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Christmas Curing and Smoking

During this festive one-day curing course you'll learn how to brine a turkey and make your own festive ham, with a Christmas visit to the River Cottage Cookery School.

Whether you rear your own animals or just want to go the extra mile with your seasonal meals, our practical one-day Christmas Curing and Smoking course will give you the confidence and know-how to create flavoursome festive ingredients, such as glazed ham, pork and orange salami and beautiful smoked trout.

Under the guidance of meat expert and curing course tutor Steve Lamb, you’ll learn basic butchery skills and the key techniques for curing and smoking, with plenty to taste and try along the way. Set against the stunning backdrop of River Cottage HQ, you’ll have the chance to explore a wintry River Cottage HQ and enjoy a delicious seasonal lunch prepared by the River Cottage chefs.

Your day

09:30 - 17:00

  • Arrive at River Cottage

    You’ll be met at the top of the hill at 9.30 and transported to River Cottage HQ by tractor and trailer.

  • Make yourself at home

    You will meet your hosts and start the day with tea, coffee and treats fresh from the kitchen.

  • Practical session one

    Your lessons will begin with traditional dry curing. We’ll take the middle of an organic pig and show you how to transform it into pancetta-style streaky and back bacon.

  • Practical session two

    Next we’ll demonstrate how to prepare and salt a whole a leg of pork, for a prosciutto-style, air-dried ham and Christmassy pork and orange zest salami.

  • Practical session three

    We will also cover brine curing, including how to prepare the all-important turkey and glazed gammon for Christmas. And as an alternative to pork, we will explain how to brine cure a brisket or fore-flank of beef to make classic salt beef.

  • Lunch

    You’ll sit down to a lunch of local, seasonal produce, prepared by the River Cottage chefs. Naturally, the meal will feature cured and smoked stars such as salt beef or a festive River Cottage baked ham.

  • Practical session four

    The afternoon will focus on hot and cold smoking, and how to build your own smokers at home. You’ll learn how to fillet and prepare fish for smoking, as well as tasting some wonderfully smoked fish and meat for yourself – such as smoked trout, or hot smoked pork tenderloin.

  • Departure

    At the end of the day there will be time to chat to your fellow scholars and the River Cottage team, before being whisked back up the hill by our tractor and trailer.

Please note: This is a guide to the activities that will make up your course at River Cottage. This is by no means set in stone and will depend on seasonal availability.

On occasion cookery schools will use equipment that includes induction hobs. It is recommended that people with pace makers should not work on these units. If you are concerned or would like to check whether or not induction hobs will be used on the course you are interested in, please call us on 01297 630302.

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Further information...

This course is run from River Cottage HQ on the Dorset/Devon borders. Full address details of HQ will be provided once you have booked.

We are a licensed venue. We have a wide selection of the finest organic wines available to purchase.

If you need local accommodation we have a full list available.

We would advise that this course is only really suitable for 12 years of age and upwards. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult. We put these guidelines in place for the safety, comfort and enjoyment of all our guests.

  • Sustainable Restaurant Association
  • Food and Travel Magazine 2017
  • Great British Food Awards 2017
  • Great British Food Awards 2018