This article is not for vegetarians. Only those who enjoy the unique process of butchering, preparing, and eating decadent meat should continue reading. Approaching its fourth series of classes, Pigstock TC provides the rare opportunity for individuals to learn about how to breed and raise Mangalitsa pigs, as well as butcher and prepare them from the inside out. This three-day course is not for the weak-stomached, but it definitely is for the creative soul.
Presented by Cherry Capital Foods, this year Pigstock TC is taking place on October 21, 22 and 23. The first day includes an on-site slaughtering of the pig at Black Star Farms and the cooking of the organs. After, students are encouraged to take the wine and cider tour of Leelanau County before coming back for a five-course dinner with wine pairing, hosted by Black Star Farms. The second day is held at the Hagerty Center and is full an entire day’s worth of classes. The last day of classes is also held at the Hagerty Center and lasts until the late afternoon. The classes conclude with a seven-course meal prepared by local chefs, utilizing different parts of the pig. This dinner event is a fundraiser for Taste the Local Difference.
Three amazing individuals come together once a year to make this event happen. This year, Christoph Weisner will lead the seam butchery, Isabell Weisner will demonstrate organ cooking, and Chef Brian Polcyn will guide charcuterie. Allison Beers, of Events North, has been working with Pigstock TC for three years now and sings the praises of this trio wholeheartedly. In addition, special guest Michael Ruhlman will be the speaker during Tuesday’s lunch. Ruhlman is an author and chef who strives to put the chef’s trade in every home kitchen.
The class sizes are kept fairly small so everyone attending can get a hands-on experience. Although the classes can hold up to 60 people, generally about 20-35 people attend, and there a few volunteers taken every year to help with moving the pigs, helping the presenters, and participating, as well. Since these classes are held at the Hagerty Center, the Great Lakes Culinary Institute students are welcome to come view the events as well. Registration is $750 per person for the full participatory classes, or $500 for viewing only.
Pigstock TC’s website and Facebook page are great places to get the finer details and see even more photos. Tickets can be found through the website or through MyNorthTickets.com. Not only is this an extremely unique opportunity to learn about Mangalitsa pigs and how to properly raise and prepare them, but attendees also get to visit some of Traverse City’s most beautiful parts. Black Star Farms is located on the Leelanau Peninsula, which offers breathtaking scenery. The Hagerty Center is located directly on Grand Traverse Bay and provides the best atmosphere to feel creative in. If you have an interest in culinary arts, come to Traverse City and butcher this pig!
Would you attend Pigstock TC? Have you ever prepared a whole pig before?