Knife Handle

Mike Smollon helps you break it down

Mike Smollon doesn't like skinny pigs.

The owner of My Butcher & More is a Culinary Institute of America grad who spent 20 years as a meat salesman before taking up a carving knife.

Now the meat expert is offering monthly classes for small groups ($150 per person), or one-on-one butchering lessons ($400). Students learn the difference between baby back ribs and St. Louis ribs, and how to test for dry-aged meat.

Smollon also demonstrates breaking down a half-hog, then has students debone a chicken and rub down slabs of pork belly with his pancetta cure before putting the belly into a meat locker to age.

Finally, the class involves a hands-on lesson in kneading and piping fennel-laced pork sausage. At the end of the day, students bring home their fowl, three pounds of sausage, a commercial boning knife and a sharpening stone.

If you care to add to the haul, Smollon dry-ages his meat on the premises, concentrating the flavors of his West Virginia grass-fed lamb and Maryland beef and pork.

My Butcher & More, 1410 Forest Dr., Suite 9, Annapolis; 410-295-7500 or mybutcherandmore.com

Editor's note: The restaurant has since closed.