Butchery 101 at Austin's Sustainable Food Center

The other night Reid and I did something a little different for date night.  We attended a butchery class held by the Sustainable Food Center! It was a lot of fun.  I've been trying to get Reid to go to a cooking class with me and so I sent him a list of different classes around town.  If you are interested in a cooking class in Austin, I'd definitely recommend the following resources:

The Sustainable Food Center The SFC building is really nice! and the class was great! Class prices can range from free to $70/person depending on the class.  I think we paid about $40 each to take the butchery class.  They have an adjacent community/teaching garden on the east side.  Class topics range from bee keeping, gardening classes, knife skills, tamale making classes, etc!
Kitchen Undergound  I want to try a class out here.  A few of my fellow AFBA bloggers teach classes with Kitchen Underground and they have a variety of interesting and unique classes. I like that they offer Indian and Chinese cooking classes. Prices range from $45-75.
Central Market I have not attended a class here yet, but have heard lots of good things.  There is a wide variety of classes offered and times. 

There are also a lot of free classes/resources such as those at:
Whole Foods  I haven't done a cooking/food class here, but I foresee taking future kiddos here to do some hands-on kids classes/healthy eating learning.  I have done the free yoga here and it was awesome.  I'm not sure if they still offer it, but they used to offer free yoga classes on Sundays at the Domain location.    
Williams-Sonoma  Reid and I attended a past-making class in the past here and it was great! You also get 10% off any merchandise you purchase after attending the class.  So yea...$150 of pasta-making gadgets later I walked out of there ready to make homemade pasta...You got me W-S. You got me.  Good thing at the time I had lots of gift cards from our wedding registry!
and farmer's markets demos

As far as the butchery class, I felt like a learned a lot about different meat cuts, how to appreciate flavor, how to respect and patronize good meat suppliers and a few new cooking techniques.  Reid chose this class because of that silly How I Met Your Mother episode where they have an extra room and when imagining possibilities: home-butchery room.  Since then we've always imagined doing something like that.  

We did not actually do any butchering ourselves, as this was mostly a hands-off/demo class.  It was a 4 part series on butchery and we only did this class, so there may have been more hands-on action in the other classes.  We did learn about all the different meat cuts in a cow and which cuts were most suitable for what type of cooking.  I think one of the most useful things I learned was how to prepare meat cuts for the best outcome.  We also got to sample lots of meat/results from the cooking demos!  The class was taught by a local butcher, Julia, who has just left Dai Due to start on some of her own butchery adventures.

Key Points I learned/took away from the class:
  • salt meats overnight uncovered in fridge the night before
  • brine poultry and pork
  • make sure meat has come to room temperature for 1-2 hours prior to cooking
  • properly rest the meat afterwards
  • always cut against the grain
  • use a super hot sizzling pan-there's no way to avoid smoking out your house!
  • roasting low and slow great for tougher cuts
  • reverse sear: this is like it sounds.  Instead of searing and then cooking through, cook through and then finish off with a sear


  1. This definitely sounds like the kind of class that I could benefit from. Thanks for sharing the tips you learned!


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