Tamworths, Durocs, Gloucester Old Spots, and Yorkshires. The thought is that by raising and eating the breeds of our forefathers, one preserves not only a unique type of pig but also an important food heritage. It is dangerous to have only a handful of commercial livestock who all share the same genetic traits.

The idea of Porks & Knives is to create a workshop focused on a type of slaughter and butchery that naturally evolved with humankind. In 2012, Aaron Oster, head chef of the Kitchen Porch at the time, invited Franois Vecchio to Martha’s Vineyard for the first Porks & Knives. . It is with a passion to share all that she knows of all things good and raised properly, that Jan continues the classes. This year she is joined with “outstanding in their field” chefs; Nathan Gould and Kari Underly.



 Nathan Gould

Chef Nathan Gould was a first year participant, and in 2013, was a co-teacher of the class. Gould is a classically trained chef with a strong background in Culinary Nutrition and Exercise Science. His passion is in local growing and foraging. He is currently the Executive Sous Chef at one of the Historic Hotels of America, The Harbor View Hotel on Martha’s Vineyard. He has been featured on Fox News Boston, Bucks Life Magazine as a local chef, conducted demos at Williams & Sonoma, Copley Place, fully executed a gala event and tasting dinner for French Master Chef Francois Vecchio, as well as having been featured in multiple press outlets.






Includes jacket and boning knife.

We begin Wednesday at 1pm and conclude Sunday at 12 noon. Space is limited. All meals and transportation are included.


Special hotel rate at the Beach Plum Inn $159/per room/per night.

If needed, we can help coordinate travel logistics as well.  We are available for any questions.

Jan Buhrman and Rich Osnoss
Kitchen Porch and Culinary Experiences of Martha’s Vineyard


Course Breakdown

_MG_9896DAY 1 

Slaughter and 1/2 day demo and lecture.Cut sheet planning, Primals and Butcher basic cuts.


1/2 day hand-ons breakdown of ½ of a pig.
Preparing stock and headcheese.
Cook and take a meat part, peal tongue, chop ears reduce to gelatin.
The Art of Porchetta which will become the center of our table for dinner.
Belly and pancetta.
Overview of salami.



Fresh Sausage and refining the head cheese.
The Art of Noir de Jamon & Curing of Coppa.
Pulled Pork Night – Insight on  smoking techniques and Swine & Dine: All You Can Eat Pulled Pork Local Smoke.


Day 4 

Morning Smoke Smoked Belly, and shoulder.
Afternoon Swine & Dine Farm Tour.
Swine & Dine Evening Heritage Pig Celebration Grand Gala.





Cancellation Policy-2015

Photo Credit:  Timothy Young Photography