Who teaches the PMC classes?
All of our classes are taught by experienced butchers, chefs, and other meat artisans from Portland and beyond. Some are self-taught, while others studied at culinary schools, taught for decades at agricultural schools, or learned from knowledgeable mentors. Each instructor will have a slightly different regional style, be it American, French, Italian, Japanese, or a unique amalgamation of influences. One of the PMC’s many strengths is that with each teacher students study under, they gain a new perspective on the animal in front of them.
How are the classes structured?
The classes are all hands-on unless otherwise noted. Typically, in a four-hour butchery class the instructor gives an hour-long demo to no more than 12 students. Then the group is split up into two, with each group in charge of breaking down their own half or whole animal. Instructors guide each group through the process, but largely puts the onus on the students to do all the cutting. The last hour of the class is typically spent eating charcuterie and discussing what students just learned. These conversations often lead to fascinating debates on how to source meat from local farmers, or the truth behind slaughterhouses, or the consequences of factory farming, and the ethics of carnivorism.
Do I have to kill animals during the class?
“Slaughter” refers to the harvesting (i.e. killing) of animals for consumption. “Butchery” refers to the act of processing the meat once the animal has been slaughtered. In other words, when you are butchering an animal you are parsing out the pork chops from the hams and the belly from the shoulder roasts. We do offer some classes that teach students how to slaughter and butcher an animal. If a class involves slaughtering animals we will indicate that in the class title, as in “Rabbit Slaughter & Butchery.” If a class just teaches students how to butcher an animal this will also be indicated in the title, as in “Basic Pig Butchery for Home Charcuterie.”
What happens to all the meat that is used in class?
All the meat that is used for the class goes home with the students. The students own the meat and process it themselves, thus acting as their own meat processor or butcher shop. Depending on the size and number of animals, and the size of the class, the students can go home with anywhere from 10-15 pounds of meat (in the case of a small lamb class) to 20-30 pounds of meat (in the case of a small pork class) or even a bit more (in the case of a small beef class).
Where do the classes take place?
Until the PMC finds the perfect spot to call its permanent home, we are and always have been a traveling butchery school. Our goal is to prove that butchery can happen just about anywhere with the right tools and temperatures. We most often teach classes in commercial kitchens around Portland, but we have also taught classes at wineries, restaurants, and farms. We’re always looking for new spaces to work in so if you have any suggestions or ideas, let us know!
How exactly does the purchasing of meat for classes work?
Students in each class are purchasing live animals from small farmers (with the help of the PMC, who acts as a liaison between the farmers and the students). Because the students are the owners of the live animals, and they will only be using the meat from the live animals for their own personal consumption (and not reselling it to other consumers), the owners of those live animals have the right to process it themselves. Or, in the case of the PMC, students have the right to hire the PMC to show them how to process the meat themselves. The PMC essentially acts as a private instructor to private citizens; we are neither a meat processor nor a meat packager.
What if I don’t want to take home meat?
We reserve two spots in each class for people who just want to pay for instruction but do not want to take home meat. The cost for instruction is $150.
I like what I hear. How do I sign up?
We are working on building an automated, online system for class registration. But for now, you should peruse our class schedule and email us to tell us which class you are interested in. In your email please include your mailing address and phone number. From there, we’ll email you instructions on how to pay and when to pay in order to secure your spot in the class.
Why do I have to prepay for the class?
We must commit to buying the animals from farmers about a week before, if not weeks before, a class takes place. We do not want to purchase a pig, or several pigs depending on the class size, without knowing that there are students who will pay for it. This way we can ensure that the farmer will be paid when we request the animals for the classes. Since it’s technically the students who are purchasing the animals directly from the farmer, the students have to be able to pool their money ahead of time in order to do so.
Do you sell gift certificates?
Yes! The value of any gift certificate can be applied to the cost of any of our classes. If you wish to purchase a PMC gift certificate email the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org: (1) Your full name (2)Recipient’s full name (3) Your mailing address (4) Mailing address gift certificate should be sent to if not the same (5) Value of gift certificate (6) Your phone number. Once we receive this information we will email you an invoice telling you how to pay. Once we receive your payment we will mail a gift certificate to you or the recipient. If you are trying to figure out the value of the gift certificate you want to purchase here are basic class prices to guide you: (1) Basic Pig Butchery: $265 (2) Basic Lamb Butchery: $275 (3) Basic Beef Butchery: $275. We save a few spots in each of these classes for those who do not wish to take meat home and just want to pay for instruction. The cost for instruction is $150. We also offer: (1) Sausage Making: $145 (2) Pates/Terrines: $145 (3) Rabbit Butchery & Charcuterie: $145 (4) Duck Butchery & Charcuterie: $145 (5) Chicken or Rabbit Slaughter: $125. And occasionally we do three and four part class series which range in price from $300 to $600 depending on the series and its focus.
What if I can’t make the class? What is your refund policy?
Our classes greatly depend on enough students pooling their money together to purchase the animals needed for the class. While we do the purchasing for you, you pay for the purchase. And we have to order the animals ahead of time. If everyone dropped out of the class at the last minute, you are still technically the owners of those animals. Since we are a traveling butchery school, we’ve nowhere to put the animals for safekeeping. For this reason we must have a refund policy that covers the cost of the animals no matter if a student can make it or not. If you wish to still get your share of meat, even though you can’t make the class, we can arrange for that. Our policy is as follows:
If students cancel 7 or more days before the class date: 100% will be refunded.
If students cancel 3 to 6 days before the class date: 50% will be refunded.
If students cancel with less than 2 day’s notice before the class date: 0% will be refunded.