Recently, I was given an opportunity to attend a complimentary class at the Butcher and the Burger. Our subject, an Ossabaw Hog. The hog was from a local farm that the Chef and his partner frequently work with and know well. According the Chef Allen Sternweiler and partner Josh Woodward, who led the class, all the animals they use in their burgers and butchering classes are humanely killed and well cared for throughout their lives. Being a big animal lover, and also a person who appreciates a good steak and/or burger, it’s always reassuring to know where the animal you’re eating comes from and that it was well-cared for.
Chef Allen started off the class by explaining a little bit about the type of hog we’d be working with. The Ossabaw hog is a heritage breed, which developed insular dwarfism (meaning they are smaller than most hogs butchered for their meat), due to years of an isolated existence on Ossabaw Island, Georgia. The species is descended from the dark pigs brought over by the conquistadors over 400 years ago and has a unique characteristic in its ability to store large amounts of fat to get through the sparse winter, making it a highly marbleized meat with unparalleled flavor.