Photo: Urban Spoon

Behind the scenes. That always sounds interesting, whether you’re in the costume shop of an opera company, the vaults of a museum, or in this case, the kitchen and butcher shop of a bustling restaurant like Parts & Labor in Remington. This fourth outpost of the Woodberry Kitchen owners Spike and Amy Gjerde, is meat headquarters for the restaurant group. 

When I heard they were offering a pig butchering workshop, I was so intrigued. I learned from the folks at Parts & Labor that it would be limited to 20 participants, would take place in the kitchen and the cost was $85 per person. That last part…I wasn’t sure if I could really swing that (I had been out to dinner twice the week before and had been trying to watch my wallet) but I knew it would be good. George Marsh, Head Butcher at Parts & Labor, is an incredibly talented guy who practices seam butchery, a classic French technique of breaking down an animal following the seams of muscles and then paying attention to the details within each cut. George has been practicing seam butchery for the past five years and now he is training his staff, educating the staff at the Woodberry group (including visiting local farms to see how the animals are raised), as well as diners who come into Parts & Labor wanting something different. I learned that if ham hock is on the menu at Parts & Labor, you should get it.

During the class, they offer beer and charcuterie…and the housemade bologna is insanely good. Also, at the end of the class, George showed us how to properly cook a pork chop (lard and butter, basting, basting, basting is the key) and we all left with a freshly cut pork chop. So, for all of that and being able to spend an hour and half seeing the inner-workings of a great restaurant, the ticket price is well worth it.

Parts & Labor plans to do classes like this regularly (a beef butchering class may be next), so be sure to follow them on Instagram and Facebook to stay in the loop. When you see a class posted, sign up as soon as you can. They book up quickly!