Cooking classes where you learn how to roll your own bagels or make a souffle are all well and good, but if you really want a culinary experience that you won’t soon forget, consider enrolling in Hog School. In the Wall Street Journal, Matthew Kronsberg recounts his trip to the hunting school in Texas Hill Country, which turned out to be less about hunting and more about about understanding the lifestyle that accompanies it.

Organized by Jesse Griffiths, the program is comprehensive in covering the tenets of hunting, from the hunt to the cooking of meat. The butcher, supper-club host, and Afield: A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish author is “to those in the butchery know, a figure considered to be something of a rock star.” During Kronsberg’s visit, Griffiths took the class of five on a search for wild boar. But he ended up not firing a single shot, due to a lack of targets.

In the butchering and cooking portions of the course, Kronsberg learned that nothing is wasted. The attendees wrapped tenderloins in fat to make noisettes and roll a porchetta. They also stuffed sausages, making Cajun boudin, a Creole sausage called chaurice, chorizo verde, and sausage seasoned with coriander and juniper. Kronsberg describes the feast that followed: “platter after platter came—the noisette and the porchetta; the sausages; caul-fat-wrapped crépinettes, and the pot roast we’d smelled simmering all day; ribs and chops, braised turnips and creamed kale. Finally, a teacup with dark chocolate pudding and a dollop of whipped cream.”

While he went home with nothing to show for his hunting excursion but empty coolers, he distinguishes the difference between shooting a gun and hunting. He was there for the latter, and along the way, he found out “how to take an animal from field to plate.” It made him realize “it all amounted to something that [he] wanted to do again.”

[via The Wall Street Journal]