The Fire Pit is a high-quality, locally-owned BBQ and smokehouse in Wake Forest. The Fire Pit specializes in smoking a variety of meats, fish, shrimp and whole hams in their 100% wood-fired smoke pit. The Carolina oak and hickory woods are locally sourced from the restaurant owner’s farm. In addition to the variety of smoked meats, The Fire Pit cures and smokes their own bacon. You’ll even find house-made smoked salt on all of the tables.

IMG_0300Andrew Forster, a native of Long Island, has cooked throughout the United States, including a private chef on NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon’s private yacht. I attended Chef Andrew’s whole hog butchery class at The Fire Pit. He taught the class participants about the different cuts of pork and how to cook each cut.

IMG_0327Chef Andrew placed a hog on the table in front of the participants. He discussed each section of the hog, starting with the head and ending at the back.

I learned a lot of new information about the different cuts of pork. For instance, The Fire Pit uses the pork shoulder for their BBQ because this cut is particularly fatty and weighs around 17 pounds. The pork shoulder can also be cut into two parts, the Boston butt and the picnic shoulder. We were served mini sliders during this portion of the presentation, which were topped with The Fire Pit’s delicious, smoked pulled pork.

IMG_0344Chef Andrew also explained the different types of ribs. I learned that St. Louis-style ribs are near the hog’s belly and have more meat compared to baby back ribs. Baby back ribs are above the St. Louis style ribs and are tenderer. Chef Andrew then discussed how to cure and smoke bacon, which is from the midsection or belly of the hog.

I found the whole hog butchery class to be very informative. Chef Andrew was laid back and allowed the participants to ask questions or make comments. We discussed the economics of each cut of pork. For example, the trotters are not popular in the US; however, they are a common food in other parts of the world.

My favorite part of the class was learning about the traditional techniques of larding and barding. Chef Andrew walked the participants through these techniques and demonstrated how to sew and stitch bacon fat into a beautiful cut of pork tenderloin.

IMG_0352At the end of the whole hog butchery class, each participant received a hefty platter of food. The Fire Pit’s Southern sides, sauces, relishes and desserts are made in-house. I had the opportunity to try a variety of sides like the collard and mustard greens with ham hocks, apple chutney, braised green cabbage and German potato salad. We were also served a generous portion of the pork tenderloin, which Chef Andrew had used in his larding and barding demonstration.

IMG_0362Chef Andrew offers a variety of cooking classes at The Fire Pit. The next class is a sausage-making workshop on Mar. 25, 2013 at 6:30pm. In this hands-on class, you’ll learn how to make three different types of sausages, which include The Fire Pit’s house sausage, Bratwurst and sweet Italian. Chef Andrew will guide the participants through the different stages of preparing the sausages and will cook a wide range of delicious sausage dishes to sample.

Written by local Foodie, Kristen. Follow her foodie adventures on Twitter!