I have found that one of the most rewarding experiences in my life is getting to better understand where my food comes from and how it interacts with my body. This conscious decision has formed the person I am today and ultimately led to the creation of EPIC Provisions.
Recently I have had the urge to learn more about meat and specifically explore the anatomical cuts that sit perfectly butchered at my local natural grocery store. It bothered me that I couldn’t trace specific meat cuts to where they originated on an animal. This made me recognize a growing gap between a living animal and the nourishing meat that it provides.
This disconnection is not our fault, but rather a byproduct of modern high efficiency animal production and consumers demands for convenience. Somewhere in the last 50 years we traded animal traceability for easy cheap prepared muscle cuts. With lack of insight, large meat companies are able to sell byproducts from tortured animals that live miserable existences and consumers are able to buy prime cuts of inexpensive meat year round.
In efforts to demystify butchery and help consumers better understand where their meat comes from, the guys at EPIC performed a legendary on stage butchery at Paleo F(x) 2015. The concept was original and developed from the heart. Along with some of my amazing friends and co-workers; Kirk (Director of EPIC Ops) and Eric (EPIC’s Kitchen Manager), we shared an amazing first attempt hog butchery in front of a select group of conference attendees and a live and captive internet audience.
The idea was simple. Let's buy a beautiful hog from a local rancher and all work together to break apart the animal and not waste anything! Without having any formal training or owning any special tools, it took us less than an hour to fully butcher this tasty pig. Not only was butchering our own hog easier than we anticipated, but it was also very rewarding and bonding. Additionally it helped us develop a greater appreciation of the once living animal that would be feeding our families over the next few weeks.
Take away message… do EPIC things! Start by finding a rancher and buying half a hog. All the hard work will already be completed and you will be left with an economical and life changing experience that you can share with your friends! Don’t be intimidated, your human ancestors were amazing at this and without any formal training were master butchers who could break down an animal with only a few sharpened flint rocks.
All photos by Chris Kerston