Curing & Smoking
Join us at River Cottage HQ for a thorough grounding in the principles and practice of making your own charcuterie at home, under the expert guidance of Steve Williams, founder of Good Game, makers of artisan charcuterie and cured meats.
Steve Williams is the founder of Good Game, one of the most respected artisan charcuterie businesses in the UK, with a reputation for the finest provenance, and for pioneering charcuterie without the use of nitrates.
Many years ago, Steve attended a course at River Cottage HQ. His adventure now comes full circle as he takes the reins of our curing, smoking and charcuterie, both as head tutor and collaborator with Hugh and Executive Chef Gelf on our own range of charcuterie.
This introductory day is aimed at the amateur/beginner looking to make charcuterie and cured meats at home with limited expenditure and equipment. It’s ideal for a smallholder with a couple of pigs looking to increase their skills and make more interesting produce, or an amateur enthusiast with access to top quality meat and a penchant to make cured products at home.
Steve will introduce you to the key techniques and processes of salt-based curing and hot and cold smoking, principally based around key cuts of the pig. You’ll leave with the knowledge to make cured sausages like salami and chorizo, and “whole muscle” charcuterie, as well as simple ham and bacon.
Some basic pork butchery skills are always helpful for making charcuterie, and we suggest this course can be “topped up” with our Pig in a Day course. This could be completed either before or afterwards.
• Learn about cures, salts and nitrates
• Basic butchery
• Take part in making salami, chorizo and air-dried hams
• Introduction to hot and cold smoking
• Leave with confidence to begin your charcuterie journey
• Take away some bacon to finish curing at home
If you're looking to join us near the festive season, check out our Christmas Curing and Smoking course.
10:00 - 17:00
Make yourself at home
You will meet your host and start the day with tea, coffee and a treat fresh from the kitchen.
Begin the day learning about the start of your curing journey: how to source the best pigs and pork, the qualities different breeds, and an outline of butchery for charcuterie production.
Next you’ll move on to curing salts, cures and (optional) nitrates as well as Steve’s recommendations for starting equipment.
Steve will create both a brine and a dry cure mix, and you'll learn how these can be used in various recipes to make traditional ham, coppa, bacon, ham hocks and a River Cottage favourite, face bacon.
Tuck into a delicious lunch, prepared by our chefs, including tastings of River Cottage charcuterie
After lunch you will learn about fermented sausages like chorizo, salami and saucisson, as well as how to wash, wrap, tie and hang your products.
To finish the day you’ll discover both hot and cold smoking techniques, and how these can be used for cheese fish and chicken as well as the pork products you’ll be familiar with.
Head up to the car park for 5pm with your own bacon to enjoy at home and the knowledge to begin you charcuterie journey.
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.
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.
We would advise that this course is only really suitable for 12 years of age and upwards. Under 16s must be accompanied by a paying adult. We put these guidelines in place for the safety, comfort and enjoyment of all our guests.
With many of our courses there are often treats and leftovers to take away with you. In our quest to be more sustainable we are encouraging guests to bring their own containers and bags to transport their produce home. Details of what is required for each course will be included in booking emails.
- Sustainable Restaurant Association
- Food and Travel Magazine 2017
- Great British Food Awards 2017
- Great British Food Awards 2018