Fresh Charcuterie at Formaggio Kitchen: Photo Essay

To supplement yesterday’s WGBH Foodie story on charcuterière Julie Biggs’ Charcuterie + Beer class at Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, today’s post features an annotated photo essay of the stages of sausage-making, from raw material to finished product.

Charcuterière Julie Biggs begins to prepare pork by slicing it into cubed pieces.

Charcuterière Julie Biggs begins to prepare pork by slicing it into cubed pieces.

After Biggs cubes the meat, whether it's pork or beef, she places it into a bowl, adds kosher salt, and mixes with her hands to coat well.

After freezing the cubed and salted meat, Biggs grinds it while it's still two-thirds frozen.

Biggs uses a commercial-size mixer to gently blend the ground meat, fat, and seasonings.

Biggs uses casings made from the small intestines of pigs to shape and tie the sausages. Biggs experiments with recipes to develop house-made products like Formaggio's line of hot dogs, which are named playfully after dogs. The German Shepherd hot dog, for example, is seasoned with mustard and caraway while the Chihuahua includes bacon and chipotle peppers.

Pricking the sausages all over is a key step in the process so that some pressure is released and the sausages don't explode.

Regardless of the final shape or seasoning of the sausage, the recipe for preparing charcuterie is always the same: meat (like pork or beef), fat back (the layer under the skin along the back of the pig), and seasonings (such as sage, cumin, fennel, and wine).

An advantage of an after-hours class at Formaggio, as the charcuterie class was, is seeing the store behind-the-scenes when all the customers and almost all the staff have left for the day.

A closer look at the bulletin board shows notes explaining the products, in this case, the definition of frangipane.

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