Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn kicked off a meat-curing and sausage-making revolution with 2005's Charcuterie. For proof of that you only had to look at the fervent fans who filled their three events in Chicago over the past weekend, to observe and learn from Polcyn's skill with a knife and devotion to extracting maximum flavor from pork. Friday night, to celebrate their new book Salumi, they did a demo with Rob Levitt of The Butcher & Larder who admitted he was nervous at the prospect of butchering in front of Polcyn at Floriole Cafe & Bakery. Saturday afternoon they did another demo at The Publican, and on Sunday they did a master class on sausage-making at EL Ideas, attended not only by a number of fans but chefs from The Four Seasons/Allium and the Chicago Club. Our man Huge Galdones was at the Floriole and EL Ideas events; here's his slideshow of a weekend devoted to fantastic meat-making.
Floriole Bakery, Friday Night
Michael Ruhlman addresses the assembled crowd.
As Ruhlman and Rob Levitt watch, Polcyn prepares to butcher the half hog.
It was a lively talk...
...and fun for the whole family.
After watching Polcyn at work for a few minutes, Levitt was all student, amazed by Polcyn's facility with a knife and a carcass.
Polcyn's delicate touch.
Fly your belly flag.
Prosciutto and lardo by Polcyn to sample.
Signing at Floriole Cafe and Bakery.
Sunday at EL Ideas
Phillip Foss watches at right as Polcyn outlines the breakdown of the hog.
Polcyn begins the demo.
Notes from a kitchen.
Ruhlman makes sure the pig has a view.
Foss with zampone, a stuffed, roasted trotter.
Zampone was served with pig ear and lentil soup by Foss which he revealed had a secret ingredient— leftover duck a l'orange sauce from last week's 80s week at EL Ideas.
Porchetta di testa is cooked sous-vide for 35 hours, then sliced super-thin.
Charcuterie by Polcyn including a 400-day aged mangalitsa prosciutto (lower left).
Zampone stuffed with sausage and pistachios.
Giving thanks for pork.
Just in time for Halloween.
Salumi, by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn.
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