Pork 101: Behind the Scenes at LA's Most Popular Butchery Class

Electric City Butcher doesn't waste a cut

Rewarded for the butcher's hard work with a pork shank rice bowl.

The Los Angeles Times’ FoodBowl, Southern California’s premier month-long food festival, is in full swing in LA. All things pertaining to food and beverage, including various markets, tastings, workshops and even documentary screenings, are taking place in multiple locations all over the city and surrounding areas.

In addition to celebrating the best the Los Angeles food scene has to offer, FoodBowl is making a point to promote awareness of food waste and hunger.

Electric City Butcher, a butcher shop in Santa Ana’s 4th Street Market owned by Michael Puglisi, Richard Lu, Steve Sabicer, and Sheila Anderzunas, hosted its signature Pork 101 workshop for FoodBowl attendees. This workshop can also be taken at Electric City Butcher independent of this LA Times-sponsored event.

This workshop, led primarily by Puglisi, started with the basics of butchery: tools and equipment, basic anatomy, food prep, and care. Along the way, attendees were educated on why purchasing meat from the whole animal is better and learned about the process of raising, slaughtering, and selling meat.

Julianne Gabert

Then attendees watched as Puglisi, Lu, and Sabicer broke down a 10-month half pig to demonstrate butchery. The most common cuts are the pork chop, tenderloin, belly, shoulder, cutlet, and ham (the hind leg).

They walked attendees through how to humanely slaughter an animal. Along the way, they also educated us on signs of poor treatment and health to look out for in our meat purchases. Puglisi showed attendees how he is able to look at areas such as the ribs and organs to determine if an animal was ill, or even mishandled, at the farm.

The class had to be fast-paced to keep the meat at a proper temperature.

Courtesy of Julianne Gabert

The author tries her hand at butchering.

After the workshops, attendees were served one of Lu’s favorite dishes, a soy-ginger-braised pork shank with rice and veggies. They were also provided chorizo hand pies. Both items were prepared with Electric City Butcher’s meats.


How does this tie in to LA FoodBowl’s mission to educate on food waste? Electric City Butcher sells every cut from their animals. And every cut butchered in the workshop was taken home by attendees, so they got a taste of practicing whole-animal consumption. Electric City Butcher also supports the MaxLove Project, a non-profit organization founded to help childhood cancer survivors. A portion of sales of its MaxLove Project Mixed Bone Broth goes to the non-profit.