You will take part in the butchering a whole lamb and learn how to use all the cuts. After the class at 7:30, you will sit down to a freshly cooked meal made from the freshest meat you will ever find in a restaurant.
The cost is $150 per person, and if you'd like to try something like this you should call 298-3663 for reservations as soon as you can.
I was lucky enough to preview this class as part of the University School evening class program, so if you would like to see exactly what to expect, continue reading after the jump. (Warning to the squeamish: AP Biology-level dissection pictures ahead):
Muscle memory must be a strong trait among butchers; Steve made expert cut after expert cut using only his father's meat saw, his filet knife and his grandfather's steel. Students in the class were encouraged to help out at whatever their comfort level allowed. Some held the animal in a more accessible position, some cut chops and frenched ribs, and fellow student and Grins Chef Rusty Johnston even sauteed us up some "lamb fries" as a snack while we worked. They were delicious, by the way. I know have a new favorite gland food, replacing sweetbreads.
Kelsey Keener and his family run Sequatchie Cove Farm between Monteagle and Chattanooga. They are known for their pasture-raised beef, pork and eggs, their organic vegetables, fruit and mushrooms, and most notably for their artisanal farmstead cheese. Sequatchie creates raw milk cheeses from a diverse dairy herd made up of Jersey, Montbeliard, Brown Swiss, Dutch Belt, Tarine, Fresian, Holstein and the American Milking Devon.
The cows graze and roam free on the farm and are rotated through the pastures to ensure the biodiversity and sustainability of the herd and the farm. It also makes for some damn tasty cheeses. Recently, Kelsey has formed a collective with three other farms to raise grass-fed, hormone-free Katahdin lambs for sale in the Chattanooga and Birmingham area. He did say that if he could develop some more business in Nashville, he might consider coming up more often. Call Kelsey at (423) 802-0516 and he'll bring you half a lamb for $150 before the next class. Visitors are also welcome to take farm tours to see where their produce and meat comes from if they contact the farm in advance for an appointment.
An added benefit of using a lamb for demonstration purposes was that the anatomy was similar to that of a cow or a pig, but much more manageable on the cutting table. Steve answered questions about where a particular favorite cut of beef or pork would come from, even if it wasn't a normal offering from a lamb. He even removed a scent gland from deep within the leg of lamb that is missed by most butchers and adds an unwanted gaminess to the dish. Even Kelsey admitted that was a new one on him.
A side note that I have been meaning to mention for a while. I live in Hillsboro Village and was able to drive to Miel in Sylvan Park in just eight minutes. I keep forgetting that it's only about three minutes off of I-40. Somebody remind me to quit being so provincial.
Miel is at 343 53rd Ave. N., just off Charlotte and behind Bobbie's Dairy Dip.