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Curing and Smoking

Join us for the definitive approach to curing and smoking with our handbook author and tutor Steven Lamb, working with an exciting variety of ingredients including meat, fish, garlic, salt and cheese.

There is magic in transforming ingredients through the processes of curing and smoking, prolonging their versatility and creating incredible flavours. Whether you are interested in exploring this world for small rewards or to embrace bigger projects, our one-day course in curing and smoking will give you all the knowledge and confidence you need.

Our course tutor, Steven Lamb, author of the acclaimed River Cottage Curing and Smoking Handbook, will lead this intensive day covering basic skills and key techniques with a wide range of ingredients. He will share his knowledge and encourage hands on experience in dry curing, brining, fermentation and hot and cold smoking, using both professional kit and inventive homemade versions.

The day starts with an introduction to curing and smoking, the emphasis being on the use and qualities of salt. Taking the middle of an organic pig, you will tackle traditional dry curing, creating pancetta-style streaky and back bacon, before moving on to wet curing and brining. As well as making your own bacon and chorizo salami you will look at other curing examples like bresaola, prosciutto and coppa. The afternoon is devoted to hot and cold smoking, comparing ingredients dealt with in different ways across varied lengths of time, including butter, salt, garlic, fish, pork and cheese.

Set in our beautiful threshing barn at River Cottage HQ, there will be tasters throughout the day with an amazing charcuterie board of nitrite free products and a delicious two-course lunch prepared by the River Cottage chefs. The day concludes with an explanation on perfect air drying and maturation conditions with a look inside the curing fridge. You will head home with newfound skills and your very own handmade bacon and chorizo.

Read more about smoking and curing the River Cottage way.

"This course is about instilling confidence and it did that – it's only a matter of time before I'll be eating home-cured bacon" – Gregor Shepherd, Olive magazine.

If you are looking for a Meat Curing and Smoking day in November or December, why not try our Christmas Christmas Curing and Smoking day?

Your day

10:00 - 17:00

  • Arrive at River Cottage

    You’ll begin your River Cottage experience with a 10-15 minute walk through the wonderful pathways down to the farm, enabling you to really soak up the views of the valley.

  • Make yourself at home

    Steven Lamb and the team will be there to meet you and start the day with tea, coffee and treats fresh from the kitchen.

  • Session one

    The course begins with an introduction to curing and smoking with the focus on salt. We will look at traditional dry curing, taking the middle of an organic pig and showing you how to transform it into pancetta-style streaky and back bacon.

  • Session two

    We will tackle wet curing and brining within this session and start the process of making fresh chorizo salami.

  • 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 River Cottage ham.

  • Session three

    After lunch we finish the chorizo before moving on to an afternoon of smoking! You will hot and cold smoke a variety of ingredients to compare and contrast, including butter, salt, garlic, fish, pork and cheese.

  • Session four

    We look at perfect air drying and maturation conditions with a look inside the curing fridge before returning to curing examples such as bresaola, prosciutto or coppa.

  • Departure

    At the end of the day there will be time to chat to your fellow scholars and the River Cottage team, before heading back up the hill at 5pm with your bacon and chorizo.

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.

Stay in our famous Farmhouse, click here. For other local accommodation click here.

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