If you've met Craig Deihl, executive chef of Lowcountry fine dining establishment Cypress, then you know he has a relaxed disposition and easy smile, but watching him tear down several whole hogs last Thursday, Eater started to wonder if he might be some sort of secret pork samurai. The large Ossawbaw hog was from LJ Woods Farms and the smaller Tamworths came from Keegan-Filion Farms. It was with a quick snap and a crack that all three animals lost their heads in a blink and Deihl was on to the hindquarters. Of course, the chef didn't have time to spare, he needed to get those pigs down to their parts and think about dinner service.
Deihl said the first time he butchered a hog was when a fellow cook asked him if he had ever attempted the task. That question led to what Deihl stated as "a bit more medieval to watch" process than we witnessed last week. That was 2004. Since then, the Cypress chef has only sustained two injuries requiring stitches and can go through up to three hogs every two weeks. With the Artisan Meat Share on the way, Deihl predicts that number could up to five. If the popularity of the current charcuterie program or $5 Burger Night is any indication, Deihl can probably count on turning out as many pigs as possible.